Finding the right doctor to manage your care during pregnancy can be difficult. Not all gynecologists are obstetricians, so your usual doc might not be able to keep you on a patient as your care and needs evolve. But this is an important decision, and many women don't feel comfortable just choosing a name out of a directory! If you're looking for an OB in preparation of starting a family, or are looking to change doctors because you're current one isn't cutting it, we have some information you might find helpful.
Check your insurance before choosing a new doctor
There's nothing worse than getting OB recommendations from friends, only to find out that doctor is not in your coverage network. If you have a PPO, you want to make sure to find an in-network doctor to minimize your out-of-pocket costs. Also, double-check which hospitals or birthing centers are in-network with your insurance plan; if the doctor you choose doesn't have privileges at that hospital, or works out of an out-of-network facility, you might be hit with some unexpected medical bills.
Consider your health history
If you know you are going to have a high-risk pregnancy, or are at risk for becoming high-risk because of preexisting medical conditions, you want to make sure you choose a doctor who regularly deals with high-risk pregnancies. Some OB's work in practices that have perinatologists and neonatologists on staff, which can be beneficial and give you peace of mind. Consider looking for a doctor within a maternal-fetal medicine practice.
Decide on the qualities you want in your doctor
For some women, a good bedside manner is the most important thing they look for in an OB. For others, having a doctor who is good under pressure and has a no-nonsense demeanor is more important. You also might be looking for a doctor who is more hands-ff and doesn't automatically jump to interventions during the labor and delivery process. Sit down and make a list of what you want in your doctor, and use that as a blueprint as you're interviewing doctors.
Schedule interviews with potential doctors
This one is so important! Most doctors have time set aside in their clinical schedule each week to meet and talk to new and potential patients. Scheduling an interview with a doctor gives you a chance to ask your questions, visit and check out the office, and also get a feel for the office staff and nurses (you'll be seeing a lot of them, so it's important to like them!). Be prepared with a list of questions before you head in - ask about their delivery protocols, if another doctor will ever be on-call, and how they handle emergencies during labor and delivery. If a doctor refuses to meet for an interview, then they aren't the doctor for you.
Ask for recommendations from friends
If you have friends who've had babies and rave about their OB, ask them for a name and number! Firsthand, personal experiences are the best indicator you can get for what a doctor is like. We take our friends' advice on everything from what to wear to who to date, so it makes sense that we'd tap that amazing resource when it comes to such an important decision.