Hello, friends! Yesterday, I went to the hospital for an appointment with my OB-GYN. I caught a glimpse of my baby boy thanks to an ultrasound scan and discovered that he is continuing to grow well. Hooray!
While I was waiting to see the doctor, I started to think about the differences between maternity care here in Singapore, where my son will be born, and in the United States, where my daughter was born. And, I thought you might be interested in some of the differences:
1- Location. In the United States, my OB-GYN's office was located miles from the hospital. In Singapore, my doctor's office is located in the same hospital that I will be delivering my baby. The labor ward is just an elevator ride away! I love that fact, because it has given my husband and me a chance to get familiar with the hospital's location, how to get around the building and where to grab food and other necessities (like fashion magazines!) on the big-delivery day. J
2- Pharmacy convenience. In the United States, my doctor would hand me a prescription and then I would drive to a store with a pharmacy inside to fill the prescription. In Singapore, the doctor's office is on the same floor as the pharmacy. I literally step out of my doctor's office and grab a seat while the nurse hands my prescription over to the pharmacy. Minutes later, I have my medicine and vitamins in hand and I'm on my way home!
3- Flex your math muscles! In the United States, I get my weight and the baby's weight in pounds. Height measurements are in inches and feet. And, liquid doses of medicine - for example - are prescribed by the tablespoon. It's a measurement system that I am used to and therefore can grasp rather
quickly. Thanks to the metric system in Singapore, my weight and the baby's weight are in kilograms. Height measurements are in centimeters. And, liquid doses of medicine are prescribed by the milliliter. So each time I go to the doctor's office in Singapore, I have to convert the measurements. Talk about an exercise in math skills! Admittedly, when the nurse weighs me each week, I DO NOT convert my weight to pounds from kilograms. Believe me, my weight in kilograms has a nicer ring to it. "I am only 70 kilograms this week?" I happily and naively say to the nurse. "How wonderful!" J
4- Scans, pokes and prods. In the United States, I dreaded most doctor's appointments. I often got poked with needles or checked to see if I was dilated. Ultrasounds were performed at certain points in the pregnancy, but not often. In Singapore, I feel the maternity care is less invasive. I've
only had my blood drawn and tested once. My OB-GYN also doesn't check me down there each week, if you know what I mean. That's because, I get an ultrasound at each appointment. And instead of dilation, the doctors here measure the length of the cervix during the scan. I don't know about you, but I much prefer an ultrasound and a sneak peak of my baby at each appointment.
5- Attitude and approach. I had a miscarriage in the United States a couple months before getting pregnant again with this baby. I had two OB-GYNs in the U.S. - one in Atlanta and one in Monterey, Calif., - tell me that there was nothing they could do to prevent another miscarriage if I got pregnant again. And, I would have to experience three miscarriages before they performed tests to determine what caused the losses. In Singapore, the first words out of my doctor's mouth after telling him I was pregnant following a miscarriage were "Let's do everything in our power to prevent you from having another miscarriage." And he has been true to his word. He immediately wanted to perform a scan to check on the baby, prescribed me a hormone to help strengthen the uterus and put me on moderated bed rest for the first trimester. Since then, he has continued to take a "cautious" approach with me and my pregnancy. This particular difference could very well boil down to a difference between individual doctors versus maternity care as a whole. But, I truly believe that I made it this far in this complicated pregnancy (I'm currently 32 weeks pregnant), because of my Singaporean doctor's cautious attitude and approach.
Have you ever been pregnant overseas? What are some of the differences you noticed in terms of medical care?