Hey lady! Pregnancy is the sweetest time for the couple and their families. Pregnancy experience varies from woman to woman. In order to sail smoothly throughout the hardships and confusion arising during pregnancy, choosing a right obstetrician-gynaecologist (ob-gyn) becomes very important, especially if you are pregnant for the first time. To ensure a healthy baby and mother, having an obstetrician by your side makes it easier. They just don’t assist you during the labour and childbirth, but also help in antenatal (prenatal) and postnatal care.
Few points can be followed through while choosing an obstetrician-gynaecologist:
Who is an obstetrician-gynaecologist or ob-gyn?
An ob-gyn is a medical professional or a doctor with specialised training in delivering babies and providing medical care to women during pregnancy (antenatal care) and after the birth (postnatal care) . Their training provides them with the skills and experience to detect and manage obstetric and gynaecological problems like complex or high-risk pregnancies and births, and can perform interventions and caesareans in the time of need [1,2].
How to find an ob-gyn?
An adequate research before getting associated with an obstetrician for the entire tenure of pregnancy is crucial. In order to find an ob-gyn, you can always ask one of your healthcare providers to recommend someone, or call the hospital you have been accustomed to or would want to have a baby in, regarding their suggestion. You can also talk to your friends or relatives you trust, who have recently had a baby and have been raving about their ob-gyn, and also who work in healthcare department in your area. You can also go through the patient’s reviews on the websites of the hospitals. Childbirth educators also play a good source for referrals .
How to choose an ob-gyn?
Choosing an ob-gyn is like having an association with someone for one of the most important and sensitive journeys of your life, that is, motherhood. Therefore, it should be done carefully and wisely as you have to bond with the ob-gyn for a decent period of time. Choosing an ob-gyn can be overwhelming at times as you might not even be sure how to approach one or what to ask them on your first appointment. In order to be able to share some intimate details of your reproductive as well as mental health, you need to choose an ob-gyn who is considerate, friendly, reliable, and supportive of your choices. You should be able to talk openly and honestly with your ob-gyn in order to ease your worries and they should be able to solve or lessen them, leaving you feel understood and satisfied. If you go to a public hospital, there is not much liberty of choosing an ob-gyn of your choice. However, in private hospitals you have that kind of liberty. There are three major things to be considered while choosing an ob-gyn which are experience of the ob-gyn, your health history, and compatibility with the ob-gyn .
Experience of the ob-gyn
The experience of an ob-gyn matters a lot, especially during a high-risk pregnancy wherein special care is needed. The more experience a doctor has with a condition or procedure, the better the results are likely to be. Getting to know about the number of procedures the ob-gyn has performed in similar cases, and finding out about the complication rates can work.
If you are suffering from any long-term (chronic) illnesses like high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, epilepsy, vaccine history, or previous complications like preterm labour or preeclampsia, you may require special care. For that, you also need to be vocal about it with your ob-gyn so that they can provide you and your baby with the best care. In some high-risk pregnancies, the mother would have to visit the ob-gyn often and can also be suggested to be cared by a maternal fetal medicine specialist (perinatologist) . If the expecting mother has previously underwent a C-section, she can think if she would like to try for a vaginal birth this time. In this situation, the mother should make sure if the ob-gyn and the hospital are supportive of vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) .
Pregnancy and childbirth are exciting, but they can also be stressful at times. Therefore, compatibility with the ob-gyn is an important factor during this phase where communication flows easily between you two and you feel at comfort with the healthcare partner. It helps to ask yourself questions like :
- How comfortable do you feel with the doctor?
- Are you more comfortable with a female or male doctor, or does gender not matter?
- Do you find it easy to ask questions to the doctor?
- Does the doctor explain things clearly and completely to you?
- Does the doctor seem interested in solving your queries personally?
- Does the doctor seem like someone who is considerate of your choices?
- Does the doctor have any arrangements for after-hours questions and concerns?
- How accessible is your ob-gyn?
During the advanced months of the pregnancy, that is, second or third trimester when you have a cute baby bump, you need to frequent the ob-gyn visits. Therefore, accessibility of the ob-gyn should be kept in mind. Distance is highly considered in this regard. The ob-gyn clinic should not be too far from your place. Just because someone was raving about their ob-gyn situated two towns away, you should not choose it over a clinic/hospital which is near to your home or workplace which you can visit according to your convenience. It also helps ease the travelling distance. Besides, in any case of an emergency, spending hours on the road can make it even more complicated . It is also important to ensure how promptly your ob-gyn takes actions if you do not feel well all of a sudden .
How often do you have to see your ob-gyn?
During a low-risk pregnancy, the number of ob-gyn visits are lesser in number than during a high-risk pregnancy as you need to monitor the vitals quite often to ensure yours and the baby’s health. It is not always that the ob-gyn is available during all your visits. Many times, the nurse practitioners perform all the routinely procedures like ultrasound and blood tests. The nurse practitioners are highly trained to perform the routine procedures that happen at each prenatal appointment and can identify problems that require a doctor’s attention .
What is the role of an ob-gyn during labour and childbirth?
In a public hospital, an ob-gyn will probably only attend the birth if any complications arise or during a high-risk pregnancy [1,2]. There is nothing to worry as the obstetricians are well-trained to deal with complications so they will manage any problems and perform procedures or operations such as caesareans in the time of need. In a private hospital or clinic, your obstetrician (or another obstetrician with whom they work or those who assist) will most probably attend the birth, depending on how quickly your labour progresses . If the labour progresses very quickly, they might not arrive in time.
What is the role of an ob-gyn after childbirth?
In a public hospital, your obstetrician will generally check on you after the birth if there have been any complications. Otherwise, you will be asked for a follow-up care with your general practitioner. In a private hospital or clinic, your obstetrician will most likely see you after the birth. They will also make you book appointments for a postnatal check-up six weeks after the birth to discuss your pregnancy, need for contraception, and desire for future pregnancies [1,2].
How much does your ob-gyn cost?
The cost of the medical care provided during pregnancy by an ob-gyn in a private hospital or clinic is bound to be higher than in the public hospital system. The ob-gyn generally charge a pregnancy management fee at 28 weeks’ gestation and some additional fees for antenatal consultations, the delivery, and postnatal care. You can also check if some of the cost can be covered under your medical insurance if you have any.
What should you do if you are not happy with your ob-gyn?
After choosing your ob-gyn, if things don’t seem to be working between you two, you can always have a frank or honest discussion regarding your concerns with the doctor . If the situation still persists, then changing your ob-gyn is always an option and also a wise thing to do. You can always choose some other ob-gyn who seems to be a better fit for you.
Don’t worry, you are going to sail through this just fine.