One of the first, of many, decisions you will make once finding out you are pregnant and becoming a parent, is choosing the right OB doctor for you. It is often overlooked as one of the more important decisions you can make, as we are used to not needing to see a doctor unless something is wrong. However, with pregnancy, you see your doctor quite often, every month for the first few months, then every other week, in the middle of your pregnancy and then every week towards the end of your pregnancy. So it's important to choose a doctor that you not only know and like, but trust!
Finding an obstetrician is an important first step to take to ensure the best prenatal care for you and your baby, whether you know you are going to try to conceive or you are newly pregnant. It is important to not go into this process blindly, but to instead talk to family and friends who have had babies of their own for recommendations. You can also visit the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' (ACOG) website to find an OB/GYN in your area. There are many things to consider when choosing an OB. So we have compiled a list of some of the more important things to consider when making the right decision for you and your family.
Think about whether your prefer a male or a female physician. This is an easy question to ask yourself or your partner at the beginning of the process. It also cuts down many candidates based on the sex you prefer to provide care for you and your growing family.
While searching potential candidates, be sure to look at what insurance their practice accepts. Whether the OB is in or out of your "network" for insurance will determine what your co-pay/fees per visit will be.
If English is not your primary language, you can search OBs for those who do speak your primary language. This will be hugely beneficial to you, as it’s important that you completely understand the care that you and your baby will be receiving.
Consider what hospital your doctor is affiliated with in order to know where you will be delivering your baby. If you have a chronic illness or prior complications from a previous delivery, you may be cared for by a doctor who specializes in Maternal Fetal Medicine. If this is the case, it may be important to you to ensure you are delivering at a hospital with a level III NICU. This means that they have the expertise and equipment to care for a baby delivered early or to a mother with medical complications. Even if you do not have a chronic illness or history of a complicated pregnancy and/or delivery, delivering at a hospital with a level III NICU may still be important to you.
Find out how many OB doctors are in a provider’s practice. You’ll want to know this because you may not be able to control which doctor is on call at the time of your delivery. While we give patients a due date, we cannot control when the baby will decide to arrive! Make sure you choose a practice where you also feel comfortable and like other members of the team (some offices have a "Meet the Doctors Night" where you can go in and meet all members of the practice so their faces are familiar).
Consider where their practice is located - choosing a hospital close to home may be important, since you will see your OB monthly in the beginning of your pregnancy and, by the end, weekly. So it may be beneficial to you to choose a doctor that you easily get to and from their office, from either work or your home. It is also helpful to consider if the office provides easily accessible parking options that are free and/or affordable.
A good OB will take the time to sit with you on your first prenatal visit and get to know you and your partner. This is a great time to make sure their style and perspective about issues that are important to you are in line with your own beliefs. Some ways to know if an OB is a good fit for you may be if you felt comfortable during the visit, and if all of your questions were answered, and the answers provided were clear, competent and complete. If you feel rushed or do not feel like your personalities click well after a first visit, it is okay to switch doctors. You are going to spend the next 40 weeks or more with them, so it’s important you choose someone who makes your feel comfortable and well cared for.