How To Choose The Right OB Doctor – Dr. Nicole C. Rankins

How To Choose The Right OB Doctor

choosing an ob doctor
by Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins

Congratulations! You’re pregnant!

You want to get started with prenatal care so you call up your regular ob/gyn and make an appointment. You’ve been happy with her for your yearly checkups so she should be fine for your prenatal care right? Not necessarily so….

Your provider during your pregnancy has a big impact on the course of your pregnancy and birth. You want to feel confident that you’re in good hands for one of the most important events of your life. You should feel well supported, that you’re respected throughout your care, and that your concerns are addressed.

Whether you already have a provider or are in search of one, keep reading to learn how to be sure you have the right OB doctor for you.  

ASK QUESTIONS

This seems obvious, but there’s more to it than it seems. You want to ask what and how questions as opposed to yes/no questions. When you ask what and how questions, you’ll get more insightful responses than yes/no questions. You’ll also have the opportunity to see how she responds. The truth is, time is limited in most office visits. So by asking what and how questions you’re making the most of the time you have.

Here’s an example of what I mean -

question

Yes/No question vs What/How Question

  • Yes/no question: Are you ok if I have a birth plan?
  • What/how question: What are your thoughts about birth plans?

See how the responses may differ? It’s easy for a doctor to answer the first question “yes” and move on. But that gives you no insight about if she actually supports birth plans (birth wishes is a better term, you can learn why here). When you ask the second question you get much more insight as to where she stands and if her approach is in line with what you’re looking for.

Here are a few more questions to ask:

  • What is your philosophy towards pregnancy and birth? There’s no right or wrong response to this. You want to see where she stands and if it’s in line with your views.
  • What if I have questions outside of my appointments either during the day or after hours?
  • How soon can I get an urgent appointment? Keep in mind that for an urgent appointment you may not see your regular doctor
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    What is your primary (first-time) c-section rate? It should be around 20%. It may be higher if the doctor has more high risk patients

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    For a group practice: Who will I see for my appointments? In a group practice you may see multiple members of the group so you have a chance to meet all the doctors who could be at your delivery.
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    For a group practice: How likely is it that you’ll be there for my birth? In a group practice, there’s a good chance it will be whatever doctor is on call.

Get Recommendations From Women Like You

The key here is asking women like you. You want to ask women who have a similar philosophy towards pregnancy and birth. For example, if you know that you want to give birth without pain medication, asking your friend who got an epidural as soon as she hit the door may not be useful. Similarly, if this is your first baby, you may want to ask someone who just had their first baby. Someone who’s had babies before may have different expectations for prenatal care than a first time mom.

You’ll want to ask women: 

  • How was the doctor’s bedside manner?
  • How did the office run? (wait times, ability to get an appointment, quality of staff, getting questions answered, etc.)
  • Were they happy with the care they received?

Do a Gut Check

Pay attention to how the doctor makes you FEEL. Did she rush you when you were asking questions? Did she seem annoyed with questions? Was she dismissive? Did your “spidey senses” go up that this isn’t a good fit? If any of these things are the case then give serious consideration to finding another doctor. Don’t worry about hurt feelings. The most important thing is that you find a doctor that works for you.

I’d love to hear in the comments what your experience has been finding an OB doctor. I wish you a healthy pregnancy and birth!

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Duncan Lance - October 18, 2018 Reply

I love that the article reminds women that they need to take their feelings into consideration when choosing an OB doctor. After all, they’re going to be helping you with one of the most stressful things you’ll probably ever do. Because of that, it helps to make sure that you’re comfortable around the doctor and that you can easily get along with then.

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