Frequently Asked Questions

+ When should I start seeing a doctor for pregnancy care?

Early care can help ensure you have a healthy start to your pregnancy. We encourage you to see a family doctor soon after you find out you are pregnant. If you have a doctor that provides early care, our doctors will accept referrals later in pregnancy.

+ How do I contact and get an appointment with a maternity care family doctor?

  • You can refer yourself to any of our doctors, or you can ask your family doctor to refer you to us. Please see Our Doctors for a list of clinics and doctors and their contact information.
  • For self-referrals, please call the clinic/doctor of choice and a first appointment will be arranged. Physician referrals are usually received by fax.

+ How often do I see a doctor during my pregnancy?

In the early stages of pregnancy, more than one visit is needed for us to provide you with all the essential information and care. After these initial visits, we see you once a month with increasing frequency as your pregnancy progresses. In the month before your baby's due date, visits are typically once a week. If any concern arises, additional visits may be necessary.

+ What happens if I have an urgent pregnancy concern but it is outside of office hours?

If you have an urgent concern outside of office hours, please call the Perinatal (Maternity/Birthing) Unit. We have excellent nurses who can help answer many of your questions. If the nurse thinks you should be seen for an assessment, you will be advised to come to the hospital perinatal unit to be seen. The nurse will inform the doctor and ask him/her to see you there if needed.

+ What is the difference between a midwife, family doctor, and obstetrician?

  • Women have the option of choosing a midwife, family doctor, or an obstetrician for their pregnancy and birth care. They are all excellent maternity care providers.
  • Obstetricians have specialist training including surgical skills. They usually care for women with higher risk pregnancies. A pregnancy may be considered high risk if a woman has a significant medical condition prior to pregnancy (e.g. serious heart disease, Type 1 Diabetes), if there is a concern with your baby (e.g. twins, premature baby), or if there is a pregnancy complication (e.g. high blood pressure/pre-eclampsia).
  • Family Doctors have experience in caring for people of all ages. Those providing maternity care have a special interest in pregnancy and birth.
  • Midwives are trained to care for normal pregnancy and birth. They attend births at the hospital and in the home.
  • In BC, you can choose either a family doctor or a midwife, but not both. If concerns arise during your pregnancy, both family doctors and midwives may refer to an obstetrician for advice.

Photo credit: Anita Peeples photography