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16+4 Weeks Pregnant; Experience at NUH O&G

Today I am 16+4 weeks pregnant with baby Dino. What an experience it's been thus far. It still feels very surreal that I am married and pregnant, and there are just so many new things I'm learning about pregnancy everyday that sometimes I wonder if I'll be able to cope. I don't think I have coped well so far, what with the awful first trimester and the gaining of weight (I've put on nearly 8 kgs). But at the end of the day I am still super psyched to welcome the arrival of my firstborn, and I am already looking forward to Sept :)

Just thought I'd share my experience at NUH O&G so far. Overall it hasn't been that much of a pleasant experience for the husband and I. First of all the waiting times are crazy, and it doesn't even matter if you're scheduled for an appointment at 9.30 am because you'll have to wait at least two hours to see the doc anyway. Not sure if it's because of our gynae (we were assigned Dr Vanaja, a senior consultant, and did not go through the hassle of changing gynae as we thought a senior consultant would be good enough) or just because it is a govt hospital. Nevertheless, we always have to set aside one full day everytime we go for our check up because we are never able to correctly estimate what time we'll be done with everything.

But the biggest problem for us, or rather for ME, is that NUH does not schedule regular u/s scans - which means that we do not get to see baby Dino during every visit. U/s scans are done separately at the Fetal Care Centre (FCC), not the Women's Clinic, so they are scheduled on a different day from your consultation with the gynae. So one month you'll have your scan, and you'll have to wait till the next month to see the gynae again, but when you see the gynae there is no scan done and you can only (at most) listen to the baby's heartbeat through the Doppler. From what I've read, some parents don't even get to listen to the baby's heartbeat during the consultation with the gynae. Which is so sad, and worrying, especially for first time parents who are anxious to see the growth of their baby.

As of now, at about 16 weeks as a private patient at NUH O&G, here's what I've gone through:

  • First transvaginal scan at Women's Clinic at about 7+ weeks to confirm pregnancy (consulted gynae on the same day as well);
  • First u/s scan at FCC at 11+ weeks for the first trimester screening + OSCAR test (blood samples were taken on the same day);
  • Second consultation with gynae at 15+ weeks - listened to baby's heartbeat, gynae expressed her concern as I am an alpha thalassemia minor carrier and husband was not cleared;
  • Blood test to test for thalassemia trait was ordered for husband on the same day as the second consultation (we already know that husband is not a carrier, but gynae wants black and white in the form of test results to be 100% safe);
  • Next consultation with gynae at 18+ weeks to address the thal. minor issue (no scan arranged on that day);
  • Detailed scan at 21+ weeks at FCC.
Which essentially means that we wait about 10 weeks between the first two u/s scans. Assuming you carry the baby to full term and eventually deliver at 40 weeks, you get to see the baby on the u/s screen less than four times. Like three, at most. If I'm not wrong, every other govt hospital does u/s scans during patient's every visit. Isn't that how it's supposed to be?

I believe during the next detailed scan @ 21+ weeks we would be advised to sign the package, after which there would only be another ONE or TWO u/s scans included in the package (according to NUH website, the package only includes two scans at 22nd and 32nd week). From what I read online, there are some patients who mentioned that the package includes u/s scans at 22nd, 29th and 32nd week - but this cannot be confirmed as it is not what's given on the NUH website. But anyway. Wow. I'd have thought that it was important to monitor baby's progress through u/s scans in the last trimester, but apparently not according to NUH... How do first time parents actually cope with not seeing their baby through u/s scan monthly?! I've desperately tried to look for advice/comments but apparently this isn't a topic that widely discussed. As a first time mother with horrible anxiety issues, I really, really, reaaallllyy would like to see my baby at least once a month in the first two trimesters, and of course much more frequently in the last trimester. No idea how to work around it - can I actually request for more u/s scan and pay more for it? Or...?! We have pretty much decided to deliver at NUH after considering several factors, but this is a huge problem for me right now and it's affecting me so much. It's gotten so bad that I've even thought about just visiting any private Women's Clinic just to do a scan to assure myself and to make sure everything's fine with the baby, but how do I go about doing it? Can I just call any Women's Clinic and request for that, without choosing to deliver with their gynae or without the intention of signing a package with them? This is driving me mad. I haven't personally spoken to anyone who's given birth at NUH yet, but it's pretty difficult for me to accept this practice of theirs right now...


  1. Hi, when my wife was pregnant she was more anxious than usual but I always tell her not to worry too much. Personally I find that ultrasound is quite a waste of money because it is just a general scan because any condition will still require the relevant detailed scan or test to find out more, so I'm glad that we didn't have to do too many ultrasounds.

    For us our main focus were fetal echo scans and the down syndrome test because our baby was found to have a hole in her heart so she had a higher chance of getting down syndrome, so once the test results came back negative everything else didn't matter anymore. So I really hope that you don't have to waste money on scans that you probably don't need, just focus on the more important scan or test and save the money for more useful things.

    As for waiting times, me and my wife experienced the same thing at NUH in 2014-2015, really depends on luck but long waits was very common until it became "as expected" kind of thing, sometimes we waited for more than 3 hours, and every visit I also had to take full day leave, bring her there, bring her home, more than half a day gone.

    Anyway all the best, take it easy and take good care of yourself.

    1. Hello, thank you for your reply :) we are currently considering to transfer to KKH private instead and will be seeing the KKH gynae next week before we decide.


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