Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pre-Natal Healthcare: Military vs, Civilian

So this is my third pregnancy with Tri-Care (the military healthcare insurance) and going through military hospitals for the entire pre-natal and birth process. Thankfully, all my pregnancies so far have been completely "normal" and healthy without any complications, so I don't really have any complaints about the system. After all, it is free, and I know civilians can be required to pay $5,000 or more for each birth! Still, it leaves me wondering if we are missing out on any supervision or services that are offered to civilians. I am only seen once every 6 weeks for the first half of the pregnancy, then once a month for the 2nd half, and every 2 weeks during the last month. But during those appointments they only spend a few minutes with me, taking my weight, blood pressure, measuring my stomach, and asking if I am in any pain. If I DID have any complications, would they show up under such brief scrutiny? And there are only 2 ultrasounds total-- 1 at the first appointment to confirm the pregnancy and the number of fetus(es), and the 2nd after 20 weeks to analyze the anatomy and determine the gender. I feel like civilians have TONS more ultrasounds!
The "doctor" who supervises you is also confusing. During this and my previous pregnancies, I was seen by a different nurse or midwife at almost every appointment. Just depended who was available, I guess. And I don't think anyone from the OB-GYN clinic actually works upstairs in Labor and Delivery. So for my other 2 births I was surrounded by new doctors and nurses I hadn't met before. This was fine with me, and I was always comfortable with it, but it is funny to me to hear people talking about "their" doctor being present for their birth. Anyway, I'm just curious what others' experiences have been. If you are military, does this sound like your story? And if you are civilian, please enlighten us to what the other side is like!

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