Picking the right obstetrician/gynecologist (OBGYN) to help you through pregnancy is one of the most important steps toward becoming a parent—after getting pregnant, of course.
These 8 tips can help you find the right OBGYN:
1) Ask neighbors and coworkers, not just your friends
You know and trust your friends. So, of course, their opinions are valuable. But your neighbors could be good sources of information because they live close by. They can tell you how easy it was to access their doctors and other helpful resources in your community.
Coworkers on the same health insurance plan as you can be especially helpful. They may provide insight on coverage with a particular obstetrician. Ask them what was covered and what you should expect to pay for out of pocket.
2) Contact your local hospital’s nurses for recommendations
Labor and delivery nurses can recommend the OBGYNs or midwives they most like to work with. They may share candid insight about what each obstetrician is like with patients. Many hospitals offer free tours of their patient rooms for new moms. Talk with the nursing staff during your visit.
3) Check your insurance coverage
For most families, choosing an OBGYN starts with what the insurance will cover. Giving birth can be expensive. Vaginal births in the U.S. cost upwards of $18,000, and the average price tag on C-sections is over $27,000, reports a 2013 study from Truven Analytics.
Be prepared to talk with your health insurance company regularly. Ask what each OBGYN visit will entail and what could be needed during your labor and delivery, like epidural anesthesia, additional ultrasounds, elective c-sections and midwife support. Then make sure all of those services are covered first. Otherwise, you’ll risk being surprised with a bill.
4) Research physicians’ certifications & outcomes
Your OBGYN should have up-to-date board certifications. You may also want to research her rate of elective C-sections and other healthcare complications. If you’re sure you want to deliver vaginally, an OBGYN who’s prone to suggest a C-section may not be a good fit.
Additionally, look for titles like FACOG, which can indicate that the physician is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The ACOG physician directory provides a directory of obstetricians in your area.
5) Consider your birthing options
Find out how your doctor views the various birthing options you’re considering. Ask about home births, water births and C-sections.
The key is to make sure the obstetrician’s preferences gel with yours.
Also, many expectant mothers prefer a private room for giving birth and recovering, but not all facilities provide this. If you are sure you want a private room, find an OBGYN affiliated with a hospital that offers your preferences.
6) Check availability
Ask any prospective doctors these questions:
- Are you easily accessible after hours in case of an emergency?
- Is another member of your team available, in case my preferred doctor is not?
- How quickly can I expect a response to phone calls and emails?
7) Meet the group
Many obstetricians work in a practice with a group of other obstetricians, and it’s difficult to predict who will be on call when you go into labor.
So, you may also want to go to an OBGYN practice that lets you meet with as many of the other OBGYNs in that practice as possible throughout your prenatal care. That way you are familiar with all of them before your delivery.
The benefit of going with multiple doctors is that the chances that at least one will be on call when it’s time for you to give birth is higher than if you choose to go with just one doctor, who may be off duty or attending other patients.
8) Make sure you’re compatible
It is very important that you get along with the doctor(s) and nurses who will be attending to you during your pregnancy and delivery. Another super important factor to consider is whether or not the OBGYN’s views on important issues about pregnancy and childbirth match up with yours.
Think about your beliefs regarding hot-button issues like circumcision, epidurals and breastfeeding. While these choices are ultimately yours, your doctor may have strong views that can influence how he or she provides care.
These tips may seem like a lot to take in, but once you start your search, they will fall into place. Just remember that knowing how to find an OBGYN brings you one step closer to peace of mind and being prepared.
Make sure you know what to look for when finding an OBGYN that’s right for you.
If you know a mom-to-be who is looking for an OBGYN, share this post with her.