Drop Your Pants

… see, more pregnancy.  maybe I DO want to write a pregnancy blog.  But I forgot this bit with the last post …

I totally left out the most different part of the prenatal care in France. I guess I got so used to it. While the prenatal care is very similar in both countries, time spent with that doctor is very different.

In America (Seattle specifically), I speak to one sometimes two well-trained, friendly nurses. One escorts me to the little room by first stopping to take my weight, then taking my pulse and blood pressure. She asks me if I have any issues or pain, writes down notes and then hands me a sterile cup and points me to the bathroom. Upon return to my room, a light has been turned on to tell anyone walking by that there is a patient waiting in the room who could be partially naked. A curtain is drawn to guard the door and a little night gown thing and blanket are waiting for you to put on and cover up while you wait and wait and wait for the doctor. The doctor comes along at last, you have a very brief conversation with her/him. Belly measurement is taken. Baby heartbeat is heard. Any questions? She leaves. Then it’s back with the nurse for any follow up. The nurses were great. The doctor was great. The time spent with each is mainly with the nurses.

In France (Southwest specifically), I saw a doctor. The first nurse I met was at the hospital when I went to meet with the anesthesiologist. Even then, she was helping me with the administrative side of the hospital. Other than that, I didn’t meet with a nurse during my regular prenatal appointments. When I meet with my doctor, he sits at his desk and we talk about the pregnancy. He runs through a typical set of questions. He asks if I have any questions or concerns. He writes out a note to go get my blood taken and then we hop over to the little table. He tells me to take my pants off and gets a few things ready for examination. I wait for him to leave the room and look around for my nighty and blanky which aren’t there. He speaks a bit slower this time and repeats his request and waits. Aaaaaah! I get it. You mean like, get undressed now … as in here … as in here and now without the puritan comforts of home. And then laugh at myself and hop on the table. Belly is measured. Blood pressure taken. Baby heartbeat is heard. Then a quick pelvic exam. Yep. Everytime. France has a very low preterm birthrate. They are quick to put you on bed rest if the cervix is seemly overzealous for labor. Then weight is taken, which is more stressful than the pelvic exam. Pants return to their rightful bottom and we finish up at the desk looking at the next time we meet what will occur. The whole experience is comfortable, quick, straightforward and conscientious.

I really like spending the entire nine months talking with the doctor. I appreciate the nurses in America, but there was a high rotation with them. I appreciate the doctor in America, but she hardly saw me and I felt she was in a hurry. This was the biggest difference I noticed in prenatal care between countries. Though I believe for all pregnancies that everyone was interested in my healthy pregnancy. As a patient, I felt working with one person allowed for less things to go unnoticed. And I’ve never really understood the whole song and dance with the curtain and the blanky in America, so this drop-your-pants style of doctor visit is more my type of groove.

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