What Went Down at My First Prenatal Appointment

It’s time to reveal a bit more about myself. The health care provider I decided on is…drum roll please…a certified nurse-midwife at a birth center. You can probably figure out where I work now, but I’m still not ready to type it out in hopes of this post not showing up in the communications department’s newsfeed Monday morning.

The birth center where I plan to give birth

Yesterday was my first visit ever to a midwife, and I was anxious to see whether my preconceptions about the type of care midwives provide would hold true. Here’s what I expected, and what actually happened.

Preconception 1: You can go to a midwife for prenatal, birth, and postpartum care as well as primary care even when you’re not pregnant.
What Happened: The first midwifery practice I called before I was pregnant was not able to accommodate my primary care needs, and I ended up having to go to a nurse practitioner. The second midwifery practice I called when I was 4 weeks pregnant asked if I needed a referral to a primary care provider. They specialize in prenatal, birth, postpartum, and well-woman care and want you to have a primary care provider on hand. I realize this isn’t true of all midwives, but it was a bit disillusioning since I thought that most midwives provide primary care.

Preconception 2: Midwives spend plenty of time with their patients.
What Happened: I spent 45 minutes with the midwife at my first prenatal appointment.

Preconception 3: Midwives give the best pelvic and breast exams.
What Happened: This was true hands-down. My midwife had the best bedside manners I’ve ever experienced in this department. First, I was given a top and bottom drape that actually covered all the goods. The progression was blood pressure, breast exam, abdomen palpation, pelvic exam. Throughout the exam, he continued to interact with me just as if I was sitting in the chair wearing my street clothes. My previous health care providers almost acted like it was an awkward experience for them. They diverted their eyes. They made no conversation. My midwife continued to ask questions and educated me about what he was doing through each step. He also told me I have a gynecoid pelvis—the most common and best type for giving birth.

Preconception 4: Midwives are usually women.
What Happened: My midwife is a man. (I knew this before my first appointment.) I think the practice has 3 other midwives who are women. I will most likely get to know each of them so that I’ll be familiar with whoever is on call the day my little bean bursts into the world.

Who is your health care provider of choice? How did they measure up to your expectations at your first prenatal? If you’re not yet pregnant, what kind of health care providers are you scoping out and why?


About The Preconceptionist

Where personal experience meets clinical and cultural preconceptions about birth and women's health.
This entry was posted in First Trimester, Pregnancy, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to What Went Down at My First Prenatal Appointment

  1. Amber Mc. says:

    I’m a new reader to your blog and immediately recognized the location. I hope you have a beautiful birth experience there. I’m looking forward to all your insights through this journey.

  2. A says:

    I’m really looking forward to hearing about your experience with midwives and birth centers. I am not pregnant yet, but I’m leaning towards having my future babies in a birth center, or even at home.

  3. Sara says:

    I hope to be able to work with a midwife when my time comes, so I’ll be interested to hear about your experiences. I really like the idea of a birth center. While giving birth at home is appealing in some respects, it seems like a lot of, well, mess to clean up later. Birth centers seem to offer the best of both worlds.

  4. I’m taking the next 6 months to prepare my body for pregnancy. When we do get pregnant we are planning on having a home waterbirth with a midwife (we are in Canada.) This will be our first baby. I’m new here and haven’t had a chance to look around yet but I like that you are blogging about your experience. I’m doing the same thing but I’m only in the preconception period right now 🙂

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