I've got two children, DS is 3, DD is about to turn 1.
I'm in the UK, and OH (DDs dad) is in the USA. After being here for her birth, we had a talk about the differences in health care across the pond.
The conversation started up again the other day, so I thought I'd bring it up here, for anyone who's interested in sharing experiences.
So, over here:
Once positive, you go to your doctor surgery, tell them you're pregnant, and you think you're approx (x) weeks along.
You fill in some papers, then get a letter through the post informing you of your appointment time with (midwife). This will be at around 8 weeks, or ASAP if it's already passed.
At the first appointment, you'll first provide a urine sample for the midwife to confirm you are pregnant, then you get given a big folder (PN, or purple notes).
You keep your PN, and they go everywhere with you until birth.
Your PN starts off with basic questions in this first appointment. Family history and all that. Bloods taken. Weight. Points out the numbers to call if needed and gives you an idea of things to look out for. She books your 12 week US, which comes through the post in the next week. You can choose just a dating scan, to confirm due date, or you can have a nuchal scan, which also looks for markers for Downs and other things.
As you leave, you book your next MW appointment for 12w at reception.
12w you go to your hospital for the scan. You first drop a urine sample at the nurses station along with your PN, and wait for your scan. Your sonographer does the required thing, sometimes talking you through what they're seeing (this is the femur, we measure this to add to other measure blah blah), (hopefully) tells you everything's okay, and gives you a slip to take back to reception to book your 20w anatomy scan.
If anything is flagged, you are sent to wait for a consultant, who will discuss your scan with you. They may ask you to go back for additional scans.
You go to MW at 12w, more bloods etc, and book an appointment for after your 20w scan.
At 20w you go for AS, where you are hopefully told that everything is growing normally. If you were seen by a consultant before, you'll follow up as necessary, and either be discharged from consultant care, or booked in for further scans and appointments.
At your 20w MW appointment, more urine etc, and a follow up of how your scan went. Book for 28w.
28w more urine, start fundal height measurements, and listening to baby's heartbeat. Book for 31w.
31w as above, start discussing birth plan. Book for 34w.
34w as above, book for 36w.
Same for 36w, 38w, 39w, 41w.
Sweep offered at 41w, induction discussed.
I had monthly scans with DS, fortnightly scans with DD.
DS came on his own at 40w. DD was induced at 37w, came at 37+1. Both involved a hospital stay of approx 36 hours, both small but otherwise healthy, with "normal" deliveries.
It's a complete toss-up on whether you see the same MW, sonographer, consultant more than once.
The Longest wait to get in for an appointment was 45 minutes.
All of it was completely free (including early scans for bleeds, extra bloods for rhesus neg, and flu and whooping cough vaccines).
Both labours I had pethidine, as I didn't want an epidural, and certainly didn't want c-sec unless medically necessary, but couldn't handle just gas and air. Both deliveries were on hands and knees. (Everything I see about USA birth seems to be flat on your back, with an epidural being the only offered pain relief)?
Both times baby was placed straight on my stomach after a quick check over whilst I delivered the placenta, then when I was ready, I went and showered and re-humanised whilst they cleaned baby, weighed, fully checked over, and dad cuddled. After this, I was taken to a ward with 3 other beds until I was discharged.
On the ward, baby was given vit K injection, had sight and hearing checked, and had heel prick test.
There was a breastfeeding specialist available at all times to help, and health visitors came around at intervals to help with whatever, including first nappy change and so on.
At 5 days post-birth, you take baby for a check with a health visitor, where they are weighed and you are asked about how you're doing.
At 10 days, a health visitor comes to your home to do it all again.
And that's it.
There are weekly health visitor clinics where you can take baby and discuss anything you're worried about (anything you want help with but doesn't necessarily need a doctor), and get advise on standard "new mum" questions (sleeping, weaning, etc).
You then have a health visitor come to your home around 10 months to check up on baby, hitting milestones, how you're feeling.
All still free.
If you've read all that, thank you. Please feel free to explain how your experience has differed. For example: since nosing around on here, I've discovered that circumcision is a thing. It's definitely not over here, unless requested for religion.
I find the differences quite interesting.