Pregnancy: Things To Consider When Choosing An Ob/Gyn

When you become pregnant, one of the most important decisions you will make is choosing your obstetrician. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing your obstetrician or ob/gyn.

When you become pregnant, you will be making phone calls to everybody in your address book to let them in on the good news. However, one of the most important calls you will need to make is to an obstetrician who will provide you with guidance and comfort through your pregnancy, delivery and beyond. Choosing the right obstetrician is extremely vital. Your body and your baby will be going through drastic changes and you want a doctor who can answer your questions and help gently guide you and your partner throughout the pregnancy. Ask for recommendations for an obstetrician from your family physician, your gynecologist, your family and friends. You do not have to stick with the first obstetrician you meet, so be prepared to have a list of questions ready to ask him/her during your initial visit. Here are some important items to keep in mind.

* One of the most vital items you will want to discuss is what you are expecting out of the eventual labor and delivery. If you want to have an alternative delivery (for example, a water birth), be sure to ask your obstetrician if this is a possibility. If you know you will want to be medicated during the labor and delivery, ask for his/her opinion on this subject matter. You do not want to stick with an obstetrician who will berate you for not having a natural childbirth. Other items to discuss are your obstetrician's rules for the delivery room. You may want to have several people present at your delivery. Would he/she allow this?

* After attending medical school and finishing up their internships, obstetricians may choose to take an examination (both written and oral) that is given by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology in order to become board certified. If this is important to you, be sure to ask if your obstetrician is board certified.

* You may want to find out how long your physician has practiced, so you can see what type of experience he/she has had. Another way to ask about experience is to find out how many babies he/she has delivered.

* Some obstetricians work in their own solo practice, while others work in a group practice with several other obstetricians. When choosing an obstetrician coming from a group practice, it is not uncommon for you, the patient, to visit a different obstetrician on each prenatal visit. Also, when it comes time to deliver, if your personal obstetrician is not on call, you may get a different obstetrician from the group practice to deliver your baby. Ask your obstetrician how he/she handles these types of situations and if you will be visiting him/her on each prenatal visit.

* Make sure that your insurance is accepted at your obstetrician's office. It would not be good to find out that you will have to pay higher co-payments and larger percentages of tests performed because he/she is out of your insurance network.

* You need to find out which hospital(s) your obstetrician is associated with, so you know where your baby will be delivered. Is the hospital too far from your house? Would it be inconvenient to get to? Does the hospital have modern facilities? These are all questions you need to find answers to before committing to a certain obstetrician.

* Find out how many prenatal visits your obstetrician will recommend and what types of tests he/she will perform.

* Probably one of the most important factors in choosing an obstetrician is compatibility. Do you have a good rapport with him/her? Do you feel comfortable asking questions? Does your obstetrician make you feel as if you are truly important or as if you are just merely another patient?

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