Ultrasounds and antenatal care

Reflecting on the past new months, I have noticed that some women derive an enormous amount of satisfaction and meaning from ultrasound scans.  It seems the more ultrasounds, the better, or at least the more reassured the woman feels. I have wondered if we have lost the art and meaning of hands-on antenatal care.  You know, the chat, the hands-on-belly, the discussion about baby's movements, talk about what is happening in the woman's life and of course the good old blood pressure check.

These are the things that as a midwife, I believe are really critical for good care in pregnancy.  It is about getting to know a woman and baby over time: what is normal for them, and perhaps what is not normal; and also providing skilled advice and information that is meaningful for the woman.

I understand, though, that all of this is no match for seeing your baby on a big screen, finding out what type of baby you are having, seeing his/her facial features and movements, and of course getting the DVD.

As a midwife, while I really value the information that I receive in an ultrasound report, I am always much more interested in how a woman and her baby are changing and progressing through pregnancy.  I value the one-one-one relationship that exists across time and sometimes over several pregnancies, and I believe that this is what makes a difference.