Personally, I feel like I made a mistake when choosing my doctor. My first visit was good, all my check ups were fine…I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I ended up with a horrible delivery experience (that’s for another blog LOL). There is no way for me to know if this was truly the doctor’s fault but I am still unhappy that I didn’t go with my instincts and try to find another doctor early on that I loved. Lesson learned: DON’T SETTLE! Just because someone is a doctor, does not mean they are the right one for you!
Obstetrician: A medical doctor. Provides prenatal care, testing and monitoring. Most likely will deliver in a hospital setting only. More likely to use medical intervention (think drugs, forceps, episiotomy…etc) and can perform a c-section.
Midwifes: A registered nurse that continued education through a midwifery program. In most cases can provide the same prenatal care and testing as an OB. Delivers at hospitals, birthing centers or in your home. Tend to not be as busy as an OB and use other methods of pain management (think birth ball, water, breathing).
Keep in mind that there are a few factors that might force you into the obstetrician corner:
– Your health- if you suffer from a medical condition that could complicate your pregnancy, you will probably benefit from seeing an obstetrician or even a perinatologist (high risk pregnancies/births).
– Previous pregnancies and births- if you’ve had a c-section or complications in other pregnancies, it may be advised that you are seen by an obstetrician trained to perform another c-section or other procedures you might need.
The next question you need to ask yourself is purely practical for finical reasons…Who is in your insurance’s “network”? Or are you willing to pay those extra premiums for “out of network” doctors?
Once you get a list from your insurance provider (or if you don’t care…ditch the list) you should start asking for referrals. Ask anyone and everyone you know (and that you’re comfortable spilling the beans with) that’s had a baby in the last few years. Also, check online for reviews. You can also talk with your primary care doctor or your gynecologist to see if they have any recommendations. This can help your narrow down your list greatly!
Now hurry up and start making calls! Just because you REALLY want a doctor/midwife doesn’t mean they want you. If you aren’t going with your current gynecologist, you aren’t guaranteed to be “accepted” as a patient. It is best to make calls early so you aren’t scrambling (although even if you start making calls the day after a positive pregnancy test, it still feels like scrambling).
So you’ve narrowed down your list and finally made an appointment! Before you go in, make a list of all the questions that you have (its okay if takes up SEVERAL pages). Here are some ideas to get your started:
1. Doc’s approach to inductions
2. Your decision to give childbirth naturally or with drugs (in my case, I asked for them to “install the epidural” at my first prenatal appointment)
3. If you’ve had a previous c-section, is your doc comfortable with a VBAC?
Consider this like an interview process. The way your practitioner answers these initial questions tells a lot about them. Are they rushed to get to their next appointment? Do they take their time to give appropriate explanations? Does the doctor seem comfortable with your “plans” (for the record, my doctor didn’t give me that epidural at 8 weeks…dang)? These are all things to think about as you finish up your last appointment.
Hopefully you fall in love with your doctor/midwife right away. But if not, DON’T SETTLE. Start making more calls, get a couple more appointments with other offices. It is okay to switch doctors if you feel hesitant! But remember the earlier you do this, the better and easier it will be. Make sure you are comfortable with this person, not only is you and your baby’s life in their hands…but they are going to see you at your worst: 60 pounds heavier and naked. Kind of like this: