Attending regular and consistent prenatal visits throughout your pregnancy is an essential component to maintaining prenatal health and promoting a positive birth experience. In fact, the World Health Organization has published prenatal care guidelines recommending that clients receive a minimum of 8 prenatal visits during their pregnancies, because this has been shown to better detect potential pregnancy complications as they develop (WHO, 2016).
The WHO also advises that “‘contact’ with [an] antenatal care provider should be more than a simple ‘visit’ but rather the provision of care and support throughout pregnancy” (WHO, 2016). We agree wholeheartedly with this statement and feel that prenatal visits should be more than a quick stop to check your blood pressure. We view prenatal visits as not only an opportunity to provide important medical care, but also as an opportunity to answer any questions you may have and ensure you have access to all the resources you need in order to have a normal birth and a healthy and joyful pregnancy.
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Prenatal Visit Schedule
We recommend that you schedule your first prenatal check up 8 -10 weeks after the first day of your last period. This enables us to refer you for prenatal screening and diagnostic tests, should you decide that you want them. the schedule below is an approximate guide to when you will typically be seen for prenatal care and may be modified as appropriate. Visits will take place in our design district office.
1st visit: 8-10 weeks (prenatal lab work/prenatal testing decision-making)
2nd visit: 15-16 weeks (spina bifida/sequential screening test if desired)
3rd visit: 21-23 weeks
4th visit: 27-28 weeks (glucose/anemia screening)
5th visit: 32 weeks (position check, order birth kit, arrange tub rental)
6th visit: 34 weeks (review of supplies for birth)
7th visit: 36 weeks (1st home visit / GBS screening)
8th-12th visit: after 36 weeks you will have weekly prenatal visits until you go into labor.
All prenatal visits include time for discussion, which usually lasts about 30-45 minutes. We believe this time allotment allows people to ask questions and discuss options without feeling rushed. It also provides plenty of time to better get to know the midwives who will be caring for you.
If you are partnered during this pregnancy, we recommend that you bring your partner(s) to at least one or two prenatal visits so that they can meet the midwives and express any questions or concerns of their own! Often, we find that families who have jointly participated in prenatal care are much better prepared for the labor and birth experience and can approach birth feeling more confident and supported.
The Midwifery Model of Care
Prenatal care with midwives is unique when compared to the typical medical model of care that most prenatal care clinics offer. This is because midwives believe that pregnancy and childbirth are normal life events, and should be treated as a healthy physiologic process. The midwives model of care includes:
Monitoring the physical, psychological and social well-being of the parent throughout the childbearing cycle
Providing the parent with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support
Minimizing technological interventions and
Identifying and referring those who require obstetrical attention.
The application of this model has been proven to reduce to incidence of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section (Midwives Alliance of North America, 2016). We are proud to offer this model of care to our community!
World Health Organization. (2016). New guidelines on antenatal care for a positive pregnancy experience. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/news/antenatal-care/en/
Midwives Alliance of North America. (2016). The midwives model of care. Retrieved from https://mana.org/about-midwives/midwifery-model