Yearning for a Baby?
Tips to Find an Ob/Gyn
By June Dung My Lien
At some point in your life, you will probably want or need to see an Obstetrics and Gynecology physician, often referred to as an Ob/Gyn. I began my search for an Ob/Gyn when it wasn’t enough to see and hold a baby – I wanted to have a baby, my baby. It was an overwhelming urge. If you’re there, or you’ve been there – you know what I mean.
If you want to have a baby or you are already pregnant, where do you start your search for an Ob/Gyn? Dr. Bernard Lynch, an Ob/Gyn physician at Austin Regional Clinic, provides some tips for your search, and when you might need to find a new one.
What kind of care do you need?
Obstetricians care for women and their baby during pregnancy, childbirth, and provide postpartum care to both mom and baby after delivery. Gynecologists specialize in women’s reproductive health including menstruation, menopause, hormonal changes, and more. Ob/Gyn physicians are medically trained in both areas and can care for you through all the stages of your reproductive life.
Start Your Search
To begin your search for an Ob/Gyn, you can narrow down your choices by figuring out what’s important to you.
-Do you prefer a male or a female doctor?
-Does the doctor/hospital need to be “in network” for your insurance coverage?
Then, reach out to family members and friends you trust for a recommendation. Once you have a list of potential doctors, you can evaluate them based on a few factors:
-Is the office close by?
-Does the Ob/Gyn offer an all-night emergency contact?
-Does the Ob/Gyn offer after-hours visits and same-day appointment availability?
“Find an Ob/Gyn with an office nearby,” Dr. Lynch says. As you progress in your pregnancy, you will have appointments more frequently and visit the office weekly during the last month. Additionally, proximity is key if you ever have an urgent need. You can also visit the Ob/Gyn’s website and watch any videos they provide online. This will give you an opportunity to learn more about the doctor before meeting him or her in person.
Meet the Ob/Gyn and Ask Questions
A face-to- face meeting will give you the opportunity to evaluate your level of comfort with the Ob/Gyn and ask questions about issues that are important to you. Most clinics have prenatal Ob/Gyn meet and greet or the option to schedule a 1-on- 1 visit.
A few questions you can ask:
- What is your philosophy about having a doula or other support staff attend my labor and delivery?
- How often do you use interventions like IVs, induced labor, continuous electronic fetal monitoring, and episiotomies?
- Do you support breastfeeding, circumcision (if you’re having a boy), alternative medicine, home remedies, etc.?
Partnering with Your Doctor
The goal is to find a doctor who supports you and your wishes for your pregnancy, labor, and birth. “Your relationship with your Ob/gyn is a partnership and you should get the sense that your doctor wants to listen to your ideas, and takes your ideas seriously,” Dr. Lynch says. “It’s important to feel supported by your doctor.”
Some things to consider:
-Does the doctor take time to get to know you and your partner?
-Does the doctor address your concerns?
-Does the doctor involve you and your partner in the visit?
-Do you and your partner feel comfortable during and after visits?
When to Move On
After you select a doctor, you may find that the partnership is not what you expected.
“If you leave the office feeling confused, that you are not taken seriously, and you don’t know where things are going, those are all red flags,” Dr. Lynch says. If there is a disconnect with your doctor, it may be time to look for a new Ob/Gyn. However, if the office or medical staff needs improvement, talk to your doctor.
“If you get a bad vibe from the overall office staff – that can make for a really long pregnancy,” Dr. Lynch says. “Your doctor wants you to feel at ease during visits and can help address any office issues you encounter.”
Sharing in Your Joy
Pregnancy is an intense nine-month journey to becoming a mom and finding the right doctor can make all the difference. “It’s a very joyous time in your life and your doctor is there to share that joy with you,” Dr. Bernard Lynch says. “You should feel like the people that are caring for you during your pregnancy are sharing in that joy with you – that they are just as happy as you are.”
Cheers and good luck with your search!