Pregnancy should be filled with happy preparations and hope for the future. One of the best ways to ensure that your prenatal care, birth, and postpartum care go smoothly is to find an OBGYN you like and trust. Feeling safe and comfortable with your obstetrician will help generate a positive experience for you and your growing family. Here are some tips and advice to guide you.
Consider All Providers
While many women choose obstetricians, they aren't the only providers who offer care for pregnant women in a hospital. Certified nurse midwives (CNMs) are advanced practice nurses who have completed a master's degree and have special expertise in the care and management of low-risk pregnancies. Research shows that mothers who have a nurse midwife are less likely to experience an episiotomy (a cut made on the vagina to widen the birth canal), and are more likely to breastfeed. Nurse midwives are not available at all hospitals, so if this option interests you, research facilities close to home that offer these services.
Find the Right Match
Taking charge of your personal choices during pregnancy and birth will help to foster a positive experience. Whether you give birth with a doctor or a midwife, finding a provider you enjoy will go a long way toward ensuring your baby's birthday is happy and healthy for the whole family. Consider these tips to find the best care provider for you.
Interview providers. While insurance coverage plays a role in choosing a care provider, it is possible to interview different options. Talk with a few doctors or midwives before settling on the right fit for you. Ask to meet them in their office rather than the exam room to get to know each other. Bring your partner or a trusted loved one along for support during the decision-making process.
Ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask as many questions as you want. It's OK to ask about your provider's own experience with pregnancy and birth, and what inspired them to study health care. Ask them how you can find answers to your questions between appointments. Do they accept emails or phone calls? How often are they on call for births per month? Do they have travel plans near your due date?
It's key to ask about issues that are important to you such as your provider's approach to induction of labor, their cesarean rate, and their thoughts on birth plans, the use of doulas, and alternative pain relief methods like water immersion or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Share your hopes, fears, and worries. That way, they can offer their perspective on your experience.
The right provider will be happy to answer all of your questions and set your mind at ease. If it doesn't seem like your provider wants to talk much with you, or if they don't seem open to your vision for your birth, simply look for a different provider that's more in-line with your style and preferences.
Consider their background and your needs. If you have specific medical concerns for your birth, such as expecting multiple babies or having a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), you can look for a doctor or midwife who specializes in that type of birth. If you have other complications, like high blood pressure or diabetes, you might even want to find a perinatologist, who will specialize in working with women with higher-risk pregnancies.
Trust your intuition. If something is telling you that a doctor isn't the right fit, listen to that inner voice. A doctor might be incredibly personable, but not have the kind of training and experience you're looking for. Consider bedside manner, demeanor, and communication style. If it doesn't seem like you're in sync, it's OK to say no. You should always feel comfortable with your provider.
Remember that pregnancy and birth is a journey. Use this tips to find an OBGYN you trust, abd you can rest assured that you'll feel respected and actively involved in your own care.