Most women who are expecting a baby have a lot of questions about their pregnancy and their health care. Here are the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.
Many family doctors can continue to care for new maternity patients and their families after the baby is born. If this is not possible, we work very hard to help each woman find a family doctor after the early newborn period if it is needed.
Obstetricians are physician specialists with extra training in surgical skills. They usually care for women with higher risk pregnancies or complications (such as twins or a premature baby). Some obstetricians also care for women with normal pregnancies. Midwives are trained to care for normal pregnancy and birth and can offer birth at home in certain circumstances. Each woman can choose the provider that suits her needs.
As soon as you know that you are pregnant, you should choose a care provider to care for you in your pregnancy and arrange to see them as early as possible in the pregnancy. If you are planning a pregnancy, it is a good idea to see a family doctor to discuss pre-conception care.
Look at our Find a Doctor page to select a family doctor. You can choose a doctor based on the hospital where they have delivery privileges, by language, or by where their office is located. You can then phone the doctor’s office to make an appointment. Please let them know that you obtained their name through this Website.
At the first appointment, you and the doctor will have a chance to review all the important information about your health and pregnancy, including any tests that you may have done. You can ask any questions that you have as well. The doctor may also want to talk to you about possible tests for the pregnancy, including blood tests and ultrasounds. In all your visits to your doctor, we encourage you to bring your support person.
The first appointment is usually the longest. You’ll spend about 30 minutes with the doctor. Follow-up appointments usually last about 10-15 minutes, during which you’ll have a chance to review the progress of your pregnancy with your doctor, ask questions and talk about things that are important to you and your partner. This could include questions about your experience of pregnancy, labour and delivery, as well as breastfeeding.
Typically, you will meet with your doctor monthly until the seventh month of pregnancy. Following this, you will have appointments every one to two weeks. If the doctor is concerned about your health or the health of your baby, you may be asked to come in for more frequent visits. If you have any concerns, you can also arrange to come in for additional visits.
Once you have chosen one of our doctors and seen him/her for your first visit, you will be receiving all of your pregnancy and birth care from this doctor. If you have other health issues during your pregnancy (for example, you have a cold, or a rash, etc.), then you can certainly connect with your family doctor.
Family doctors have a close working relationship with our obstetrician colleagues. There is an obstetrician on-call in the hospital at all times. If we feel that it would be helpful to seek an obstetrician’s advice during your pregnancy or labour/birth, this is easily arranged. If you do require the help of an obstetrician, we will stay involved in your care.
During your first visit, the doctor will explain how to reach him or her during “after-hours”. There is always a doctor on call to deal with important or urgent concerns.
During every visit with your doctor, there will definitely be time to address your questions and concerns. Women often write questions down and keep a list. Be sure to bring your questions to your pregnancy visits. There are also a number of very good books and websites about pregnancy. Check out our Resources page for a list of helpful websites and books. You may also choose to attend a prenatal class.
Different family doctors have different systems for how they arrange their labour and delivery schedules. Many of the doctors work in a group with other family doctors so you may meet a different doctor during your labour. Your doctor will discuss this with you at your first visit.
We want you to have a comfortable and supportive atmosphere for welcoming your new family member into the world. Doulas have expertise in labour support and are excellent resources for women and their partners. You can also bring a family member or a friend to act as your labour support person. You can discuss this with your doctor.
Absolutely! We understand how important it is to promote and maintain your relationship with your family doctor. After your baby is born, you will return to your family doctor with your baby for check-ups and ongoing care. If you do not have a family doctor, we can help you to find one.
The family doctor whom you see for your maternity care will ensure that you and your family have ongoing care with a family doctor, either with themselves or with a skillful colleague.
These learners are carefully supervised and will not be making decisions without your family doctor present and discussion with you. We encourage women to allow learners to be involved in their labour: all of us can remember being students/residents ourselves and the awesome experience of helping a new member of the family arrive. We encourage you to accept learners, but if there are any concerns, please speak with your doctor.
The Vancouver Division of Family Practice (VDoFP) brings Lower Mainland family doctors together to identify opportunities to improve the delivery of local health care. We are committed to meaningful change that benefits patients, doctors and our community at large. We will seek ways to address gaps in care and needs that are not being met by the current primary health care system.