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two childrenOne of the many choices you will make during your pregnancy is your Obstetrician or OB/GYN (doctor of obstetrics and gynecology).

The relationship should be comfortable and trusting. So, what is it we look for in an OB/GYN? What style of doctor will suit you and your plans for delivery? There are so many choices and guidelines dictated by medical insurance, that the process could get quite confusing.

Answering the following questions may help you decide.


1.  Do you want someone in private practice or a group?

         -   The private practitioner is wonderful because he/she is the only doctor to see you and deliver your baby. This allows for a close and consistent relationship.
         -   The group practice setting may have more hours of availability, and a team approach to care. You see all the practitioners in the group during visits throughout your pregnancy so all are familiar with your case. Then, who ever is on call will deliver your baby. For some patients, this may be the better option.

2.  Location and Admitting privileges.

           -   Is the office close to your home?
           -   Where does the doctor have admitting privileges in the hospital you plan to give birth?
           -   In the case of home deliveries: Where does the doctor have admitting privileges in the event of complications?

3.  Male or Female?

           -   Some women are more comfortable and less intimidated by female physicians.

4.  Bedside Manner and Knowledge

           choosing a doctor   It is difficult to determine a doctor’s level of knowledge; however, references from family members or friends can assist you in your choices. They can tell you how the doctor handled their situations. How the doctor handled their deliveries and how the doctor handled the patient and her concerns.

One of the best ways to determine which OB/GYN is right for you is to interview. After the basics are predetermined in your mind, call the offices listed by your insurance companies. An office that has no time to talk over the phone is obviously too busy to handle another patient.


Below are some questions for the office staff:

   -   What are your office hours?
   -   How do you handle after hour emergencies?
   -   When the doctor is away, who is on call?
   -   My insurance is ______ . Do you have space for additional patients?
   -   Which hospitals does the doctor have admitting privileges?
   -   I would like ________type of birth. Is the doctor an advocate?
   -   Does your practice have a Nurse/Midwife?

After you have narrowed down you selections by interviewing the office staff, it’s time to interview the Obstetricians. Make an appointment to speak with the doctor face to face. If this is impossible due to your work schedule, schedule telephone time. Decide which health issues are important to you. How do you feel about these issues that are important to me?


Below are some suggested questions for the Doctor:

   -   What is your policy on induction?
   -   When do you recommend induction?
   -   How many of your patients had natural childbirth without the assistance of medications?
   -   Do you usually order medications, intravenous drip (IV), enemas, and monitors or do you judge each situation individually?
   -   Do you usually do an episiotomy?
   -   Do you encourage different positions during the second stage of labor?
   -   Can I put the baby to the breast on the delivery table?
   -   Will you wait for the umbilical cord to stop pulsating before clamping?
   -   Can mother lift the baby out herself if she likes?
   -   Can my family be in the delivery room with me?
   -   Do you use forceps during deliveries?
   -   Under what circumstances do you require a cesarean section?
   -   I have ________medical condition. Have you had patients with this disorder?
   -   If the baby requires special care, which hospital (under my insurance plan) has a level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit?
   -   (FOR MULTIPLE BIRTH PREGNANCIES) Have you delivered mulitple births in the past year? How many? How many were cesarean?
   -   What is your policy for after hour emergencies?

The last step in this process is to evaluate the information you have received and determine how each meeting felt. Were you at ease talking to the doctor? Did you feel free to express your feelings? Did you feel comfortable asking questions?

Finally, it is possible to do a background check with the state medical licensing board. You will find the telephone number under state listings in the phone book.



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Choosing an OB/GYN


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