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Expert Perspectives

How Our Early Pregnancy Program Supports Expectant Mothers

By Lauren Vassallo, Medcan Nursing Practice Lead

Learn more about our exciting new offering.

When a woman finds out she’s pregnant, she may feel a range of intense emotions, from happiness and excitement to anxiety and uncertainty about what’s to come. At Medcan, we often receive calls from clients moments after they’ve learned they’re expecting, as they seek guidance on next steps. An appointment with a family doctor in the public system might take several weeks to arrange, introducing a cascade of delays that can leave newly expectant mothers feeling adrift and alone. We saw the need for a streamlined process that followed women all the way through their first trimester of pregnancy, providing reassurance and guidance from experts they trust about what to expect in the months ahead.

To help newly expectant mothers navigate the first trimester, we created Medcan’s Early Pregnancy Program. The new offering sees our team of physicians and a nurse partnering with a new mother to ensure all testing, results and referrals are completed and followed up in a timely manner. The program is designed to streamline care for pregnant woman to provide comfort and support during the beginning stages of their pregnancy. We also ensure they are well prepared for their first obstetrics appointment in the second trimester.

Particularly for women who are expecting their first baby, the first trimester can provoke many questions. Expectant mothers seek guidance from prenatal physicians and teammates who are skilled at managing women through early pregnancy. To alleviate uncertainty and anxiety, it’s important for that guidance to happen in a timely fashion.

Our clients experience reassurance from experts starting from the moment they sign up with a Medcan booking agent. The first step is an onboarding call with our early pregnancy nurse. Within days comes an in-person or virtual appointment with a prenatal physician. That meeting allows the client to ask questions about what to expect, and to seek advice. During the same appointment, blood work and urine samples are provided to conduct the screening required to ensure that the mother is in an optimal state of health. Throughout the program, the client also has access to Medcan’s 24/7 Nurse on Call service for nursing support when necessary.

We also arrange the nuchal translucency (NT) ultrasound, which happens in weeks 11-13 of the pregnancy. This is a form of screening that uses sound waves to measure the translucency of a fluid-filled sac in the baby’s neck. It’s designed to estimate the risk of chromosomal abnormalities.

In addition, the expectant mother has a nutrition consultation with one of Medcan’s registered dietitians, who will help answer any questions the mother may have regarding nutritional requirements in early pregnancy.

As early as 10 weeks, clients will complete blood work for Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing. This process begins with a consultation with a board-certified genetic counsellor, who will explain the screening’s risks, benefits and limitations. After the blood draw, genetic analysis is conducted on the sample to detect chromosomal problems as well as any sex chromosomal abnormalities. There’s also an option to test for rare microdeletion syndromes. Results are provided within approximately five business days and discussed in detail with your genetic counsellor.

Finally, the team of physicians and nurses will track your progress through the program to ensure all testing is completed and followed up in a timely manner. There is also the option to arrange referrals to Medcan’s fitness services, to assist with the design of an appropriate exercise plan throughout the pregnancy. Mental health support also is available when needed. The last part of the program includes a nurse consultation before the expectant mother receives offboarding to an obstetrician. This equips the client with the context required to flag appropriate questions to other health professionals, and ensure a smooth transition in the next step of the pregnancy.

Medcan’s Early Pregnancy Program is designed to provide the best evidence-based guidance from experienced professionals, to enable our clients to concentrate on preparing themselves for their new arrival.

Do you know someone who may benefit from the personal, expert advice provided by Medcan’s Early Pregnancy Program? Email earlypregnancy@medcan.com.

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