An Obstetrician Gynecologist (OBGYN) is a medical doctor who has completed 5 years of specialist training. Gynecologists are experts in the area of medicine that focusses on the uterus, cervix, ovaries, vulva and vagina. We provide medical and surgical care for patients throughout the lifespan from childhood to late in life.
Obstetrics is the practice of caring for patients who are pregnant. This encompasses patients prior to pregnancy or who are dealing with infertility or pregnancy loss, patients who are pregnant, patients who are delivering, and patients who are recently post partum. Obstetricians are skilled in both vaginal and surgical deliveries and dealing with complications during labour and delivery. In some cities, such as Prince George, we usually act as consultants for your primary pregnancy care provider or provide shared care. An obstetrician is available 24 hours a day at UHNBC for urgent or emergent obstetrical concerns.
If your family doctor does not practice obstetrics, they will be able to refer you to another family physician who practices obstetrics and provides maternity care. You may also choose to contact one of the midwifery clinics to enquire there. Midwifery clinics do not require referral. If you do not have a family physician, you may have an initial visit at a walk in clinic or call the public health unit (250-565-7478) where they will be able to provide a referral to a family doctor practicing obstetrics. Once you let the public health unit know you are pregnant and need prenatal care, they will reference the prenatal registry and match you with a physician practicing primary care obstetrics.
When a referral is received, it is triaged according to urgency and then placed in the list in the order it was received. For example, patients with a complication during pregnancy or patients who have cancer would be prioritized. Less urgent concerns sometimes wait 6 months to over a year depending on the volume of referrals we have. Our office is unable to give more detailed information about the waiting list.
If you are available to attend an appointment on short or immediate notice, and wish to be placed on our cancellation list, please inform our office.
If you have already seen your OBGYN and have planned surgery, your surgical booking card and consent forms are submitted to the hospital and your surgery is triaged with other obstetrical and gynecological procedures as well as all other surgical procedures from different specialities. There is a different triaging system for emergent surgeries. This is handled by OR booking, and not our office.
We appreciate if you can arrive a few minutes early. As we are dealing with the COVID19 pandemic, we ask that you do not present to check in more than 10 minutes prior to your appointment so that we can keep people in the waiting room to a minimum.
You will be checked in and we ask that if you are new to the clinic, a demographic and history form be filled out. Your height, weight and blood pressure will be taken. Your specialist will have already reviewed the information that was available in your referral. We will take a detailed history and in many cases perform a physical exam. If you initially have a telehealth appointment, sometimes at a later date we will have you come to the office for a physical exam.
Verbal consent is obtained for a physical examination and you are allowed to withdraw your consent at any time. A chaperone is available to accompany you if you prefer. The rooms are sanitized between each patient and all reusable medical equipment is sterilized according to provincial (CPSBC) regulations. The examination steps will be explained to you. For some patients, it will be recommended to have a biopsy or pap smear sample taken. We will ask your permission to do so and explain this to you.
If you have multiple or complex gynecologic concerns, these may have to be covered over several visits. We provide recommendations for your referring care provider. Some patients will only require one visit, while others will require follow up which will be arranged by our office.
Please bring your health card, a list of your current medications and a face mask.
The physicians at our office are all members of Faculty with the University of British Columbia’s medical school and affiliated Northern Medical Program. We frequently have medical students accompanying us. Medical students may be shadowing us or may be asked to perform history taking. They are supervised for any physical exams or portion that they perform.
Residents in our office are either family practice residents on their obstetrics and gynecology rotation or are senior OBGYN residents. Residents are medical doctors that are completing their practical training pertinent to their specialty. Residency typically lasts 2- 5 years. As these trainees are further along in their medical careers, they may be asked to perform history taking and sometimes physical examinations independently. All cases are supervised and reviewed with the attending physician.
We are grateful to our patients for providing valuable teaching opportunities to these students.
You are not required to have a learner involved in any portion of your appointment. If you do not wish to have a learner observe or participate, this will be respected and will not impact your care in any way.
Our office appreciates as much warning in advance for changes to your appointment. We require at least 48 hours notice if you are no longer able to attend your scheduled appointment.
If you wish to cancel or reschedule your booked surgery please provide our office with as much notice as possible, and at least 4 weeks notice where possible.
