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How to Choose an OB/GYN

Jan08

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Hi Amy,
I’m hoping you can help me, because I’m terribly confused. I need a new gynecologist. My old one was really only my doctor because they were conveniently located near where I was going to grad school. I’ve graduated, work downtown and the doctor has also moved. I’m also recently married, and we are talking about having kids. So, whoever my next doctor is will most likely be the person who gives advice on getting pregnant and, hopefully, is my doctor through pregnancy and delivery. I’m not originally from here, so I don’t have a family doctor to ask for recommendations, and the family that does live around me finished having kids about 20 years ago.
I have found all sorts of information on touring hospitals and talking with your physician about their approach to the birth process, but nothing on where to start looking. Right now, I just need my annual checkup and a few answers to what I’m sure are normal “just starting to try to get pregnant” -type questions. I have always just found the closest doctor to me through my health insurance provider’s website. I feel like I need to put more thought into this decision, since I want to make sure I deliver in a reputable hospital and I want a place where they don’t view pregnancy and birth as a condition to be treated. I prefer the more natural approach, but I want the benefits of a hospital, should something go wrong.
I’ve tried googling every configuration of top hospitals for giving birth, top maternity wards, best birthing facilities etc. and I’ve come up with nothing useful. Also, friends who have recently been pregnant told me about how often you have to go to the doctor, so I need someone affiliated with a hospital within reasonable distance to my house in the suburbs (about 20 miles outside the city), but with an office within reasonable distance to my office. I’ve thought about downtown hospitals, but if I went into labor in the afternoon on a weekday, it would take my husband forever to get to me (because he works even farther north) and then a good hour and a half to two hours to get downtown. It seems like unnecessary stress during an already stressful time.
I would ask for recommendations, but the women in my office who have been or are pregnant live downtown, or close by, so their hospitals are not close to us. My one friend who lives near me likes her doctor well enough, but for one, her doctor thinks episiotomies are necessary for every birth and her doctor is a man. I am very uncomfortable with male doctors.
I’m not usually so confused, but this seems like a REALLY BIG DEAL, and I feel like I am missing something that everyone else seems to have figured out. Can you offer some direction?
Thank you!
“not yet knocked-up”

