You're pregnant. Yay! Now, it's time to roll up your sleeves and find a very important person—your new OB/GYN. Most of us know the basic questions to ask before choosing an OB/GYN:
- Does she take my insurance?
- Is her office conveniently located?
Source: American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology
But, there are other considerations that many moms-to-be don't think about until they are well into their pregnancies—and their relationship with the OB/GYN.
Think about how hard it is to break up with your hairdresser—while she's doing your hair. Now multiply that by a million to understand how hard it is to change OBs in the middle of your pregnancy.
Ask the tough questions early in the process to make sure you choose the doctor. It's good to vet at least 3 potential OB/GYNs before making your choice.
How Do You Feel About Doulas and Midwives?
Many women today are choosing to work with midwives or doulas in addition to their OB.
If you are planning to enlist pregnancy, labor and delivery support from someone in addition to your OB, make sure she is comfortable with that.
- How have you worked with midwives or doulas in the past?
- How do you handle it when you disagree on something?
- Will you work with my doula on a birth plan?
What Is Your Take on Natural vs. Medically-Assisted Childbirth?
There's no right or wrong way to deliver your baby, but you probably have a preference for yourself.
When choosing an OB/GYN, make sure you are on the same page. If your plan is to have a natural, vaginal birth, make sure he won't pressure you to use an epidural. Watch out for comments like, “This would be easier if you would just...”
And, if you want do a vaginal delivery, make sure your doctor doesn't insist on inducing you before 39 weeks or assume you'll have a scheduled C-section.
Also talk about what will happen if things don't go as planned. If something happens during labor and delivery and you're told you need an emergency C-section, for example, you need to believe that your doctor is doing what's best for you and the baby.
On the other hand, if you have planned for a natural birth and change your mind, you need to know your OB is willing to switch gears with you.
You don't know how you will feel in the moment, but you do know that you need a supportive physician ready to do what's best for you and your baby.
Lactation, Lactation, Lactation
Ask each potential OB/GYN what kind of lactation support is available.
Experts with the American Academy of Pediatrics suggest that babies should be fed exclusively with breast milk for the first 6 months of life.
However, not all moms find that breastfeeding is a possibility. Make sure that no matter what your OB thinks, she will support your decision.
Some tests are necessary while you are pregnant, and some are not. Ask potential OB/GYNs what kinds of tests he recommends during the pregnancy and why.
Then ask what his response would be if you decided not to have some of them. Some parents-to-be want as much information as possible, and others do not.
It's important to follow your doctor's recommendations, but make sure you understand the reason behind them, too.
Will You Deliver My Baby?
Many physicians are on call for births. And if you OB/GYN you love is not on call, you may have someone else delivering your baby. It's important to ask about what you should expect.
While things can come up, you want to know that unless there's an emergency, the OB/GYN you have developed a relationship with is the same one who will be there on the big day.
Doing your research and asking the tough questions early on will give you peace of mind as you build one of the most important relationships you'll have over the next few months.