Why More Medicine Doesn’t Always Equal Better Medicine | Fit Pregnancy

Why More Medicine Doesn’t Always Equal Better Medicine

Sometimes less is more when it comes to prenatal testing and maternity healthcare.


There was nothing wrong with Lisa or her baby. Lisa had what I like to call a faux-complication. In truth, there’s no reason in the world why she needed that “quick ultrasound.” There was nothing wrong with her that needed checking out. Babies are small at six months and they flip and swim all over the place at that age.

If Lisa’s doc took another quick peek half an hour later, he’d probably find her kiddo in some other position.  By practicing “more medicine” as in “just a quick peek” (aka an unnecessary ultrasound that her doctor billed to Lisa’s insurance), Lisa’s doctor led her to believe she had a potentially big problem that will require additional follow-up ultrasounds and possibly a c-section.

In truth, Lisa needed none of that, and since her insurance only pays a portion of her medical bills, the price of Lisa’s prenatal care and childbirth services just jumped to a much higher bracket. 

Should Lisa have known better than to agree to that ultrasound? I hate to place the responsibility on the patient’s shoulders, especially when the doctor knows better and the patient is young, pregnant and vulnerable, but the truth is that every patient should know better by now. We all need to be savvy medical consumers and approach our healthcare like smart shoppers. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it--no matter how cute your baby looks on the ultrasound screen.

When it comes to prenatal care and childbirth, we need to utilize a simpler, more common sense, “less is more” attitude. Save the extra interventions for the real complications. Right now, midwives are the experts in this type of low-intervention prenatal care because they’re trained to see patients, pregnancy and childbirth as normal physiologic processes. Doctors are trained to see the complications. And far too often, if they don’t see any on the surface, they go looking for trouble. It’s time for doctors and patients alike to start using a different approach, namely:  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  

Jeanne Faulkner, R.N., lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and five children. Got a question for Jeanne? E-mail it to jeanne@jeannefaulkner.com.

This Fit Pregnancy blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice from your physician. Before initiating any exercise program, diet or treatment provided by Fit Pregnancy, you should seek medical advice from your primary caregiver.


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