First Prenatal Visit Scheduled with a Nurse

QUESTION

Dear Midwife,
I am 5 weeks pregnant and this is my first pregnancy. I just scheduled my first prenatal appointment. I was expecting that the first appointment would be the most comprehensive one, that I would get a chance to meet my doctor and be able to ask a lot of questions. I was surprised when I learned that the first appointment wouldn't be with my doctor, but with a nurse practitioner.

Is this the usual practice? Should I be worried? Should I look for another provider?

Thanks!

Ana

ANSWER

My opinion is that you lucked out!!! This is a practice that has created the time for you to see a knowledgeable professional and for you to get exactly what you are asking for--a chance to get all your questions answered and the practice to get a complete history (and physical in some practices).

In most cases, if you want that type of care all the time, you would have to go to a midwife; but if you want a doctor (who will normally see you for only a few minutes, and not necessarily every visit), then be grateful that they have a nurse practitioner who will actually spend some time with you.

-- Cynthia, CNM. PhD.

Comments

Agreeance with Cynthia

Although I am not exactly sure how long ago you posted this (I couldn't find a date), I did want to post in case anyone else came across this post as I did.

I will say that I totally agree with Cynthia. I am a nurse at our tiny local hospital on labor and delivery so I regularly work with all of our physicians. My choice when looking for our OB was simple, the only practice with the two midwives (I love the physician too and it's an all female practice which made my husband and I more comfortable).

I have already found that the midwives (they also function as WHNP in this small community hospital area) are more able to spend more time with you and answer your questions. You have to remember that most doctors only work with midwives or nurse practitioners that they trust--very much. To ease your mind you can always ask the nurse practitioner or midwife how long they have been working with your doctor.

I can even say that their is one nurse practitioner here who actually has more experience than the doctor she works with.

Cynthia Flynn

Cynthia Flynn, CNM. PhD, is the General Director of the Family Health and Birth Center which provides prenatal, birth, postnatal, gynecological and primary health care to underserved women and their families in Washington, D.C. Recently Cynthia served as Associate Professor of Nursing at Seattle University. There she not only taught, but remained in full scope clinical midwifery practice at Valley Medical Center where she cared for pregnant and birthing women, and practices well-woman gynecology, family planning, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Cynthia founded Columbia Women's Clinic and Birth Center, where she took care of pregnant women and infants up to two weeks of age and attended both birth center and hospital births. Before Cynthia earned her CNM, she worked as a registered nurse in labor and delivery and postpartum and is a certified Doula and Doula trainer.