Deciding on an obstetrician (OB) to help you throughout your pregnancy and delivery is a big decision for many moms. You want to make sure that you share the same outlook, your OB is on board with your birth plan, and that you feel you're getting the standard of care from both the OB and hospital that you should. A few things to look for when researching OBs can help ensure that you have the best experience and care possible.
It's important to keep in mind things like insurance coverage, advice from moms around you, and jumping online or making a call to take the steps you need to get the OB that's right for your journey. Oftentimes it can be difficult to communicate everything going on throughout your pregnancy, so it's important you find an OB who will listen and that you feel comfortable sharing with — only you can decide which pieces of your journey and OB criteria are most important to you. Start by reaching out to moms you know or with a list of OBs in your network to begin your research process. Consider some of the information below to research as you're searching for the OB that's right for you.
1. Reviews & Referrals
One of the great things about social media and online resources is the ability to get information from people who've experienced what you're looking into. Checking out reviews for OBs is one of the quickest ways to look into what others are saying, with a grain of salt of course, and find out whether they have mostly positive or negative feedback. Along the same lines, talk to the women around you or post an inquiry in some of your online groups to get referrals.
According to Health Grades, board certification is an important consideration when choosing an OB. Researching credentials online can confirm doctors have the training and skills you need, and it's also a good way to check up on any malpractice or disciplinary issues to keep your mind at peace.
3. Health Insurance
It's important to research what type of insurance an OB accepts, otherwise you could get slapped with a hefty bill or turned away once you've filled out your paperwork. Most practices list insurances they accept on their websites, but it's always a good idea to call or login to your health insurance account to check that an OB is covered and find out specifics like co-pay and what's covered.
If you know your pregnancy is high-risk, you're having multiples, or you have a specific issue or complication, it's a good idea to find an OB who specializes or has experience in those areas, according to Baby Center. Similarly, if you've had a C-section in the past, but want to have a vaginal delivery this time, make sure you research OBs who are supportive of vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).
Before deciding on an OB, research what hospitals they work out of — sometimes it's just one and other times it's multiple, so look into the hospitals the OB will be using to make sure you're comfortable with the environment and agree with their outlook. The best way to do this is to schedule a tour and ask any questions you may have then. What To Expect shared that it's important to consider the right hospital by looking into insurance coverage, amenities, C-section rate, breastfeeding support, and any other personalized care options your may want like delayed cord clamping or immediate skin-to-skin.
6. Consider The Front Office
Although your OB is the most important piece, you still generally spend the majority of your time dealing with the staff at an OB's office. I've found a doctor I've started to like before and still decided to leave their practice because their staff was difficult to work with, unprofessional, or just flat out rude on every occasion and interaction. During your research, call in to ask some questions, see how quickly the staff gets back to you, and note how they treat you. Take into consideration that in order to see or get info from your OB, these are the people you will be going through each time.
Some women are more comfortable with a female OB, others a male OB, and many women don't have a preference at all. Regardless, it's OK to take gender into consideration, especially if there is an issue or reason to feel uncomfortable. According to the aforementioned Health Grades article, you need to be able to discuss personal information, and if you feel awkward with your OB, that can inhibit your care.