Congrats – You’re Pregnant! … Now What?
When I learned I was pregnant with my first child I was surprised and then excited and then overwhelmed. I had figured out how to take a pregnancy test, but was clueless about pregnancy care and finding an obstetrician.
I had only lived in Grand Rapids a few years and didn’t know any OB’s, nor had any of my local friends had kids yet, so I didn’t have anyone to ask for a referral.
I still don’t remember how I found my OB office. I didn’t vet them, but thankfully they were a great practice. Looking back, though, I should have asked a few more questions. The OB that I had signed up with was never the doc I saw for appointments, nor did she deliver my baby.
I kind of went in blind with the whole practice!
Asking Questions is OK
Finding an OBGYN to guide you through the pregnancy and childbirth journey is an important step. We spoke with Metro Health about finding an obstetrician and they had some great tips.
“When choosing an obstetrician, it’s about more than just credentials,” advises Dr. Stephanie Getz, Metro Health – University of Michigan Health OB/GYN.
“You want to know that your physician understands your values, is willing to collaborate on your birth plan and has an office that’s convenient for each visit until your bundle of joy arrives,” she continues.
To determine if a prospective care provider is a good fit for you, then, it’s essential that you ask about details important to you.
10 Things to Ask a Prospective OBGYN
To make choosing an OB easier, we consulted with Dr. Getz on a list of 10 questions to consider when talking with prospective baby docs.
(I missed over half these when I met with my obstetrician! What was I thinking??)
Here’s your chance to show your smarts when it’s your turn to find the best West Michigan OB for you.
1 – Does the physician accept your insurance?
Having a baby comes with a price tag, which is why it’s important to know ahead of time what your insurance covers.
Find out if the physician accepts your insurance, and also whether or not they are considered in-network. Out-of-network physicians will likely cost you a bit more. Also important, make sure your physician actually practices at a hospital where you’d like to give birth.
2 – Does the physician practice both obstetrics and gynecology?
This is what we alluded to before. Some physicians focus on one area or the other, others do both.
Most OB/GYNs practice general women’s health, which includes both obstetrical services—like prenatal care and delivery—and gynecological service like routine annual exams and gynecological surgery.
If your gynecologist also provides obstetric services—and you’re happy with the physician—you’re all set!
3 – Is the physician’s office location convenient and do the call hours work for you?
Most women will have monthly OB/GYN visits until 26 weeks, then biweekly until 36 weeks and then weekly until delivery.
Wow, that’s a lot of visits! That’s why you should make sure your physician is located somewhere convenient to either your home or work. Consider whether you need a physician who answers calls and/or texts throughout the day or one who will call you back after you leave a message at his or her office. Sometimes physicians will do a little bit of both.
4 – What is the physician’s support system like at the office?
Some physicians are committed to seeing their patients at every single visit, others work with teams of physician assistants and nurse practitioners.
Ask whether or not your physician will be at every appointment, or if some visits will be handled by other experienced staff. There isn’t a right or wrong answer. It’s about what you’re comfortable with.
5 – Does this physician come recommended by someone you trust? For example, by your primary care physician or a family member or friend?
You know you’re in good hands if a physician referral comes from a trusted person in your life.
Maybe your bestie had a fantastic experience with this physician, or your doctor says this OB/GYN is highly regarded. Referrals give you a feeling of peace and security.
6 – For those who have already delivered a baby, but by Cesarean section, does the hospital where the physician practices offer VBAC?
Many hospitals provide the opportunity to try a vaginal delivery following a previous C-section, but not all do.
If you have a history of Cesarean birth and want a vaginal delivery this time around, this information is extremely important to know.
7 – What are the options for pain during labor where you will deliver, and how will your wishes be addressed?
If you want a natural birth, you’ll want to know what options there are for labor without any medication. Start a dialogue about your ideal birth experience and find out if these expectations can be met. If you would like to work with a midwife or a doula, ask your physician how he/she feels about having them in the room during labor and birth.
8 – How does the physician handle high-risk pregnancies or other health concerns while pregnant?
For women with conditions like diabetes, asthma or high blood pressure, it’s important that your physician has a plan in place for managing any of those while pregnant.
If you are in the high-risk category, you need to know how you’ll be monitored, both during your pregnancy and throughout labor.
9 – Do you feel comfortable with this physician?
This is more of a personal question, but it’s a critical one. Your new doctor should be easy to talk to, someone who listens to your thoughts and concerns and explains processes in a way that makes sense to you. You want to know that you and your physician can work together toward the best experience possible.
10 – What happens if the physician is not available on delivery day?
Because stuff happens. If your physician has a family or patient emergency, and can’t be there for you on delivery day, who will take his or her place? If possible, find out if you can meet any back-up physicians to ease your comfort level.
Good Luck with Your Search and Pregnancy!
So, there you have it. You are now armed with important factors to consider when choosing the perfect physician to deliver your precious baby. And, we’re about to make it even easier. Here’s a printable PDF checklist that includes all of these questions to take with you to your physician interviews.
Now that that’s done, kick up those feet because you’ve earned yourself a solid “baby nursery” Pinterest search!