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My wife is 11 weeks pregnant and made appointment to one of the doctors around our area. When we went they did few tests on her but the doctor did not even talk to her nor ask her how her pregnancy was going. He told her that she is having a healthy pregnancy from the looks of it and asked her to make an appointment to do the bloodwork and let her go.

I was hoping he would talk to me or to her to tell us whats ok to do and whats not ok or what vitamins/medications if any she should be taking etc... I thought first doctor's visit would be the longest visit. I am curious if this has happened to anyone else and if its normal and if I should switch doctor. We made another appointment with same doctor 4 weeks after and going to ask him this same question on why he is being so careless.

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    Welcome to Parenting.SE! Was this an obstetrician, or GP? – Acire Nov 2 '15 at 19:11
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    Different countries have widely different health care services. In some countries with good health care, this would be considered very poor service. In other countries, such the US, this might be perfectly normal and may also depend on what health insurance scheme you are using. What country do you live in? – Greg Hewgill Nov 2 '15 at 19:14
  • If you didn't even talk to the "doctor" who did you talk to? Was there an ultrasound? – JPhi1618 Nov 2 '15 at 19:17
  • @Erica it suppose to be both OB-GYN office. – GGio Nov 2 '15 at 20:24
  • @GregHewgill I live in US/NY – GGio Nov 2 '15 at 20:24
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I'm just a parent, and only a husband at that, but here it is:

Unfortunately doctors schedule patients for 10 to 15 minutes at the most, so the time they are with you will average around that. Some patients won't have questions, and others will need more time, so it tends to average out and works in general, so I'd say that 10-15 minutes is normal for an appointment

That said, I believe that the first visit for the first pregnancy should be given more time. If he didn't ask you if you had questions or seemed to rush off before you could react, I would look for a new doctor. The doctor should be willing to answer your questions. Not all doctors are equal, and one of my wife's regrets is not finding a new doctor that she liked more just because it was easier to keep going to the first one.

On several of my (and my wife's) doctors appointments, the doctors always seem to be in and out as quickly as we let them so my biggest advice is to prepare a list of questions you want answered, and ask the doctor the first time you see them on your visit before you let them leave the room. Even a great doctor isn't going to stick around in the room if it seems like you don't have anything to talk about.

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  • He did not even ask me to go with my wife inside. And he did not ask her if she had any questions and just rushed out as soon as he got answers on the basic questions to fill out the form. Checked her and said pregnancy is healthy as it looks and walked out. He did mention that we should go to another place to do blood work and stuff so I am hoping those guys will give us some guidelines. – GGio Nov 2 '15 at 21:29
  • The place for the bloodwork will likely just be a lab where the basically-trained nurse will draw the sample, and that's it. Don't expect them to answer any questions. We saw a doctor once that was worried about me being in the room while my wife was examined. He said some husbands get very uncomfortable with it I was allowed to stay, but his default was for me to stay outside. Not sure how common that is, but we both would have been upset if I was required to be out of the room. – JPhi1618 Nov 2 '15 at 21:36
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    Playing devils advocate: Maybe the doctor assumed a nurse was going to give you some introductory materials or talk and that never happened? Probably not the case, but maybe... Bottom line, if you felt uncomfortable or you got bad service, do not feel like you need to go back for any reason. This should be a very happy time for you. – JPhi1618 Nov 2 '15 at 21:40
  • Thank you for your answer. Will give it another chance and if he does same thing I am just going to ask him myself and then switch doctor. – GGio Nov 2 '15 at 21:47
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    @GGio Usually the doctor will not ask for the husband. The only time I was asked if my husband would show, was at the ultrasounds. I did not have my husband with me for any other appointments. If you want to join, you should say so to the receptionist. – Ida Nov 4 '15 at 19:16
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My wife had her first doctor's appointment and it took exactly 15 minutes. Is that ok?

It depends on a lot of factors.

The first pre-natal visit (that's what they're called) with an obstetrician should be at least half an hour long, unless your wife saw a trained associate of the obstetrician before that visit, who gathered all the information common on the first visit and did a routine physical exam. Such a person could be a nurse, a nurse practitioner, a physician's assistant, or some other associate. The information would be reviewed by the obstetrician at or before the time of the visit.

On that visit, your wife should have been checked for fetal heart sounds as well (by someone.) That's not an ultrasound - though they're often done as well - but rather a small doppler device with an amplifier that detects the beating of the baby's heart.

If someone else gathered the information and did an exam (including Pap and pelvic, maybe screening for STDs as well) and nothing was noted to be wrong, the first visit with the doctor usually consists of reassurance that the results were fine, some "getting to know each other" chit-chat, and most importantly, *"Do you have any questions for me?" The physician should be especially sensitive to the patient if it's her first pregnancy or if she's had any miscarriages.

Questions common on the first visit:

  • Have you thought of a birth plan?
  • Is there anything you want to discuss about your prenatal testing?
  • Do you want to be tested for Down Syndrome, birth defects or certain genetic conditions?
  • Are you planning to breastfeed/take Lamaze classes/etc.?
  • Do you have any problems with any of my partners potentially delivering your baby?

If there were no questions (often people don't have questions because they don't know what to ask), information about pregnancy - what's normal and what's not - can be given in the form of handouts, as well as a prescription for prenatal vitamins.

I was hoping he would talk to me...

If you weren't in the room, I (as someone doing the prenatal visit) would think the patient was there alone. Asking you to accompany your wife on the visit is an assistant's job.

I am curious if... I should switch doctor.

If none of the above happened? I would think that was a wise move.

