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 mother can take in her pregnancy. 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 baby, you don’t always have to stick with them. You may want to change practices completely or find a midwife instead. Whatever you choose to do, consider looking for these five things when choosing your OB.
Most OB’s should be able to tell you their success rates: this means 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, be sure to 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 actually 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 want to consider going with a midwife. If you are straight to the point and want a doctor who is focused solely on your care, a mainstream OB 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 don’t have any availability until six months from now. It’s super frustrating, but for pregnant women, this can be a huge problem. When you go to choose an OB, ask them about their availability. Is it hard to make an appointment? How easy is it for me to contact my actual 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 you this is a possibility 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, and if you choose them, that automatically becomes yours. 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 opt to deliver in a birth center or even at home—if that is the case, make sure your OB, midwife, or birthing coach is not only aware of this but is available to be there.
What Other’s 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 when it comes to your OBGYN, you should listen. Read reviews online and ask around your area to see what doctor they go to and the experience they had. You may find a red flag from a personal account for a doctor you were strongly considering, or hear a bunch of great things about a doctor at the bottom of your list. Be open to everyone’s opinions, but in the end, remember it is your choice.