For many of you who are already pregnant, you are already going to an Ob/Gyn practice that you trust will accommodate you and your needs during your pregnancy. For some of you, you may wish to change obstetricians. And, for some of you, you might need a new obstetrician all together.
The good news is that choosing an obstetrician is not nearly as difficult as choosing your partner. But before you choose an obstetrician, there are a few questions you should ask yourself:
What kind of practice do you want?
Do you want a practice with a lot of providers or just a few? If you choose a practice with a lot of providers, know that you may not be able to choose who delivers your baby. Practices with many providers usually like their pregnant patients to meet all the providers. Conversely, if you choose a practice with few providers, you may get to know each physician better because you aren’t seeing as many as you would in a larger practice.
What kind of qualities do you want your doctor to have?
Do you like a straight-forward type of relationship, or do you prefer someone who has more of a conversational style? Some patients prefer a doctor who will “tell it like it is” while others prefer someone who will relay the information in an easy and informal manor. There is no wrong or right here, each person has different preferences.
With what hospital is your physician affiliated?
This is particularly important if you want to deliver at a specific hospital. Some patients choose the facility over the physician. If you choose the facility first, you might be able to ask for recommendations. This is often the case for women who are new to the area in which they live.
Whom do you want to deliver your baby? A midwife? Doctor? Do you want your doctor to be a DO or a MD? Do you want a doula in the room?
A midwife is a person who provides care to women during normal pregnancies. They need to call on obstetricians or other physicians if complications develop. Midwifery is a professionally regulated field.
Both MDs and DOs go through the same training, rotations and fellowships. The differences lie in their approaches to medicine. MDs traditionally practice with medicine, while DOs may include alternative therapies, treatments and approaches to medical care.
A doula is a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period. A birth doula certified by DONA International is designated by the initials CD(DONA).
What type of delivery do you want?
If you definitely want a water birth, for example, find a provider who will accommodate your requests. Know what your limitations (if any) will be by the provider or facility where you deliver.
Does the doctor have recommendations?
Find other women who go to the practice, and ask if they would recommend the practice. Ask your friends, family members or co-workers.
Choosing an obstetrician is not a difficult task if you know what you want from your pregnancy and delivery experience. Also, it’s perfectly fine to switch physicians during your pregnancy if something should arise with the practice or your provider.
You are the best judge in choosing what’s best for you. Don’t hesitate to be an advocate for the kind of care you want and deserve during this special time in your life.