Friendly Reminder Mamas – Find a Primary Care Doc Now, Before You Need Them
We get so wrapped up in caring for our kids that we forget that we need to take care of ourselves, too!
Time really flies when you have a baby and for me, finding a primary care doc was not at the top of my priority list. I had spent all my time finding a pediatrician, dentist and allergist for my kids and had overlooked myself. I was healthy, right? I could look into it later…
And then I got a sinus infection. A bad one. And my OBGYN was not the one to help me!
Thankfully I got a solid recommendation from a friend and have connected with an amazing doctor. But it could have been a lot worse. I could have been searching for a good doc while incredibly ill.
Save yourself some of my stress and get yourself a primary care doc now, so when you need them, they’ll just be a phone call away!
Reasons Women Need a Primary Care Physician After Having Children
Did you know you could face new health issues after giving birth? I didn’t.
Not only is having a primary care physician just good practice, it’s especially important to not put doctor appointments on the backburner after you’ve had kids.
“Pregnancy may reveal an underlying predisposition to medical problems you did not have prior to pregnancy, such as hypertension and diabetes,” says Dr. Patricia Fick, MD, with Metro Health – University of MIchigan.
Dr. Fick encourages yearly physicals to help catch medical problems as early as possible, and has some tips for finding the best one for you.
3 Questions Moms Have When Looking for a Primary Care Physician
1 – What Should I Look for in a Physician?
Normally your primary focus would be finding a credentialed physician, but West Michigan is teeming with so many qualified physicians that it will come down to personality.
“We are lucky in Grand Rapids to have many great PCP’s to choose from,” says Dr. Fick. “I suggest patients look for a PCP that fits their personality – someone they feel comfortable with.”
“Having a close relationship with your (physician) is vital to your health,” she adds.
When I switched PCP’s after having my kids, I was amazed at the difference in my visits. Both my old and new physicians were capable, but my rapport with my new doc created conversations I would have never had with my first doc.
As we casually chatted during one appointment, I learned that vaginal dryness is common after giving birth, and that there’s help for it. I didn’t have to keep suffering! That would have never come up with my first doc. Every time I have a visit with her I come away with more knowledge than I expected at a typical doctor’s visit.
She just knows how to ask the right questions because we have a similar vibe.
The other questions to ask when looking for a primary care physician are similar to those you asked when finding your child’s pediatrician:
- Do they accept your medical insurance?
- How far are they from you, and does that matter to you? (It may not, especially in this day of virtual appointment options.)
- Do they have a good network of specialists they can refer you to in case you need higher level care?
2 – Do I need to Find a Doc that Specializes in Women’s Health or can manage specific health issues I may have?
Dr. Fick says that any primary care physician can treat women’s health, as they come from either a family practice or internal medicine training background.
And if an issue arises that falls outside of their realm, they can refer you to a specialist.
Would you rather see a female provider for more sensitive procedures, such as PAP’s?
Just make the request for that appointment.
“Most offices have PCPs that partner with nurse practitioners and physician assistants that give the option to be seen by a female provider for those visits,” advises Dr. Fick.
3 – What are the benefits of having a doc connected with a Larger System Like Metro Health?
Remember the “needing a specialist” part? This is where a Metro Health doc can pay out in spades.
“Having a PCP connected to a hospital system such as Metro has a variety of benefits, including a wide range of specialists to refer patients to and close relationships with hospital providers,” says Dr. Fick.
“Metro fosters close relationships with their PCP’s and specialty care, which helps with coordinating care for patients.
A good referral is like gold.
I’ve had some referrals not pan out over the years (and have wasted precious time and money), and I’ve become very grateful for my healthcare providers who are aces at referrals. We’ve met with some of the best in the industry through these wise recommendations.
Don’t Delay – Find a Primary Care Physician Today
Whether you opt for a Metro Health physician or another doc, Dr. Fick urges you to find someone sooner rather than later.
And, don’t just call them when you have a health issue – schedule yearly checkups to catch potential issues before they arise.
You can start your search for a Metro Health PCP here.
Metro Health – University of Michigan
Multiple locations across West Michigan.