Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Having a Baby Abroad ... thoughts on the NHS (part one)

If there’s one question I’ve gotten since we announced this pregnancy, it’s, “What is the NHS like?” I’ll answer this over a series of blogs, and I’ll attempt to remain as objective as possible. If I had to give a one-word answer, however, it would be: amazing.

More recently, friends have asked me if I’m now to the point now where I’m going to the doctor once a week to be checked out. My response?
1) I don’t go to a doctor; I go to a midwife
2) I haven’t had to take my clothes off for anyone (except for that one time that caused this whole baby thing, but that’s another blog)
3) I had my 36 week appointment today. Before that I had a 32 week appointment. My next one is two weeks from today (38 weeks), and again, I don’t have to get naked.

Tell most Americans you see a midwife rather than a doctor, and they will think you’re in some sort of backwoods country getting unreliable care. To that, I respond that the midwives who’ve been looking after me have checked bloods and all that good stuff, listen to the heartbeat when I come in, palpated my belly to feel where the baby is, and have informed me that I’m a perfectly healthy woman doing something that other women have been doing for thousands of years.

So, yeah, I don’t have an obstetrician, and I love that. No one is worried or panicking or testing for a thousand different things or sticking their hands or other instruments in places they don’t belong. And you know what? I’m no longer terrified of childbirth – and believe me, six months ago I was a worried mess.

That’s enough of a blog today, but I’ve loads more questions to field and more stories to share about various preventative measures they’ve taken here, the “wait-list” you hear so much about, technology, doctors, classes, and the hottest issue: how much this baby has cost us so far.

To be continued...

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  1. So glad you're sharing this info. I'd heard from a family member about the "wait list" and wondered what that was all about. Glad it's been such a great experience so far for you two and this lucky kiddo.

  2. We mainly do midwives in France as well, and actually it will be the midwives who make the final medical decision of inducing me tomorrow versus Tuesday as opposed to the doctors! A lot of women are delivered exclusively by midwives here as well. I also have never once had to take my clothes off here either, never knew they did that in the US!

  3. i've had lots of friends here in the UK give birth so I'm totally used to the midwife thing...was speaking to a friend in Canada who is about to pop any minute and she was telling me about how upset her family (and hubby's family and some ultra conservative friends) were about her choosing to use a midwife. She did say, however, that attitudes are changing and that Toronto is building 2 birth centres over the next couple of years. The 8 week thing is still a bit disconcerting but I guess the reasons are all sound. things that make you go hmmmmm