Whether you are already pregnant or planning to become pregnant, having a good OB-GYN in place is one of the first and most important steps a new mom can take. If you have a bad experience with your doctor, it can lead to an unhappy pregnancy—and no one wants that! You probably already have a gynecologist for your yearly pap smear or birth control needs, but when it comes to your baby, you don’t always have to stick with them. You may want to get a new OB-GYN or find a midwife instead. Whatever you choose to do, consider these five things when choosing your OB-GYN.
5 Things to Consider When Choosing an OB-GYN
Most OB-GYNs should be able to tell you their success rates: how many C-sections they have performed and how many healthy babies they have delivered during their years of practice. You should also ask about their C-section rate. And while many things that occur during pregnancy and birth are out of a doctor’s control, these statistics should help guide you if choosing between two different doctors. If you have a medical condition that may affect your pregnancy, ask if they have any experience with women in similar situations. If they don’t, it may be best to find a doctor who does to avoid any potential complications.
A Personality Fit
Credentials are important, but just as important is whether or not you like the doctor. All doctors are different and handle situations differently—just like every patient! If you are looking for someone warm, gentle, and caring, you may consider going with a midwife. If you are straight to the point and want a doctor focused solely on your care, a mainstream OB-GYN is probably your best fit. But either way, make sure you meet with the doctor before you make a final decision. You will be spending a lot of time with them during your pregnancy, so it’s important you don’t mind their company.
We’ve all been there: you call your doctor’s office to make an appointment and are told they have no availability until six months from now. This is super frustrating in general, but this can be a big problem for pregnant women. When you go to choose an OB-GYN, ask them about their availability. Is it hard to make an appointment? How easily can I contact my doctor if I have an issue or even a simple question about my pregnancy? You want to feel that you can contact them at any time, for any reason, so be sure this is possible before making a decision.
The Hospital They Attend
Are you set on a certain hospital in your area to deliver your baby? Make sure your doctor delivers there. Most doctors only deliver at one hospital, so if you choose them, that automatically becomes your hospital to give birth. If the hospital is a big concern for you, consider taking a tour of the birthing centers in your town, and when you find one you like the best, ask for a list of the doctors who deliver there and choose that way. Some women may also want to have a home birth—if this is your case, make sure your OB-GYN, midwife, or doula is aware of this and available to be there.
What Others Say
During pregnancy, you will hear a lot of unsolicited advice from new mothers, older mothers, and even never-before-been-a-mothers. Most of it you can push to the side, but you should listen when it comes to your OB-GYN. Read reviews online and ask around your area to see what doctors they go to and the experience they had. You may find a red flag from a personal account for an OB-GYN you are strongly considering or hear many great things about one at the bottom of your list. Be open to everyone’s opinions, but in the end, remember it is your choice.