So, you have a high risk pregnancy and have to see an MFM specialist, or any kind of specialist for that matter.
Take a deep breath.
As I am a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, I am giving high risk pregnancy-related examples. But preparation to see a specialist will ensure that you are maximizing your doctor's visit.
Most of the time, the pregnancy outcomes of a high risk pregnancy are excellent, but we take extra precautions to make sure it goes smoothly. This means different things depending on the scenario, but can include extra visits, starting medications, or extra ultrasounds, to name a few.
When your provider puts in that MFM referral, I know it can be an overwhelming time.
Here are a few things you can do to feel well prepared for the visit, whether it is with MFM or any other specialist.
1. Make sure your doctor has all your records. To be safe, call ahead to ensure the doctor's office received all your records, if this can't be confirmed, bring a physical copy with you. I can still counsel most patients about their condition without their records. However, my counseling will not be as specific to you when I can't access your records, especially when your condition is not straightforward or rare.
2. Show up 15 minutes early. Planning to show up early will ease your stress of finding parking and getting to your appointment on time. There may be paperwork for you to fill out. You don't want these things to take from precious time you may have with your physician.
3. Bring questions. Make a running list on your phone or in a notebook of all the questions you can think of. Your questions should be relevant to your referral, of course. I personally don’t mind answering general obstetrical questions, but remember that your primary OB provider may be able to answer these. If you have these kind of questions, it is best to leave them until the very end, so you can make sure you get your more pressing questions answered. Wondering what questions you should ask your MFM? Click here.
4. Take notes. It is overwhelming and a ton of info will be thrown at you in a short amount of time. Bring a pen and paper or open up your Notes app to jot down notes. Trust me, you will not regret this part.
5. Bring a list of your medications. Bring the bottles if you are short on time – that is ok!
6. Bring a list of your supplements and vitamins. Yes, this includes teas and shakes. Most supplements and vitamins are not regulated by the FDA and are not studied in pregnant women, so we do not know how they affect pregnancy. In fact, some may be outright dangerous. Your MFM specialist can go through them with you.
7. Bring a support person to your visit. I can't stress this enough. If they can’t be there in person, ask if you can have them on speaker phone or video call. I would still recommend bringing a support person anyway and they can wait in the car. Most consultations do not involve breaking bad news, but some do, and having someone with you will tremendously help digest the information.
Best of luck, my love. I hope your visit goes well!
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