When do I see the Doctor?
It is generally recommended that you see your doctor, preferably an obstetrician even before you embark on your pregnancy for pre-pregnancy counseling . The purpose of pre-pregnancy counseling is to check whether you have any medical problems that may pose some difficulties to you if you are pregnant, to optimize your health and to seek advice on lifestyle modification to increase your chance of pregnancy. It is important to check your immunization status especially your immunity in Rubella and chickenpox. Your doctor would recommend that you take Folic acid for at least 3 months prior to your pregnancy.
However, if you are in perfect health and got pregnant on your own without difficulty, it is generally recommended that you see your doctor as soon as you know or suspect that you are pregnant. The reason is to confirm your pregnancy and to accurately estimate your due date. If you have other symptoms such as bleeding, severe lower abdominal pain or excessive vomiting, you need to see your doctor as soon as possible to exclude early pregnancy problems such as miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy and hyperemesis gravidarum.
What is an Obstetrician?
An Obstetrician & Gynaecologist (some people choose to call them Ob/Gynae), is a medical professional who is trained to manage pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Apart from providing care in pregnancy, he/she also takes care of all your non pregnancy female health needs such as cervical smears, contraceptive advice, infertility diagnosis and etc. In Malaysia, a qualified obstetrician would have received comprehensive and specialized education and vigorous training in the health of the female reproductive system and surgical care. Their degrees are either awarded by the universities or by the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists in UK/Australia.
How do I choose an Obstetrician?
Choosing an obstetrician can be as difficult as choosing your soul mate. We human beings are very subjective when it comes to our preferences and thus the saying goes ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. An obstetrician whom your friend prefers may not appeal to you as much. Hence, it is important that you choose someone who you are most comfortable with.
There are some important points you may like to consider in choosing your obstetrician:
- Does he/she have a good reputation?
- Do you feel comfortable with him/her?
- Does he/she listen to you and explain things clearly to you?
- How does your partner feel about the obstetrician? Does he feel comfortable with him/her?
- Is the location of the clinic/ maternity centre/ hospital convenient for you and the operating hours suit your need?
- Are you comfortable with the place where he/she conduct the deliveries?
Once you have chosen an obstetrician, it is important that you visit him/her regularly to ensure continuity of care. It is important to refrain from ‘Doctor Shopping’ because this may jeopardize the continuity of care for your pregnancy.