I find that I’m often underwhelmed by the medical community. Sure, doctors are necessary, but of the probably 10 doctors I’ve seen for various reasons over the last decade (I’ve moved twice so I’ve had to switch around), I’ve only been impressed by a couple of them. I feel like doctors often “poo-poo” symptoms or don’t pay full attention when you’re talking. With one doctor, I would be in the middle of a list of symptoms, and he’d jump in with a diagnosis or dismiss the worry. I’d always want to yell, “Wait! I’m still talking! What if symptom No. 10 is the key to unlocking this medical mystery?!” One dermatologist I saw for an insanely itchy rash on my leg didn’t even look at my leg at a follow-up appointment. How do you just not look at the body part you just treated? I saw two different doctors while dealing with breastfeeding pain, yet neither diagnosed me—the internet finally did. (A common theme in my life, Dr. Google.)
So while I feel like most doctors don’t pay enough attention or often have a terrible bedside manner, the one time it really, truly bothers me is during pregnancy. I’ve seen my fair share of OBGYNs, having been to two different practices and now a third practice that rotates four physicians. And drawing toward the end of my second pregnancy, I’ve had a fair number of prenatal visits. I must say: I always leave a prenatal appointment feeling a bit of a letdown.
The appointments go like this: weigh in, pee in cup. Check blood pressure. Doctor arrives, measures belly, listens for the baby’s heartbeat and asks if you have any concerns. Total doctor time? Without any concerns, one, maybe two minutes. With concerns? Five minutes or so, and sometimes not even that.
I’ve never had a doctor at a prenatal appointment ask me about my nutrition. Or exercise habits. When I’ve mentioned pain and discomfort, it was more of a “that’s par for the pregnancy course” response. No digging deeper. I kind of understand. If all is well, why drag it out? But I sometimes feel like I’m an inconvenience, not a patient growing a little human. And I often feel like you’re just expected to read up on a pregnancy book and know what’s going on—particularly if it’s not the first time you’ve ridden the merry-go-round.
What do you think? Am I just a picky patient or do you feel like just another number when it comes to prenatal exams, too? —Erin