Your first prenatal visit
Do Providers Adhere to ACOG Standards? The Case of Prenatal Care.
Evidence-Based Prenatal Care: Part I. General Prenatal Care and Counseling Issues

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  • I would say that birthplans are a little early to discuss at first visit? My OB/GYN didn't ask - she did go over all the other stuff, and healthy diet and exercise while pregnant (she gave me printed handouts too, as well as some links to the clinics 'pregnancy resource page'). A nurse asked about vitamins and other supplements, and did a urine sample. – Ida Nov 4 '15 at 19:18
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    @Ida - it's a question that is usually answered by, "What's a birthplan?" It's a way to introduce something that the patient might want to think about and discuss in the coming weeks/months. On the other hand, the patient might have one already. If it's ambitious, detailed, or unrealistic, it can be discussed on (multiple) subsequent visits. I think how doctors do their jobs is pretty individualized. This is my view and how I did my job. (How your doc did her job is her option, but no reason to exclude the question.) It also helps you to get to know your patient (a good thing, I think.) – anongoodnurse Nov 4 '15 at 19:22
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As a (formerly) practicing Ob/Gyn, my initial ob visits typically included the mom-to-be and anyone she cared to bring into the room, realizing some personal questions would be asked. The usual appointment time was about 40 minutes, less for some, more for others. Please realize, this was a couple years ago before managed care became so managed. I generally talked about what to expect during each trimester of pregnancy, the do's and dont's (safety, body changes, diet, exercise, alcohol, OTC medications, etc), answered questions, did an ultrasound (a luxury in my office at the time) to confirm how far along the pregnancy was, and did a full exam.

Sadly, many pregnancies (50-80%) don't make it beyond 10-12 weeks. In this day and age, some doctor offices consider a 1st trimester pregnancy to be "not worth the effort" given the potential for pregnancy loss and consequently don't expend too much effort on the first visit if the gestation is so early.

Whether or not to change doctors at this point has to be a personal decision based on your experience and preference. There are so many variables when it comes to choosing an Ob provider, it's hard to give any good advice. Based on the snippet of information provided, I'd be more comfortable seeing another provider.

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  • You did all of this in 40 minutes? I am truly impressed! When I was doing OB (decades ago), first prenatal visits were 50 minutes. I did all the information collecting. I started at 7-8 weeks, though one holds one's breath until about 14 weeks. – anongoodnurse Nov 5 '15 at 8:43
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Different doctors are different. Some really enjoy the prenatal stuff and make a big deal out of it. Others prefer to leave that to doulas or birthing classes, and got into the profession for other reasons. They assume if you have questions or concerns you will bring them up. You may have gotten a doctor on that end of the spectrum.

Keep in mind, though, that I've had doctors avoid doing "information dumps" on the first visit. I think it's part of their training, because patients tend to be a little overwhelmed and don't listen very well. If you have specific questions, be assertive and ask them. You seem to be mostly concerned he didn't tell you things you already know, which doesn't make sense to me. As for the brevity of the visit, that doesn't seem that unusual. Often the nurse practitioner will be able to give you much more time.

If there's still a personality mismatch, better to switch doctors sooner than later. Ask local friends and family for recommendations, after telling them your concerns. That's the best way to get a doctor you love.

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  • We know basic things because we took the time to research but how would he know if we know it or not? If I was a doctor I would care if my patient is doing well with her pregnancy and if she is taking medication/vitamins as intended. I would not want him to tell me things I already know but thats why he is a doctor and I am not to tell me things I dont know. :) – GGio Nov 2 '15 at 21:30
  • What's an "information dump"? I agree with "better to switch doctors sooner than later." – anongoodnurse Nov 2 '15 at 23:31
  • Information dumps are appointments where a lot of instruction happens, questions are answered, etc. – Karl Bielefeldt Nov 3 '15 at 1:18
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Don't feel bad, I had a doctors appointment today at 1 and left at 3:15. Oh no, not because they cared oh so much about me, but because I'm pretty sure the doctor was running really late. He's pretty rude too.. so I guess you just have to pick and choose your docs, and if you want to get something out of them, stop them and ask. Or else they'll just move right on tot he next.

I'm 37 weeks pregnant and after my 2.5hour wait, I was seen for approximately 45 seconds with the little heartbeat monitor and he listened for 3 beats- didn't even time it or anything- and was told to come back next week. The only question I got was if they got my name right.

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  • How interesting (and sad). At 37 weeks, unless you had a recent ultrasound and everything was normal, one usually measures the fundal height (how big your uterus is - it should have gotten "shorter" as the baby starts dropping), checks the baby's head, back, and buttocks, confirms the position with heart sounds (and counts them), asks a few questions, does a little reassurance, a quick partial review of the birth plan... but today, as Anonymous said, managed care is much to blame. So sad. All of my pregnancies were with different docs, and the variability was astounding. – anongoodnurse Nov 5 '15 at 8:50
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Doctors and patients are all different and what's okay and what's right really depends on the individual circumstances and preferences. HOWEVER, it is vitally important that you find a doctor that you trust and that you feel comfortable going to and that you are confident will give you reasonable answers to your questions. If that's not that case, you MUST look around until you have found a compatible doctor.

In one case we didn't do this properly and as a result our unborn daughter almost died. The doctor we went with (for convenience sake) was simply neither willing nor capable to deal with a somewhat rare situation that would have required extra effort.

Fortunately this isn't a problem in most pregnancies but the very purpose of having a doctor is to look for and properly deal with any problems. You need a doctor that you fully trust in this regard.

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