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Ignored by a GP

I was reading on the NHS website that the moment you find out about pregnancy you should book an appointment with either a GP or midwife. So, my pregnant test showed 2-3weeks, I went to see a GP for further guidance and antenatal care, however...

I was told: “we don’t do anything for pregnancy, book with a midwife in 5 weeks”

I was very shocked and left. She didn’t ask about my current health status, if I am taking any medication or if I am taking folic acid... nothing...

Is this normal?

33 Replies
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Yes that can be quite normal. Most places you either contact the GP surgery to get the midwife details to book an appointment with her or there is sometimes an online form to complete to book with the midwife. I never saw a GP and just did the online form

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I didnt think it was normal i was told to go to my gp when i found out and they refer you to the hospital and midwives. Im in the uk tho but you should be taking folic acid for the first 3 months they even say take it 3 months before your pregnant and until your 12 weeks pregnant x

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I think it could have been worded better and the GP could have taken the chance to do some health promotion- eg checking you knew what food to avoid and advice re vitamins and when you might need to see a dr- eg pain or bleeding. I’m a GP and I would have taken the appointment time to go through the above and check your medical history.

Lots of places have self referral to the midwife service so you don’t have to see a GP. There is a maternity exemption form that your GP or midwife completes- gives you free prescriptions and NHS dental care.

Sorry you had a bad experience. If you feel up to it, it’s worth writing feedback to the practice (if it’s a GP that they are employing and they see a pattern of behaviour, the practice can act on it). Xx

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Thank you. I sent my feedback the moment I left my practice.

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I agree that since you were there being seen by the GP, they could have provided a much better experience for you by just checking through your history and giving you any relevant lifestyle advice. Sometimes healthcare professionals can get so tied up in what is and isn’t their role due to huge pressures on their time that the patient ends up feeling like they aren’t listened to which is a shame.

In my area you just self-refer to the midwife so this wouldn’t have happened as you wouldn’t have been booked in with the GP anyway. The midwife would check your history, give you advice about lifestyle, book your dating scan and refer you to a obstetrician if you had any underlying medical issues.

In terms of medication I would hope that if you were on any medication that was seriously contraindicated in pregnancy, whoever prescribed it in the first place should have discussed that with you when they put you on it in terms of what to do if you become pregnant.

Congratulations on your pregnancy. Hope all goes well x

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Congratulations Unfortunately it’s normal you book in with the midwife around 8 weeks she doesn’t even check if your pregnant just does bloods takes notes of health last period weight hight and books a appointment for your scan around 12-14 weeks this will be sent though the post x

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I booked to see my go at 2-3 weeks felt like I was being fobbed off I wanted to cry as she was saying her test was saying nothing so I went and did another clear blue to say I was and I went to a different doctor who clarified for me I was in fact 5 weeks just some doctors can be rude and not want to know got my midwife tomorrow as I’m 6/7 weeks I’ve paid for a early scan aswell because the doctor made me feel insecure and low s

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Congratulations, I booked in with my doctors and thought that was what too do. When I got there, the doctor was very helpful, told me what vitamins to take and things like that. And told me too fill out a midwife referral form at the reception. Which I did and then the midwife team will get in touch with you, mine contacted me about 2 weeks later

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My second doctor was brilliant couldn’t fault her she was very polite and understood my concern because of the other doctor and I booked my first midwife through gp and booked a private scan congratulations to you too!!

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Thank you. I’m thinking to go private as well.

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I remember feeling a bit like this the first time around as I was told to come back in a few weeks. No need to do any expensive early scans, your pregnancy is real, the tests don't lie. Just hang in then and all the appointments and tests will start before you know it. You'll be sick of the blood tests and urine samples! x

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Sadly my GP was the same. I went at 6 weeks and she wasn’t interested - told me to tell reception so they could book me a midwife apt, which I wasn’t happy about as the waiting room is only small but was very busy so everyone heard the conversation. My gp checked my blood pressure, but that was it - no advice or anything

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At least you had your blood pressure checked 😉

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Hi I'm in the UK and pregnant with baby number 3 and this is quite normal.

You don't actually get seen by a midwife until your 8 weeks pregnant now (it was 6 weeks with my older 2.)

The only thing my doctor did do when I rang to confirm I was pregnant so my file could be updated was ask me to hand in a urine sample so they could confirm it themselves.

I have noticed however that the appointments with the midwife during this pregnancy are a lot less than I've previously had. They are 8 weeks but I was nearer 10, next was 16 weeks and the next ones 28 weeks but I've been advised this is due to cut backs and if I need to see her before I can always ring and book.

Congratulations on the pregnancy.

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I know there probably is an element of this being due to cutbacks given that your 3rd is different to your 2nd but in my area, you still get loads more midwife appointments with your first baby than subsequent pregnancies. I’ve just had my first baby and I was being seen every 2 weeks near the end and I definitely had one between 16 and 28 weeks (I think maybe 25 weeks?) I could see from the timeline in the paperwork that ladies who’d been pregnant before would have fewer appointments.

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Firstly congratulations on your pregnancy!!

From my experience yes this is quite normal. My GP wouldn't even see me. She spoke to me over the phone and just told me to self refer to a midwife.

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Thank you all for your replies. I have been taking folic acid for a while now. I pretty much know my do’s and don’ts, but in my opninion Drs (GPs) should show more interest as I could have been on medication that shouldn’t be taken in pregnancy or not even take any vitamins. In the first 8 weeks baby’s heart, brain and spinal cord forms so it is crucial that we take care of ourselves and GPs should use the appointment time to give your their professional advice.

