Updated August 15, 2022
The 5 Must-Know Tips For Scheduling Your Prenatal Office Visit is the type of information we enjoy sharing because it is practical and can be implemented immediately.
It is often the little things that can make all the difference!
The information that no one talks about. It’s a lot of information so consider keeping a pregnancy journal!
When scheduling prenatal visits, the following information will save you many hours of sitting in the waiting room.
A women’s health medical practice for doctors and midwives often has unpredictable delays that impact how efficiently the practice runs daily.
Unexpected events can change an office schedule quickly.
Miscarriages, surgical emergencies, and patients in labor can upset the efficiency of even the best staffed and managed office practice.
As a result of the frequency of prenatal care visits, a lot of lost time and aggravation can occur during the duration of one’s prenatal and postpartum care.
The duration of care for one’s pregnancy can span over one year.
Though the inconvenience can be frustrating and the disruption palpable, remember that your provider is always trying to stay on time.
Providers are well aware of the arrangements patients make to be able to attend their many visits. Arranging childcare, leaving work, and sitting in traffic.
5 Must-Know Tips for Scheduling Prenatal Visits:
1. Booking pregnancy appointments.
Book as many prenatal appointments, at one time as is possible (or allowed) by your provider’s office practice.
The secret tip to that is you will be able to get times that fit into your daily routine.
Booking your appointments as far out as you can is a little tip the office staff probably won’t tell you.
It is not done intentionally, they just don’t think beyond the next appointment you need.
The last thing you will want as your pregnancy progresses is to find yourself jumping through hoops to fit in your doctor visits.
It is stress you won’t need when you will be seen more frequently later in pregnancy.
2. Know how often to be seen for your prenatal visits
Become familiar with the intervals of prenatal office visits (ask at your first visit if necessary). The intervals between prenatal appointments become more frequent as your due date approaches.
Once you are familiar with the scheduling interval of visits, you will be able to book out your appointments as mentioned in step 1.
3. Book prenatal appointments early in the day.
Schedule your appointments at the start of your provider’s office session.
This will reduce the possibility that your provider will be running behind due to unforeseen things that come up during other appointments or patients going into labor.
Try to snap up the first appointment of the day as often as possible.
If you are scheduling an afternoon appointment, our little secret tip is to grab the appointments available immediately after lunch.
Most providers will use their lunchtime as a buffer to catch up if their morning session runs late.
That means you shouldn’t have a super long wait immediately after their lunch hour.
Your provider should be caught up.
4. Call the office before you leave for your appointment.
Whenever possible, phone ahead to determine whether your provider is running on time.
Most practices are glad to hear from you before you arrive at the office, so they can address any delays in the office schedule.
Your provider would rather hear from you on the phone than after you have been sitting in the waiting room for 30 minutes or longer.
Your doctor or midwife doesn’t want you upset and we do care about long wait times that inconvenience you.
Perhaps he or she can arrange to have you come in for the last appointment of the day or fill in a canceled appointment that might have been called in earlier that day.
This results in a far better overall experience for the patient and provider.
This is another secret tip if during your first visit or two your provider doesn’t seem concerned and apologetic if you had to wait a long time or attempts to rush your appointment, or seems dismissive of your concerns.
Get a new provider.
Anybody can have a bad day, but your first pregnancy doctor visit is usually your longest, and lots of information will be told to you.
So you should not be rushed. You should never be rushed.
We often read posts that suggest using a midwife because they devote more time to their patients. That is going to vary between practices.
Please ONLY use CERTIFIED NURSE MIDWIVES with lots of experience and a good OB back-up.
In some practices, the midwives are back to back with well-woman exams and seeing prenatal patients.
They manage the pregnancies of low-risk women and do lots of well-woman exams.
Scheduling prenatal visits with a nurse-midwife are going to be the same as with an OB, so follow these same tips to get the appointments you want.
Depending on the practice they may or may not have more time than any of the OBs in the office. Do your homework on that.
5. Book appointments on days when more than one provider is available.
Schedule your office visits (if there are choices) on days when there will be more than one provider in the office.
This is a question you will have to ask the office staff when booking your appointments and is not something most patients are familiar with.
Due to surgery schedules, on-call schedules, etc., there can be days when there is limited office coverage.
This is no one’s fault, it is simply part of the logistics of staffing a medical practice.
If there is only one provider in the office on a particular day, just one urgent medical event can disrupt the schedule for the rest of the day.
Since the staffing will not be able to back up these situations, it could leave you waiting hours for a 15-minute visit, or worse, have to reschedule.
Here is another secret tip, if you can during your pregnancy rotate seeing the other doctors and midwives in the practice.
It may not be your doctor who delivers your baby. It may be whoever is covering for the practice that day.
If you try to see them all at least once, they won’t be a total stranger to you when you go into labor.
That can help you feel more comfortable and lead to a more positive birth experience.
How many prenatal visits will I have during pregnancy?
You will have approximately 10 prenatal appointments.
You will see your doctor or midwife at least every four weeks in the first and third trimesters, and then every two weeks in the last month of pregnancy.
You may also have additional appointments with a specialist, such as a genetic counselor or an obstetrician.
We hope these 5 tips will help you with scheduling prenatal visits that work for you!
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