If you have a baby on the way, or you’re planning a pregnancy in the near future, one of your most important choices is choosing a quality, competent obstetrician/gynecologist, or OB-GYN.
Pregnancy is a magical and life-changing event, but it can also be stressful as you make plans for your new addition’s birth. But, by choosing the right care providers and having a thorough pregnancy plan, you can avoid a great deal of unnecessary and unhealthy stress. These care providers will guide you from the first days of your pregnancy until your child’s birth. They’ll also follow up after birth to make sure that mom is happy and healthy.
Here are some considerations for selecting expert care providers.
Chances are you have any friends, family members or co-workers with growing families. They’ll usually be happy to share their experiences with you and recommend an OB-GYN for you to use — or one to avoid.
Experience and training are obviously the most important aspects of choosing any medical professional, but personal references can give you other insights, too. The doctor should have a personality and bedside manner that makes you feel comfortable asking questions, and they should be able to communicate with you clearly and completely.
Getting these insights from new mothers will help you know what to expect from different OB-GYNs in your area.
Check Your Insurance
Another important consideration is which doctors and hospitals are covered by your insurance plan.
Your ability to shop for doctors will vary widely depending on your particular policy. Some insurance plans have a large network of OB-GYNs to pick from, but others may only give you one or two local choices unless you’re willing to pay higher — and in some cases, dramatically higher — out-of-network fees to pick a different doctor.
For most people, choosing an in-network provider is critical, so check with your insurance company early in the process.
For some expecting mothers, the location of their birth is a major consideration. If you have a particular hospital or birthing center in mind for your delivery, make sure your OB-GYN is authorized to work there.
Most obstetricians have admitting privileges to just one hospital, so picking your OB-GYN means you’ll be choosing the place you’ll be giving birth, too. Look carefully into the services your doctor’s hospital provides to make sure it meets your expectations.
Because every delivery is different — often happening at unexpected times and occasionally with complications that can’t be predicted — it’s hard to know what your delivery will be like with any precision.
The OB-GYN who delivers your baby, for example, may not be the one who cares for you during the pregnancy. There’s no way of knowing whether your OB-GYN will be the one on call when you go into labor.
That’s an important question to ask, though, and the answer will often depend on how large the OB-GYN’s practice is. For a small practice, with only one or two doctors, you’ll be very likely to know the doctor who delivers your baby. But, even if you choose an individual practitioner who typically personally attends your delivery, ask about their backup plan if they happen to be sick, on vacation or busy with another patient in labor at the same time your baby is coming. You should know what to expect.
In the end, all these factors should come together to make you comfortable and happy about your decision. Asking lots of questions and picking a great OB-GYN will help make sure you have a happy and healthy childbirth experience.