May 18, 2017. By CFA.
Finding out you’ve graduated from your fertility clinic is at once exciting – and sort of scary. It can be the scariest for couples who’ve spent years trying to get pregnant because they’ve grown incredibly close to the fertility clinic’s specialists and staff. Once you’re pregnant, however, your fertility specialist soon gives you the green light to “graduate” on to a regular OB or midwife for the rest of your prenatal, labor and delivery care.
What to do once you’re finally pregnant
Now that you’ve graduated, it’s time to assemble your birthing team. In many cases, this means returning to a favorite OB/GYN. For others, it’s time to start searching for a new OB if you feel your prior OB/GYN isn’t who you want to provide prenatal care. After all the medical poking, testing and prodding associated with fertility treatments, some women have a strong desire to work with a midwife, rather than a traditional physician. Or, perhaps they’re interested in finding a team of OBs and midwives who work together. It’s always a good idea to find a care provider who has experience treating women who’ve had ART so they have a greater understanding of where you’ve been thus far.
Check in officially with your fertility specialist
In most cases, women continue to visit their fertility specialist until about the eight to 10 week mark. Some might remain under the care of the fertility doctor for several weeks more, depending on their pregnancy history. This might also be the case if you’ve received a immunologic fertility diagnosis and still require some type of testing and/or immunotherapy until the 12- to 20-week mark.
Often, this last stage of care from your fertility specialist is provided in tandem with the newly selected medical team, who should have access to your fertility treatment records.
Trust the process (as much as you can)
Once you’ve been given the go-ahead from your fertility specialist, you are just the same as every other pregnant woman out there. Hard to believe, isn’t it? One of the best things you can do is to relax already (that advice you’ve had such a hard time taking thus far) and trust the process. According to cold, hard, clinical facts – you don’t have any higher risk of miscarriage, pregnancy or delivery complications than any other pregnant woman walking around.
Screen your prenatal care team (OB, midwife or combination of the two) carefully
The fertility treatment process is intense – both physically and emotionally, which makes it pretty tough for mothers who are newly pregnant and sent off to a traditional OB. Where there used to be constant communication and hand-holding whenever necessary, you may now feel a distinct void and what seems like an utter absence of communication.
Unless you’re pregnant with multiples, have an existing medical condition, and/or are considered high risk as the result of your advanced maternal age, odds are you have a perfectly normal pregnancy in a perfectly healthy body – and that means your OB or midwife will only be seeing you once every four weeks until about the 36-week mark. If you’re seeing an OB in a larger practice, you may feel very disconnected from the type of attentive care you’re used to.
Screen OB and midwife teams carefully. Ideally, you should have an OB and/or midwife team in place at the seven to eight-week point, before you’ve officially launched from your fertility clinic. If you feel you are going to need more text, phone, email or in-person reassurance, be honest with them and they’ll let you know if they can be available to you in that way. Again, looking for a prenatal care provider who has experience with patients who’ve had fertility treatments is a wise move because they are more used to providing the level of attention you may want – especially during the initial transition phase.
Schedule your first appointment for Week 10
Typically, your first appointment with the new care provider will take place at week 10. There’s a good chance that some of the tests or lab results they’d normally want you to have were already run by your fertility clinic. Make sure the new physician has copies of your medical records (you can request that from the staff at your fertility clinic), including the results of any genetic tests, so you don’t have to have any unnecessary repeat tests. We recommend making a copy of your medical records for yourself as well so you can access them whenever you need to.
Once again, it really is completely normal to only see an OB or midwife once every four weeks. Really. Now, you can learn how to enjoy all that extra time back as you get ready to enjoy what it’s like to be pregnant “like a normal woman.” It’s time to prepare for the next phase of the journey – Parenthood!