If it is within 6 months of your last visit here, your doctor can phone or fax in a prescription renewal for you if there have been no changes in your health status and it is reasonable to continue the prescribed medication. After 6 months have elapsed or if no further follow up was planned, ongoing prescription renewals should be managed by your primary care provider, unless long term follow up arrangements have been made for you with a physician at Willow Obstetrics and Gynecology.
These services are not covered by the provincial medical services plan. One note can be provided in the case of a high risk pregnancy or for a surgical patient where we are recommending rest or recovery. Forms are charged at $40. In most cases, if a form is needing to be filled out for a long term issue, this will be better addressed and managed by your primary care provider who will be following you long term. We will advise you if this is the case. You will need to sign a release of information if a third party is requesting confidential information or documents from your medical record.
Yes you can. Please see this advice from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC.
“A full copy of the content of the medical record is available to a patient upon written request, with some rare exceptions. Specifically, a physician or surgeon is not obliged to provide information that carries the risk of causing substantial harm to the patient or another individual. The physician or surgeon may also choose not to provide copies of reports that were carried out as a third party assessment of a patient’s medical condition – i.e. an independent medical assessment associated with WorksafeBC, ICBC, pension groups, or an insurance company. The patient can, however, request copies of this information directly from the third-party assessor.”
We reserve the right to charge a fee to cover administrative and copying or printing costs for this service. For a whole chart copy or transfer the fee is $50.
Women who have an incision on their abdomen may be sent home with either staples (metal clips), sutures and / or Steri-Strips along the incision. The staples are usually removed anywhere from 3-10 days after surgery. However, sutures will dissolve by themselves and do not need to be removed. You can take the dressing off the incision 24 hours after surgery. The Steri-Strips may be removed gently 1-2 weeks after surgery or when they begin to fall off. Put a wet cloth over the strips or removing them in the shower is easiest. Clean the incision by allowing warm water to run over it while in the shower. Do not scrub or clean with soap. Afterwards, keep it dry. Avoid swimming or bathing for six weeks because we do not want the incision to be soaked.
If the incision looks red or if you notice any liquid or pus leaking from it, see your doctor to determine if there is an infection. You may require antibiotics. Your scar will continue to change over several months. Eventually, it will be flatter and fainter. There is no need to apply ointments or other substances to the incision. The area may feel more sensitive to touch which is normal. Normal sensation may take several months to return as the nerves and skin heal.
It is common to have occasional crampy pain and bloating after surgery. This is usually caused by gas building up in the intestines. The discomfort is temporary and will resolve after passing gas or having a bowel movement. This can be encouraged by walking around, peppermint tea and ginger ale. The surgery itself also contributes to pain. If the pain is not well controlled with the pain medication you have been instructed to take, please call your doctor. It is much easier to stay on top of pain by taking regular pain medication (usually Tylenol or Advil) than waiting until the pain is out of control. Avoid drinking alcohol, driving or performing other activities which require concentration while taking narcotic pain medication. Women who have had laparoscopic surgery may have shoulder pain because of the gas used to distend the abdomen during surgery. This pain will resolve in time as your body absorbs the gas. Drink lots of fluids and make sure you have enough fiber in your diet to help avoid constipation. If this does not work, you can take an over-the-counter stool softener such as Colace.
You may have some light vaginal bleeding for 1-2 weeks after surgery, depending on what surgery you had. It should not be heavy like a menstrual period. Use a panty liner or pad rather than tampons.
Avoid driving for 2-3 weeks or until you can stomp on the ground without hesitating (in order to brake safely if needed). Wait until you are no longer taking any narcotic medication and can move easily. Wear a seatbelt as usual. Avoid heavy lifting (>10 pounds), heavy housework, strenuous activity and intercourse for 6 weeks after surgery. However, it is important to walk around several times per day to prevent complications such as blood clots, pneumonia or gas pains. Usually, normal activities can be resumed 6 weeks after surgery or as instructed by your doctor. You can return to work a few days after minor surgery and 6-7 weeks after major surgery.
If you are experiencing any of the following, please call your doctor:
You will be informed of the pathology findings when the report is available. Our secretary (Kellie) will call you to book a follow-up appointment in the office after surgery.