Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How Much Time Will You Spend With Your OB? Less Than You Think

Many women know very little about pregnancy before they are pregnant, and they assume that they will be able to get all the information they need from their Obstetrician - why not? they're the expert, right? They'll tell me what I need to know, right?


Its hard sometimes to let my clients and pregnant acquaintances know that, in reality, you're not going to spend a lot of time with your doctor, and they are not going to be able to give you all the information you need. In fact, PHDoula wrote a great post encouraging partners/husbands to attend prenatal visits to the obstetrician with their wives/partners because it takes so little time that not very much work will be missed! Here is her math:

Taking a typical low-risk prenatal visit with an obstetrician (duration of about 15 minutes) and the timeline of maternity care outlined by Drs. Sears, assuming the first prenatal visit is at 8 weeks gestation as noted by BabyCenter (not unlikely, as your missed period is at 6 weeks), you will spend approximately 2 3/4 hours locked in a room with this midwife or obstetrician. And that is a conservative estimate.
Here's the math:
One visit per month from weeks 8 to 28 = 5 visits
One visit per 2 weeks for 8 weeks (weeks 28 through 36) = 2 visits
One visit per week until born (weeks 36 to, say, 40, which is average) = 4 visits
Total visits = 11
Visit length is 15 minutes each, times 11 visits = 161 minutes = 2 hours, 41 minutes
Only a total of 2 hours and 40 minutes spent with your doctor over your entire 9 month pregnancy!!

And tacking on the 5 minutes they are in the labor and delivery room to catch the baby, plus the 25 minutes spent to stitch up your perineum, we can maybe add on 30 minutes to the end, but that is after the pregnancy is over, so does that count?

How could you possibly have time to ask all your questions or even get to know them in only 2.75 hours?

This is a great incentive to1. Hire a midwife, who spends much more time with patients, and/or 2. Take a childbirth education class, where you can have in-person education and conversations with your instructor for hours and weeks on end, and 3. HIRE A DOULA!

All of these will give you more time to interact with a professional trained in childbirth, ask questions, learn things you may not have known before, and practice for birth.


I also want to make a plug for PHDoula/Dynamic Doula blog, which I only recently discovered. She has great posts like birth/breastfeeding book reviews, personal experiences with doula births, and other great insights. She also clearly likes her math - she has a post called "How Many Contractions are there?" (answer: only 324 ;) Check it out!

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