The Wellbeing Services County of Ostrobothnia performs ultrasound examinations during pregnancy both at Vaasa Central Hospital and at the hospital in Pietarsaari. For almost three years, investments have been made in a local clinic in Pietarsaari, where midwives perform ultrasound examinations. When Kruunupy joined the Wellbeing Services County of Ostrobothnia at the turn of the year, more times were added for ultrasound examinations.
– In the past, we midwives performed examinations two days a week here in Pietarsaari, now we do it three days a week, says midwife Carita Backman.
– I consult a doctor if I discover anything abnormal in the ultrasound examination, and further examinations can then be carried out at Vaasa Central Hospital.
Backman is one of four midwives performing examinations at both Pietarsaari and Vaasa. She has been doing ultrasound examinations since 2006 and works together with her colleagues in Pietarsaari on a regular basis.
The same ultrasound examinations are performed in Vaasa and Jakobstad in Weeks 12 and 20 of pregnancy, but the information is still entered into different patient data systems for the time being. From the perspective of the expectant mother, this is of no consequence, since all necessary information is recorded into the consultation card, the electronic pregnancy monitoring system and the Kanta service. The maternity hospital also receives the necessary information from these sources.
Popular local clinic
The midwife has time to perform an ultrasound examination on approximately eight mothers during one working day.
– The mothers like it when they get to see a midwife. Sometimes they dare to ask us more things than they would ask the doctors, says Backman.
– The service has only received positive feedback, continues Marika Holm, a midwife working at the maternity clinic in Pietarsaari.
The maternity and child health clinics cannot control the number of expectant mothers, but they do strive to ensure that everyone always gets an appointment when needed.
– Many mothers think that it is still too early to contact the child healthcare service during the first trimester of pregnancy, but yes, it is worth contacting the service in time. Then we can better arrange the time for the ultrasound of the 12th week of pregnancy, Holm encourages.
– Doctors also perform ultrasound examinations during the12th and 20th week if there are no free appointments for the midwives, Backman continues.
You can choose the maternity hospital
Midwives who perform ultrasound examinations are expected to have separate training for this.
– In many hospitals in Finland, performing ultrasound examinations during pregnancy is a task that has been transferred to midwives. Midwives do very precise work, which also allows the doctors to focus on other tasks, says coordinating ward nurse Kaisa Muikku.
The majority of expectant mothers living in the northern part of the region have an ultrasound examination in Pietarsaari, but still give birth in Kokkola. The hope is that they would start to come to give birth in Vaasa.
– This is a geographical issue because they have a longer way to Vaasa than to Kokkola. Last year, a few more births came to Vaasa from the northern part of the region. The number has thus increased slightly, and we hope that this will continue to increase, says Muikku.
What happens during ultrasound examinations when pregnant, Midwife Carita Backman?
At 12 weeks of pregnancy
“We make sure that a live foetus is growing in the womb – or even two. We check the heartbeat, measure the foetus and check that the size and development of the foetus corresponds to the duration of the pregnancy. If the mother wishes, she can participate in screening for chromosomal abnormalities. Parents get to take home the first pictures of their future child.”
At 20 weeks of pregnancy
“In a structural ultrasound examination, the entire foetus is checked from head to toe, and it is ensured that the growth corresponds to the duration of the pregnancy. We check all the structures of the foetus. If abnormalities are detected, we consult a doctor, and we can refer the expectant mother to the right place for treatment at an early stage. We also check the position of the placenta.”
In addition, the doctor will perform additional ultrasound examinations if there is a need to monitor, for example, a twin pregnancy, the position of the placenta, the kidney function of the foetus or if the mother has gestational diabetes.