Well Woman Care

Choosing an Obstetrician

  1. Step One - This step assumes you have health insurance.
    If not go proceed to step two. You will need to gather your health insurance information. Find a list of local doctors that are covered by your health insurance.
  2. Step Two - Determine how far you are willing to travel to appointments remembering that near the end of the pregnancy you will have them every week. You can chose a doctor near home, work or school, whichever is easier for you.
  3. Step Three - Call and set up an appointment with two or three doctors.
    Attend the appointment and ask questions on policies. Ask about payment options, especially if you have no insurance. The doctor may require upfront, as you go, or after the birth. Ask about their philosophy on childbirth. Some are more natural than others, no inductions and less pain relief encouraged.
  4. Step Four - Keep notes about each doctor.
    Note how you felt, how they answered your questions and how the payment policy will affect you. The most important key is how you felt. If you were completely uncomfortable (more than the other doctors you see) then do not go back. Woman have intuition that we need to follow. If you are uncomfortable with your doctor there is a reason and you will not be happy the rest of your pregnancy.
  5. Step Five - After visiting with two or three decide if you need to see more.
    You may have already found a doctor that talked with you like you want, treats you like you expect or you just feel comfortable with. If not, make appointments with more.
  6. Step Six - After you have chosen an obstetrician, make your next appointment.
    Remember to keep all appointments as prenatal care is important to your health.
  7. Step Seven - You can always change doctors if you need to later.
    Keep your notes on each doctor you visit with so you have a starting point if you need to change doctors for any reason.

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Finding the right Obstetrician

Consider visiting several obstetricians and interviewing them before making a final decision. For example, you may want to ask each ob-gyn whether she routinely uses interventions such as IVs and continuous electronic fetal monitoring, how often and under what circumstances she would do an episiotomy, and when she thinks a cesarean section is warranted. You can't predict what your individual case will require, but you'll get an idea of the caregiver's outlook and practice patterns from her responses to these questions.

Bedside manner counts, too. Is the ob-gyn forthcoming with explanations and up to date in her thinking? Does she seem interested in you personally, or does she rarely look up from her charts? Does she seem like someone who will respect your wishes? You want a healthcare partner you feel comfortable with and can communicate with easily.

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How can I find an Obstetrician to care for me during my pregnancy?

If you see a gynecologist that you like and she's currently practicing obstetrics as well, you may want to ask her to care for you during your pregnancy, particularly if you're sure you want a doctor to attend the birth and you like the hospital where she delivers.

If you need to find an obstetrician, ask one of your healthcare providers to recommend someone. Or ask friends or relatives who have recently given birth. Childbirth educators are also a good source for referrals.

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How to choose the wrong Obstetrician

Many articles focus on how to choose the right obstetrician for your maternity care, which include choosing an obstetrician who supports your choices in and childbirth, whose philosophy of care is similar to yours and whose practice is more closely related to the maternity model instead of the medical model. However, there are quite a few reasons why you should not choose a certain obstetrician. Choosing the wrong obstetrician could not only make your pregnancy a burden, but it could also have a huge impact on your birthing experiences. Here are some of the wrong reasons to choose an obstetrician.

  1. Step One - Do not choose an obstetrician solely based on his location.
    Choosing an obstetrician for this reason sets the relationship up for immediate failure. When making this decision, you are saying that it doesn't matter what that obstetrician believes or wants to do, but convenience is more important. While it is always more convenient to see a caregiver who is close, it should not be a factor in choosing the right caregiver for you.
  2. Step Two - Do not choose an obstetrician based strictly on gender.
    If you prefer a female obstetrician over a male obstetrician, that is fine; however, you should make sure that her philosophy of care and practice matches your needs. Many people believe that a female obstetrician is more gentle and understanding, but that is not always the case. Be flexible where you need to be in order to get the best care.
  3. Step Three - Do not choose an obstetrician because your friend used him and liked him.
    You can take her recommendation into consideration, but continue to do your research. Your friend's wants and needs for her birth may have been the total opposite of what you want and need. For example, if her obstetrician encourages epidurals at 4 centimeters and you want a totally natural birth, you probably won't make a good birth team.
  4. Step Four - Do not choose your own gynecologist/obstetrician just because he has provided basic well-woman care to you since you were 18.
    Just because you are happy with his practice as a gynecologist, does not mean that you will feel supported and happy with his practice in maternity care. The best thing to do is to interview him as an obstetrician. If you see any conflict of interest or you feel his beliefs and philosophy about childcare do not match yours, you should see a different obstetrician throughout your pregnancy and resume your relationship with him for gynecological care after the baby is born.

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