Eight Things Every Pregnant Woman Needs to Consider When Choosing an OB/GYN
She’s having a baby! No, I’m not talking about the 1980s movie with Kevin Bacon. I’m talking about you! And the time has come to choose an OB/GYN. You know, the man or woman who will be elbow deep in your lady bits catching the human you’ve created. It’s kind of a big deal. So how do you choose the right person? Here are a few tips.
- Is it important to you that your OB/GYN be female? Some women don’t care and are more concerned with credentials, bedside manner, location, etc. I personally wanted a woman who physically understood the perils of pregnancy, labor and delivery to be with me every step of the way. It was a bit easier to bring up my fear of an episiotomy to a person who knew exactly why that concept was so terrifying.
- Are you more traditional? Or do you like to follow the latest birthing trend? I’m a medicine-science-nothing-funky kind of gal. Doctors. Nurses. Epidurals. Hospitals. That’s my list. So I chose an OB/GYN that fit with my personality and the type of delivery I was hoping for. Maybe you’re different. Have you have hired a professional photographer to capture every moment? Would you like to have a doula there, or are you hoping to birth your baby in a tub? Make sure to find an OB/GYN who supports you in your choices.
- What type of bedside manner do you hope for? My first OB/GYN was a talker, and it drove me crazy. I was so nervous and had a million questions, so hearing about her son’s science project was bothersome to me. My second OB/GYN was a bit more blunt and got straight to the point, which I liked. Other women want someone soft and nurturing who will help ease their nerves. Hopefully, meeting with your OB/GYN for the first few appointments will help you determine whether he/she is the right fit.
- Most women go into this experience with a “birth plan.” While we know nothing in life is guaranteed, make sure to go over your plan with your OB/GYN to see whether you are on the same page. If you are 110 percent committed to a drug-free birth, ensure you’re choosing someone who understands that. Read up on OB/GYNs in your area and ask around. Some doctors are more likely to suggest drug interventions and c-sections. Others will let a mother labor much longer. Ask questions. Do your research. Set yourself up for the best possible experience by aligning yourself with an OB/GYN with whom you are comfortable.
- Also, what are your beliefs on breastfeeding and circumcision? Some OB/GYNs are very relaxed and leave these choices completely up to Mom and Dad. Others are passionate and only support breastfeeding or are completely for or against circumcision. Know where you stand and find someone who aligns with your beliefs.
- Do you have special circumstances? Are you hoping for a VBAC? Have you had a high-risk pregnancy? Have you had complications in labor and delivery before? If so, you absolutely should communicate this information to your OB/GYN and ensure that he/she is prepared to handle your situation. You might want a specialist or someone more experienced in high-risk births. Doctors are usually assigned to or have privileges only at certain hospitals. If you need a hospital with a NICU, ensure you choose an OB/GYN who can deliver there. Also, if you want a hospital within a certain distance of your house, work, etc., that could impact the doctor you choose.
- Ask about the OB/GYN’s hours or on-call schedule. Many doctors work in a group, so chances are your OB/GYN may not be on call the night you deliver. This means you’ll have a different doctor than the one you’ve been working with all these months. Other OB/GYNs are committed to always delivering the babies of their own patients. Make sure you know his/her availability before going forward so you are not faced with shock and disappointment when you are dilated to 10 cm and someone else walks in to tell you to push.
- Finally, there’s that pesky thing called insurance. Check with your carrier before choosing an OB/GYN and hospital. That hospital bill is not something you’ll want to face on your own!
Good luck, Mama. Don’t worry, you’ll find the right person to help you bring that new bundle of love into this world.
As always, please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns.
Quiz (True or False):
- All OB/GYNs support formula feeding. FALSE
- All OB/GYNs support VBACs. FALSE
- OB/GYNs are only allowed to deliver at the hospital(s) where they have privileges. TRUE
- You could choose an OB/GYN who does not accept your insurance, so make sure to check first. TRUE
- All OB/GYNs are equally experienced in dealing with high-risk pregnancies. FALSE
- It’s a good idea to discuss your birth plan with your OB/GYN to see whether you are on the same page. TRUE
- Regardless of who you choose, your OB/GYN will deliver your baby no matter what. FALSE
- Women should always choose a female OB/GYN. FALSE
Olathe mom Karen Johnson has three children, ages 8, 6 and 4. She writes at The21stCenturySAHM.com.