Do You Have An Abortion Quota or Is This Just Prenatal Care in the UK?

I think it’s so obnoxious strange when people ask if a pregnancy was “planned” or “expected”, especially since we all know where babies come from… ahem! ahem!

Oh no! How ever could this have happened… eek!

Planned or unplanned, we are no less THRILLED about the it and that’s all there is to know.

However, it did take a few weeks for the news to sink in. I still have moments of denial now and again, but I still managed to book an appointment with my GP (i.e. general care family doc) nonetheless…

In the UK, you go to your GP for everything from a heart attack to the flu to wart removal…

He or she then grants you access to a specialist, but only if you really, really need it and ONLY after the proper paperwork has been filled out, faxed, and you wait the 8-12 weeks for someone to ring you (you do NOT call them) for an appointment…

Oh and by the way, OB/GYNs and pediatricians are considered specialists rather than primary care in the UK, so my appointment with the GP was merely a formality.

Granted we’re only four weeks and counting away from moving back to the US , but I thought I’d try for a referral to a “specialist” anyway. You never know, right?

Still, I was very excited about my appointment. Surely there would be another test to confirm the pregnancy, a prescription for some prenatal vitamins, an official DUE DATE…


Upon telling the doctor my very good reason for walking 30 minutes in the London winter followed by another 30 minutes of sitting in the nasty waiting room, her first question was, “Are you okay with that? I mean, are you happy about it?”

Stunned, I said, “Of course I am.”

“Well, you don’t seem very happy. Are you sure you’re not wanting to terminate the pregnancy?”

“Uhhh….NO! We very much want this baby.”

“Okay. Are you sure?”




I’m not exactly sure what level of enthusiasm I wasn’t registering here. I’m generally a happy person anyway, but not exactly prone to cartwheels and high kicks…

Perhaps it’s because I knew this appointment was a TOTAL waste of my time… hmmm.

Next, she guessed at my due date by counting to nine on her fingers, which I could have done (and HAD done) only a million times on my own.

After several tries, she figured that I was seven weeks along at that point, even though I was only about five based on an actual calendar…

When I asked about prenatal vitamins, she told me I would only need them in the first trimester and since I was already halfway though it (which I wasn’t), I really shouldn’t worry about it anymore… Eh! who cares?!

Oh and I saved the BEST part for last…

While discussing my medical history, I mentioned that I already have son and added that he’ll be three years old when the baby is born.

She looked up, tilted her head “compassionately” and said, “Well… you know, you can’t always plan these things. Sometimes we just get surprised, but I’m sure you’ll do fine. At least you still have your options.”

What? Seriously, WHAT? !



Filed under Family, National Healthcare

11 responses to “Do You Have An Abortion Quota or Is This Just Prenatal Care in the UK?

  1. Wow~ is she sure she wants to be a doctor? See, it’s not a bad thing that you are moving back to the US.

  2. That is bizarre to say the least. Of course, here most people don’t know what an obstetrician is because they only ever see a midwife for “specialist” care…

  3. That is the oddest thing I’ve … oh hang on, you were talking to a doctor, right, I get it. See, I have a theory about doctors, and it isn’t very nice, but it does give me the needed push to talk to them the way they talk to me, which is fun here in Italy where they are used to being treated like Gods! Enjoy your pregnancy, despite the kooky doctor.

  4. Peter Bond

    Sounds like a horrible experience at the hands of a horrible doctor. If you were not going back I’d change doctor straight away.

    Still the UK must be doing something right in terms of prenatal and infant care. Our infant mortality rate is still shocking compared to the UK (and most of Europe).

    Very best wishes

  5. WOW!!!! That is just crazy. Maybe it is the UKs lack of controversy with abortion (ala Roe v. Wade) that makes it seem to not be a big deal or less sensitive? I’m sure they have controversy but I have always assumed it is a little less dynamic than we Americans tend to get on issues.

  6. byjane

    I think your doctor was projecting a tad, just a wee bit–as in she had just had an abortion or she had just had a second child or she was just going ’round the bend. She needs a little talk therapy. Do the Brits do talk therapy? No, I think they just drink.

  7. Hey! congrats on the baby!

    That doctor sounds like a real winner. maybe she does abortions on the side ,for some extra money.

    BTW, do you remember what you have to do to get your national health number?
    I seriously need to see a doctor. i don’t care if it’s Dr. Frankenstein.In the midst of my cat trauma…i am also still afflicted with that awesome boil.
    Could it get any better? LOL

  8. Wow! That’s a really weird doctor. Glad you’ll be coming back stateside and hopefully find a good OB/GYN here. BTW, can you buy prenatal vitamins at any of the stores there without a prescription? I know they sell a version at GNC and Trader Joe’s.

  9. OH, honey…that doc needs a long walk off a short pier.
    Congrats anyhow…these things happen when you least expect them…but those are always life’s greatest joy’s….
    don’t forget to look me up when you are in the area. We are settled on the Monterey peninsula now…anything we can do to support you…just holler.

  10. > Of course, here most people don’t know what an obstetrician is because they only ever see a midwife

    Wrong. I don’t know what evidence NFAH has for this. She needs to prove that ‘most people don’t know what an obstetrician is’.

    In the UK pregnancy and childbirth is considered to be a natural thing, not an illness or abnormal medical condition. Gynaecologists and obstetricians will only be brought in if there appears that there are — or will — be problems.

    I would suggest that in the USA it is to advantage of expensive medical specialties like obs/gyn to pretend that pregnancy is dangerous. The US healthcare industry can separate a lot of money from its customers. In the UK, the economic imperative — in contrast — of ‘socialized’ medicine, is obviously different: don’t do stuff which in general is not necessary; let’s channel funds towards those who genuinely have a serious medical condition.

    Is the UK’s a bad approach? Peter Bond above says that infant mortality in the UK is not so bad as it is in the US, and I have seen statistics which also suggest this.

    Please may I congratulate you on your pregnancy? I am so sorry that you had a horrible time with your doctor. Is it possible that she misread the ‘body language’ about your natural anxiety about your pregnancy? If you had been genuinely distressed about the fact of being pregnant, then you might have been truly relieved by her matter-of-fact approach. However, that was not the case, and her consulting style was inappropiate. Still, we all make mistakes …

  11. You know, silly bill, you need to tell me you’re posting more here than the other place. I’ve been wondering where you were. And, lo and behold you’re pregnant! Congrats, honey!

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