Many people without urgent health care needs are content to get by without a go-to doctor, but women who become pregnant can’t afford to forego a reliable, trusted relationship with a ob/gyn. Unfortunately, time constraints demand that women find one early in the process, creating a small window of opportunity to weed out the questionable options and find that diamond in the rough.
The key to navigating this process successfully is knowing exactly what to look for in an ob/gyn. Here are some guidelines to help you in the research process.
Read patient reviews
If you want to know the type of experience you should expect from a doctor, listen to past patients. Like any other business, there can be a gap between what a doctor promises and what a doctor actually delivers in terms of care. Any doctor with a long track record is sure to have some patients that walked away unhappy, but reviews — which are abundantly available online — can give you a good sense of the general quality of service you can expect.
Nurses work alongside doctors and often have a very intimate knowledge of how doctors care for their patients. Don’t be afraid to visit a hospital and talk to the nurses working in the maternity ward to find out which doctors they recommend. Those nurses have information that won’t even be known by the patients receiving treatment from the doctors, but if a nurse recommends someone you can be sure that they hold that doctor in high regard.
Compare your birthing preferences with your doctor’s
Are you interested in a natural birth? What about a doula? Many women have very specific preferences when it comes to going through the pregnancy and birthing experience, and not all doctors will see eye-to-eye with you. Once you’ve narrowed down your list of prospective doctors, meet with them and outline all your specific interests. Doctors may be flexible on some points and rigid on others, and they may provide additional information that could sway you away from your stance on certain issues. Whatever you do, you’ll want to make sure you are on the same page with your doctor before making a commitment.
Inquire about the equipment used
With so many advancements in medical equipment over the years, expecting mothers shouldn’t assume that all doctors are operating with the same equipment. You want to be assured by any potential doctor that they are using the newest, best equipment available. It’s also important to know that TEE probe repair and other equipment maintenance is conducted on a regular basis — otherwise you risk receiving treatment from devices that are not working at their optimum levels.
No matter how much research you put into your ob/gyn search, making the final decision is always a little unnerving. It’s important to put your faith in the search process and understand that you have done all you can to find the best doctor. And don’t underestimate the importance of simply being comfortable with your doctor, putting you at ease and allowing you to focus your attention on other matters.