I will wait for my midwife’s appointment in October.

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Yes I think so, they wouldn’t see me Til 8 weeks. The main thing is to start a good pregnancy multi vitamin straight away

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It’s my third successful pregnancy, with three different GPs. No one sees you before 8 weeks, really. With my current one you don’t contact the gp at all, you self-refer via the Hospital website and get to see the midwife around 8-9 weeks, then the 12 week scan. And then the regular checks afterwards.

With my first two it worked differently but I was never seen before 8 weeks (in theory anyway but due to bleeding with No1 I was at the EPU at 6 weeks, and due to an accident at the EPu at 8 weeks with my second).

To be honest, apart from telling you that you should take folic acid and eat healthily etc, there’s very little they can do early on anyway. That obviously changes when you have a problem. In my case I’m currently 9 weeks and have already had 3 scans, but that’s due to a previous ectopic pregnancy and a bleed at 7 weeks.

I know it’s frustrating! But once you have seen the midwife at 8 weeks and have your plan, you’ll feel a lot more reassured.

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Thank you. I booked an early scan in private clinic. So that should put my mind in peace

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I understand, with all pregnancies I had a private scan at some point.

How far along are you? Just don’t go too soon as this can add more stress and worry rather than help!

Due to the ectopic I had a really early scan to make sure it’s not another ectopic. I was 4+6 and the gynaecologist warned me that we may not see anything at all. She did see a sac, which was reassuring, and something of some sort in it. Now this was good enough for me at the time as it meant that the pregnancy was in the right place.

However, if implantation happened a bit later or your dates are out a bit... you may end up going there and not see ANYTHING. And then you’ll stress even more...

Or you may see a tiny being growing but no heartbeat and then lie awake at night and wonder whether all is well...

Ideally only go around 7 weeks when you really should have a heartbeat etc. I had my second scan at 6+2 (I think) and we were lucky to have a heartbeat.

All the best!

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I’m 5 weeks now but my scan is on the 30th, so I will be 7 weeks.

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That’s a good time, you should be able to see baby with heart beat

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Check the nhs website it has an outline of when appts should be and what they should be for.

As frustrating as it is not being seen often is a good thing if you are seen more regularly than standard it's because they are concerned about a problem. They don't see you before 8 weeks because to put it bluntly if something is going to go wrong at that point there isn't anything that can be done. I suffered a miscarriage the day before my booking appointment and had to ring to midwife to cancel it.

The nhs is understaffed and there aren't enough midwives to see people more often unless there's a reason to see you more often. They do the best they can but struggle sometimes midwives have more women on their books than they should do because they don't have a choice or someone doesn't get seen at all.

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I'm glad I'm not the only one!

First thing my GP asked was, do you want to keep it? 🙄🙄

I wanted confirmation that I was pregnant! I had no idea what I was doing.

I was also taking anti depressants at the time, when I asked if I should stop taking them, she shrugged and said she'd have to ask the midwife.

Every step of the way so far, I've been given no advice or encouragement. As pregnancy is so common, everyone seems to assume that everyone else already knows what's going on.

Am so glad I found this forum, it's been an emotional and frustrating few weeks, but at least now I know not to expect too much help 🤷🏼‍♀️

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At my practice we have an early pregnancy meeting first where they tell info vits to take etc give out folders and bounty packs they take your number and your midwife rings with your booking in appointment which was at 11 weeks.

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And this is how it should be everywhere in UK as they work following the same guidelines

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Except that her practice has probably decided to go beyond thenguidlines. The guidelines are a booking appointment with midwife around 8 weeks hence the info on nhs. This lady is lucky that her practice have the time and Drs to deal with that. But I know mine never would. We've only just got a full rooster of Drs after two years of having having but locums covering the survey and even now with the area ours covers and the number of patients especially vulnerable ones they just don't have the time to be seeing every pregnant person early on when that's what the midwives are especially trained for.

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Dr don’t deal with the early pregnancy talk I think it’s the nursery nurses which weigh your babies, they used to do it at sure start but it’s at the dr surgery now.

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I think now it is more common for you to self refer to a midwife (usually a form on the hospitals website) that’s what I did as I was told that the doctor won’t even check that you are actually pregnant!

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This is how it is in most areas now as they are making an effort to cut down no essential gp visits and the tests the GPS do are no more accurate than home tests. They tend to keep them in now in case they have to rule out pregnancy before diagnosing something else or prescribing certain things.

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Might be devils advocate here, but unless there are problems the gp doesn't normally get involved at all.in pregnancy and that because there are cuts all around and difficulty in getting appointments. You can easily get all the info needed (what to eat etc online on NHS website or most baby expecting sites). GPs aren't specifically paid for antenatal care, the midwives and hospitals are hence this arrangement. The other reason is that gps provide care for people with an illness or a perceived illness and a normal pregnancy is neither. If every woman who gets pregnant visits their gp ro be told to take folic acid (which ideally should be started before getting pregnant) there will be less appointments for other people who are ill. It's a finite number of appointments, they cant create more out of time air.

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Hi, they did not send you away calling you crazy, I hope!! I’m feeling very pregnant and 4 urine tests and 1 blood test are negative. No one will do an ultrasound!

They said that I am old and crazy and told me to take laxatives. I just feel sicker.

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