You know, I never, ever thought I would tell someone she was overthinking anything regarding her own medical care, but duuuude. You are so overthinking this. For now. Your list of requirements and contingencies and what-ifs and geographical worries made my head spin. You are not pregnant yet! I officially order you to RELAX A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THIS.
MOST of us, honestly, have chosen doctors at one point or another based on our insurance coverage and the convenience of the office and/or appointment hours. MOST of us are lucky if we have a friend who can make a recommendation that fits ANY of our insurance/location requirements. Rest assured there is no magical secret we all know and are holding out on you.
My OB/GYN, by the way, was someone I picked blindly from a list when I first moved to this area many, many years ago. He had an office close to my work and one near my house. I had no plans to have children at that time, so I didn’t even notice that he also specialized in infertility. He accepted my insurance, I went for a pelvic exam and I liked him. And I’ve been with him ever since, through regular exams and a breast lump scare and infertility treatments and counseling and two pregnancies and one labor and two c-sections.
(For your Labor & Delivery Anecdotal Files: He worked out of a hospital that was next door to my office, a decent distance from my house, and a VERY far distance from my husband’s office. I went into labor at night, and we got there in plenty of time. [10 hours or so, in time.] We lived closer to that same hospital and his office for the second pregnancy, but again the distance ended up being a non-issue due to the scheduled delivery.)
This is not to say that you shouldn’t be proactive about your choice of doctor. Of course it’s a very important decision. But it’s also a decision you can make in your own time, and a decision you can make a couple times, if need be. You are allowed to change doctors. You are allowed to interview doctors. Call the office and see if you can meet the doctor and ask a few questions before making an appointment:
– Get a gut feeling about them, their bedside manner, the competency of the office staff.
– Ask them about their approach to pregnancy, before, during and after.
– Ask them about their episiotomy and c-section rates.
– Find out if they work out of multiple hospitals (mine did), who covers for them if they’re out of town.
– Find out what kind of after-hours help they have (like an answering service) in case of emergencies.
– Can you email them non-emergency questions? Ask all the questions you already asked me, in your email.
If they aren’t willing to do that, either on the phone or email or in person, they are probably not the doctor for you.
But…your email still does suggest a hint of…let’s call it perfectionism? (I recognize it because I HAVE IT.) A fear of doing something wrong or making a mistake? An overload of worry and what-ifs that is actually keeping you kind of frozen and unable to make a decision because it is such a BIG DEAL and needs to be PERFECT or else ALL IS LOST? That’s a common approach to pregnancy and it will drive you flat-out crazy, my dear, because pregnancy and birth rarely go perfectly or exactly according to plan. So…this MIGHT be something you should keep in mind about yourself, going forward. Put down the What To Expect books, take a deep breath and remember: going in for a pelvic exam does not require you to sign a pregnancy and birth contract with that doctor even if you don’t like them.
And also remember that plenty of women aren’t even on top of things enough to have a GYN in the first place, and suddenly have to scramble for one in their first trimester. So go you! Go scour the provider directory, choose a couple office locations you can comfortably see yourself making monthly, bi-weekly, and weekly and start the interviewing from there. Maybe ask your primary care physician for a recommendation. Let go of some of the what-ifs (what if I’m on bedrest and want a doctor closer to home? what if I need help getting pregnant? what if something goes wrong? what if I go into labor while visiting family in another state?). That stuff can happen, of course, but you can’t control-freak every aspect of this. Prioritize a few things that are the most important (insurance coverage, a woman, convenient office, natural & low-intervention approach) and go from there, reserving the right to change your mind after the interview, after one appointment or after 12.
One other suggestion for you — you want a natural approach with the benefit of a hospital. That still doesn’t preclude you from using a certified nurse midwife (CNMs) instead of an OB/GYN when the time comes. Many midwives deliver in hospitals, or at birthing centers that provide emergency transfers if you need them. Or, if you feel more comfortable with an OB but still want a little extra reassurance that your birth plan will be honored, consider hiring a doula to assist you once you go into labor. (If you find a doctor you really like and trust, a doula still isn’t a bad idea in case your doctor ends up being out of town or something when the time comes and you’re stuck with whoever is on call.)
The whole “on-call” thing is a sobering reminder that you can do everything right — you can interview and plan and drive yourself completely up the wall over Choosing The One Who Shall Bring Your Offspring Into The World…and STILL end up with a total stranger, or the doctor you only met once, or somebody your midwife called in because she came down with food poisoning. My friend’s last baby was delivered by a completely random doctor who happened to walk by her room and realized that her baby was crowning — her entire labor was less than two hours start to finish, and her actual doctor was at home, still looking for her car keys when my friend gave birth within 20 minutes of arriving at the hospital. WITH her husband. Thank goodness for those late-night labors.
And you know what? It was fine and perfect and she loves telling the story of how this young guy in a white coat stuck his head in the door and said, “Whoa. Uh. Lemme help you with that.”

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Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

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Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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23 Responses to “How to Choose an OB/GYN”

  1. Diane Jan 08 at 11:14 am Reply Reply

    Oh sweetie, you just have to stop and take a breath! I agree with everything Amy said. I went to a practice that had both an OB and a nurse practitioner/midwife. The hospital and office weren’t close to my house, but I knew they were good, so I made it work.
    And please keep in mind that going into labor is rarely how they make it look in the movies. With my first, my water broke, I called the midwife, she asked if I’d started contracting. I hadn’t, so she said “go ahead and have something to eat, take a shower, and head in after that.” No rushing, no “honey, it’s tiiiime!”, no grabbing the bag and running out the door. Obviously there will be cases where one has to rush to the hospital, but you can’t spend your entire pregnancy within a 10 mile radius of your hospital.
    This will be fine. It will be big and scary, but it will ultimately be fine. :)

  2. Clare Jan 08 at 12:13 pm Reply Reply

    Look for a CNM! Most are affiliated with an OB practice, so you can switch if your pregnancy becomes high risk.
    I had a hospital birth with a CNM for my first, and a hospital birth with an OB for my second (we had moved across the country in between). If I have a third, I want another midwife. The experiences were night and day, as much as I liked my young, female, mother of 4(!) OB. Even my husband (who thought I was a bit odd for having a midwife the first time around) commented that the appointments with the OB were shorter, less personal, and very rushed.

