As soon as you become pregnant (or even before), the million-dollar question is how you find an OB/GYN to deliver your baby. What should you be looking for in a physician? The answer to this is different for each woman.
Start your search by asking your friends, relatives or family doctor for recommendations. Many hospitals have a referral line that can help get you find the right doc. Take into consideration where you live and how far the office is from your house.
When you develop a short list of possibilities, I suggest that you schedule “meet and greet” appointments that give you a chance to ask some questions and get acquainted.
So what’ll you ask? Make a list before you go. In the moment, when you’re in a medical office and perhaps feeling a little nervous, you are likely to forget some of the questions that seemed so unforgettable when you were comfortable at home.
Your questions should cover the things that are important to you about the childbirth experience. You want to get a feel for the philosophy and approach that each doctor takes. Here are some examples:
- How do you feel about walking in early labor?
- Can I have my mother in the delivery room?
- Can I use a birthing ball for some of my labor?
- How do you feel about a birth plan?
- Is an epidural available 24 hours per day?
- If I do not want an epidural, will there be support for natural childbirth?
- Can I nurse my baby right after delivery?
- Are there lactation consultants to help me with breastfeeding?
- How do I get a hold of you after hours?
- What is the nursery situation at the hospital where you deliver?
- Is there NICU for babies who need special care? (If you are considered high risk, any physician would want you to deliver at a hospital with a NICU, which will have maternal fetal specialists on call 24/7.)
Is your doctor in a group practice?
Many times an OB/GYN is part of a group practice that shares call. The benefit of this is that no doctor can be up and delivering babies 24/7. Most of the time, doctors are in practice with physicians who practice like they do. I suggest that you meet a few of the different physicians in the group so that if you go into labor on a day that your doctor is not on call, you are at least acquainted with some of the other physicians.
Many group practices also have a group of RNs who are available to answer questions throughout a given workday. In addition, many of the practices have you come in for your initial visit with the nurse to cover all of the details about visits, schedules and testing that will happen during your pregnancy. Education is key during pregnancy!
If your doctor is in practice alone, then who takes call when he or she is away?
Make sure you ask this question if you’re talking to a solo practitioner. The doc will have an agreement with another group of physicians or one doctor to share call in the event that he or she is gone. Sometimes you can go meet the other physician.
Can I deliver early so I can have the doctor I like the best?
We want your baby to stay inside your uterus for at least 39 weeks. This is best for baby! There are no inductions for convenience. We have found out that inducing earlier is not good for newborns.
The only reason an induction can be scheduled is a health concern for mom or baby.
We want you to have a great birthing experience. You have so many choices, and you’ll find that there are many different ways of doing things during labor and delivery. We try to accommodate every new mom to ensure you have a wonderful childbirth experience.
If you have questions about finding a doc — or any other health concern — you can call 317-338-4-HER to talk to a registered nurse or use this form to talk to me directly.