Tuesday, 7 July 2009

General Info About UK Maternity Care

Here's a little general info about the antenatal (prenatal) maternity care I received in the UK.

1. Generally, all maternity care is handled by midwives, not doctors. If you have complications, doctors will likely take a more active role. Otherwise, you may see a doctor only at the very beginning and very end (38 weeks) of your pregnancy.

2. I had appointments every four weeks with the midwife, 36 weeks being my last visit. As I said, I saw the GP at 38 weeks.

3. Last year in Edinburgh, pregnant women were only entitled to one scan (ultrasound) during their pregnancy: around 10 weeks. They have just switched it to two scans: around 10 weeks and 22 weeks. I think this probably varies depending on your location. If you want more scans, you would have to go to a private practice and pay for them.

4. Many hospitals/districts have non-disclosure policies about divulging the gender of your baby. You may or may not be able to find out what you're having before-hand depending on your location.

5. There are birthing classes (called "antenatal classes") available, usually through your local GP.

6. It was made clear that epidurals would be an option for delivery only if an anesthesiologist was on duty when I was in labor. No promises. I had a friend, though, who was given more solid assurance that that would be an option.

7. Prescriptions are free of charge during pregnancy and for the 12 months following the birth of your child. So is all dental care.

Questions? Feel free to ask!

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