Picking An Obstetrician
Making the RIGHT Choice!
If you are thinking of becoming pregnant, or you are already pregnant, it’s extremely important that you have access to good medical attention for you and your baby. Many studies have shown that early and sufficient medical attention is vital for you and your baby’s health and well being. If you choose to be treated by an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) and if you have a doctor who you have the utmost confidence in and feel “at ease” talking to, then your choice is an easy one. However, if you choose to be treated by a midwife or doula route, then do your homework. Acquire a midwife or doula that has plenty of experience and we suggest to you that you hold many interviews before selecting one to help you through your pregnancy.
However, if you’ve relocated to a new city or town, changed insurance plans, or don’t feel comfortable with your current medical doctor, then you may find a new one. If this the case, you should ask around about doctors, meet with a few, and choose the one you feel the most contented with.
We here at Babies Online have put together some guidelines and recommendations:
Three Pieces of Advice:
- How much?
Make sure when you make the appointment with an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) you ask the receptionist about pricing. Most doctors set aside 10 to 15 minutes for an initial consultation. If your discussion lasts longer than that (up to a half an hour), there is a chance you may be charged another fee (consultation).
- The Hospital?
During your decisions regarding an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN), you will also be deciding where you will deliver your baby. Ask questions about the hospital, like “Does it have a birth center?” or “Is it family- and child-friendly?” or “What kind of relationship does your obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) have at this hospital?”
- The Paperwork Formalities?
When the choice has been made, remember to telephone your old doctor and ask to have your medical records mailed to your new obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN). Your new OB/GYN will need access to your complete medical history.
Questions for the OB/GYN:
- Their Background:
Find out from the doctor how long he/she’s been in practice and what he/she likes best about a job as a doctor. How long will it take you to contact them in a non-emergency situation? How would you reach your doctor in an emergency?
- Group or Solo Practice:
If the doctor is in a group, ask how often you’ll see the other doctors. What percent of the doctor’s own patients does he/she deliver? If the doctor works privately, ask him/her about who you will see when they are away.
- Typical Pregnancy Care:
Ask the doctor which tests he/she routinely performs. Do you, the patient, have any concerns about one of them? If so, ask the doctor how he/she would handle those concerns. If you’re thinking of working with a midwife, talk it over with the doctor in the beginning. Is the doctor open to working with a midwife? Is she associated with a midwifery practice? Find out how experienced the doctor is with high-risk pregnancies (for example, twins or multiples, gestational diabetes or hypertension can all result in a “high-risk” classification) and what you could expect if your pregnancy becomes high-risk. Does the doctor perform vaginal births after cesareans? Finally, ask if he/she recommends that you take a childbirth class, and if so, which one.
- Labor, Delivery, Postpartum
Ask if and when the doctor (or the doctor from the practice who’s on call) typically meets a patient in labor at the hospital. If you’d like to use a doula (labor coach), see if the doctor has any suggestions. Does the doctor like working with coaches? Is there someone the doctor can recommend? Does the doctor or the practice have recommendations for labor pain? What procedures does this doctor routinely perform during labor (for example, fetal monitoring, IV’s or episiotomies). Is there any procedure you don’t want to have, and if so, what happens then? Ask what happens after your baby is born: Will you be separated? If so, for how long? Can the baby stay in your room with you? Can your partner? Are there any special services for new moms? Are there lactation consultants or other professionals available to answer special questions?
Above all do not worry about asking too many or too few questions. Don’t feel dumb or stupid about questions. Remember: the only dumb or stupid question is the one that is NOT asked. It is important to get answers, and it’s also important to give yourself the chance to figure out if this obstetrician/gynecologist’s (OB/GYN) demeanor and approach is a good match for you.
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