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Timeline for first visit (both private and public)?

  1. #1
    not pizza is offline Registered User
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    Timeline for first visit (both private and public)?

    Hello there

    It's our first pregnancy. We've been to the GP on Saturday and got a confirmation of pregnancy + referral to our local Maternal and Child Health Centre (MCHC).
    We called the MCHC and various other places. We got our first appt with MCHC for the 14th week, which sounds crazy-late.
    We were told to register with our catchment hospital and book ASAP for Down Syndrome tests. Called the catchment area hospital (voicemail), waiting for a reply. I was told to go to the hospital directly (1 hour from home), but the wife these days is KO with morning sickness (6th week).
    So I panicked and tried to go private, as well. The same clinic offers OSCAR (90% detection rate, $2550, results available in 2 hours) and safe-T21 (99.1% detection rate, $8000, results available in 3 weeks!) However, it turns out that they will be closed during the period we need the test for (lucky eh), so they encouraged us to ask somewhere else. I called Dr. Belinda Leung in TST (any feedback anyone?) but the nurse said that we should do ultrasounds+consultation *before* OSCAR, and she booked us for that instead, about the same time as when we actually need the Down test, so I am worried that we won't be able to book OSCAR in time after that!
    I will call everyone again on Wed, also because their English did not allow me to understand everything they said (par for the course), but I wonder what a "normal" timeline for both public and private is, please.
    The books we are reading (both US) don't say when it starts making sense to have an ultrasound. However, they both do stress the importance of having antenatal checks every month, so we are a bit anxious about being left out on a limb for the first three months! The books also mention the importance of interviewing doctors before committing to one, but it seems like people here charge even for the first consultation, which apparently cannot be any earlier than three months into the pregnancy. All this without having seen a list of private doctors near us, which I was hoping the MCHC could give us, together with answers to our various general questions about how things work.
    Makes no sense! So far, so frustrating...
    Thanks for your help

  2. #2
    Aquarian is offline Registered User
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    What happened with me was this:
    Wk 5 - went to GP, did urine test to confirm pregnancy, she gave me referral letter for public hospital
    Wk 6 - saw private OB, had a scan, confirmed baby was looking ok
    Wk 7 - went to the public hospital. Filled out some forms, did a urine test, confirmed dates, booked in for downs (nt scan and blood test) in wk 12 and morphology scan at wk 20. They offered me a dr appt sometime around wk 14 but I scheduled it for wk 20 after the scan
    Wk11, bit worried that I was showing so early, saw private OB, had another US
    Wk 12 - nt scan and blood test at hospital
    Wk 16 - check up (with scan) with private OB
    Wk 20 - morphology scan and check up at hospital
    Wk 23 - check up at mcmh, booked next check up for wk27


    Due to placenta issues I'll have another scan (private) at 27wks, and hospital wants to do another at 34wks.

    Public hospitals don't do check ups before about 12 weeks because many women will miscarry before then - they want to save their resources. I understand completely about wanting checks before then though. The 'every month' is really only an issue from about wk 20 onwards though.

    But be very careful about getting private downs screening. I read a gov report which warned that a lot of private practices that do NT scans are not properly registered/qualified.
    Last edited by Aquarian; 10-23-2012 at 12:27 AM.
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  3. #3
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    first, take a breath....
    second, if you are truly concerned and have an issue with the pregnancy, go to any public hospital A & E dept.
    that's what i did (very, very high blood pressure---risk for me and baby). they got me onto the high risk team within a week. and i had weekly appts from then on.

    otherwise, the first 12 weeks there isn't much that they can do in a normal pregnancy. there is the Down Syndrome test that is usually done around 12 weeks. however, the public hospital only offers this for mums over 35 years of age as the risk is so much greater. you can choose to have this privately if you like.
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  4. #4
    m_c
    m_c is offline Registered User
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    The Downs screening was available for all mums at PMH and also at PWH. I had this at about 12 weeks and this was my first check up at the hospital. After that my visits were monthly and I did my 20 week scan privately as the public hospital was full. If you feel you need a check up before the one at the public hospital just go and see a private OB. Also the MCHC will not advise you on private doctors.
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  5. #5
    Liquorice is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by not pizza View Post
    ...we are a bit anxious about being left out on a limb for the first three months! The books also mention the importance of interviewing doctors before committing to one, but it seems like people here charge even for the first consultation, which apparently cannot be any earlier than three months into the pregnancy.
    I'm pretty sure that you can see a private doctor within the first 3 months, but yes you will pay a fee. Just call up a private doctor, explain what you want to the nurse/receptionist and book an appointment. When I was in the public system I saw random doctors for one-off appointments a few times. I've always had first scans very early (like 6 weeks), as I could only get pregnant through fertility treatment, I can't imagine having to wait three months! If I were you I'd have a private appointment for peace of mind.
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  6. #6
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    m_c their policy re: down's testing at 12 weeks has changed back and forth about 10 times over the past 8 years. when i was having my first almost 8 years ago, everyone got it free of charge... then when i had my second almost 6 years ago, it was only for those mums over 35 or you had to pay for it (about $1000 if memory serves)...

    not sure what it is now as it's been so long since i was pregnant...so their policies do change, sometimes with high frequency.

    good to know that they offer it to everyone if they so wish to have it.

  7. #7
    not pizza is offline Registered User
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    Thank you so much everyone!

    Our main concern here is that there is apparently a narrow window for the screening of Down Syndrome (OSCAR/NT scan), 11-14 week according to various sources, and so I'm worried that if we don't book the test in time won't be able to do it at all. OK, we can terminate up to w24 and even so I don't know if we would do it, *but* my wife is at "high" risk (1 in 350, apparently) and it's something we'd like to get off our mind ASAP...
    As for policy, MCHC told me "limited numbers, first come first served" over the phone about our hospital (Prince of Wales, Sha Tin) - another reason to hurry.

    As for other minor concerns during this first trimester, my wife currently does not have any worrying symptoms apart from severe morning sickness (can't eat anything) and tiredness (can't do anything, lying in bed all day long), so that's kind of OK. Thanks for the suggestion to go to A&E in case of acute or persistent symptoms - knock on wood. I'll also consult my various resources (books, web and you lovely people!) and go to a private OB if anything which is not quite an emergency should pop up.

    Also let's see what the public hospital says if and when they call back. I have half-a-mind to just turn up tomorrow with vomiting wife and see what happens.

    Still looking for an OB directory/recommendations in the New Territories, since apparently MCHC can't help with that. We live in Sheung Shui (near Shenzhen) and so far I got (Thanks Charade!):
    * Dr Yu Kai-man at Union Hospital, Sha Tin (the closest of the bunch so far)
    * Dr Jimmy Mak at Baptist Hospital, Kowloon Tong
    * Dr Shell Wong at Femina, TST
    * Dr Belinda Leung, TST (just off geobaby's directory, first impression from nurse not so good)
    I'll give Dr Yu a call in the next few days.

    Thanks! :-)
    Justin

  8. #8
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    if you do, go to the A & E dept... make sure to tell them that she is pregnant (bring the confirmation from the dr if you have it)... ask them if there is anything they can give her to take the edge off the nausea. i was the same with both of my pregnancies. i actually lost over 20lbs in the first trimesters and didn't show any weight gain until i hit 23 or 24 weeks! during my second pregnancy, i told the drs about it and said that i couldn't eat anything... they gave me a prescription that just took the edge off a little. i still felt nauseous but i could manage to eat a slice of bread or a pce of fruit.
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