  3. Olivia Jan 08 at 12:45 pm Reply Reply

    I’ll chime in as one who did not have a OB/GYN before getting pregnant or had even had an interview with anyone before I was 8 weeks along.
    I had relied on Planned Parenthood (and whoever was on call there) for all my annual exams since I was 16 because I never had insurance. I asked a few cursory questions about getting pregnant there, and fortunately had no trouble conceiving. And, all I knew at the time I peed on the stick was that I was looking for a homebirth CNM. Choice was limited in my area, but I found, and interviewed 3 midwives and had my first official appointment at about 10 weeks pregnant.
    If you are healthy and don’t have any particular reason to think your pregnancy will have problems, there’s really nothing a doc or midwife needs to do in the first couple of months. They check your weight, b/p, urine, etc, but you really have some time to figure out who you want to see for your care.

  4. Meagan Francis Jan 08 at 1:49 pm Reply Reply

    Ditto everybody else, and also, keep in mind that Googling may not be the best way to find the kind of doc/hospital you’re looking for. If you Google “best birthing facility” you’ll probably find the hospital with the biggest budget for SEO and website marketing. Hospitals with the biggest budgets aren’t always the mom and baby-friendliest in the end, though they may certainly make themselves look that way.
    When you get to that point, I recommend looking here for recommendations: http://www.motherfriendly.org/index.php
    They have criteria that hospitals/birth centers must meet before they receive designation. I thought there was a searchable database on the site somewhere, but can’t find it. You may be able to just call the organization and ask.
    And I second (third?) the recommendation of seeking out a CNM. You’ll get a lot of personalized care but they still have on-site doctor backup, since it seems like that’s important to you.
    As for the location–I would try not to get too freaked out about that if a hospital seems otherwise perfect. I mean, chances are just as good that you’ll go into labor when your husband home for the evening. And with a first labor, you generally have plenty of time to kill before things really get going.

  5. Karen Jan 08 at 2:21 pm Reply Reply

    I used to be at a ginormous practice that was a block from my office. Muy convenient for pelvics. Got pregnant, was uncomfortable with the 20 rotating docs idea and also knew they weren’t taking my Bradley-classed, au natural ass seriously. Switched to a far less convenient practice so I could see a CNM. Come labor time, her pager didn’t work, she didn’t come until 14 hours after we arrived at the hospital, an OB broke my waters 24 hours after labor started, and I ended up in deep transverse arrest once I started pushing and had a section after 30 hrs total. Plans, schmans ;)

  6. Amy Jan 08 at 2:46 pm Reply Reply

    Wonder if the question-asker could leave a comment with her location – maybe there’s a reader in the same area who could not only offer a doctor recommendation, but also could provide info on MOPS programs, etc.
    In my local area (Lafayette, IN) the local newspaper has a group for moms, and there’s a lot of amazing information on there. http://lafayette.momslikeme.com/members/exploregroups.aspx
    Amy @ http://prettybabies.blogspot.com

  7. Laura Jan 08 at 7:06 pm Reply Reply

    Amy
    Thank you thank you thank you for mentioning doulas!

  8. Jessica Jan 08 at 9:44 pm Reply Reply

    Another way to find a good CNM or OB is to tour the hospital you would like to give birth at, and talk to the L&D nurses to get their thoughts on the doctors who practice there. These nurses see the docs and CNMs in action day in and out, are very familiar with their styles and can probably give you some names to start your research. You may also have luck through a local breastfeeding support facility in your area. The lactation consultants often have a line on area providers and can give recommendations based on what you are looking for. Good luck!

  9. Rebekah Jan 08 at 10:19 pm Reply Reply

    I can so sympathize!! I am doing the exact same thing with the friggin’ dentist. I have been asking for recommendations and researching so long, that I’ve missed tons of cleanings! I get so caught up in the worry over the provider, office, locations, reputation that I’m actually hurting myself by missing the actual cleaning. I could have gone to tons by now and either found a great one or ruled a bunch out!

  10. qwyneth Jan 09 at 1:39 am Reply Reply

    These comments are all great! Seriously, listen to everyone about looking for a certified nurse midwife instead of an OB. Many of them deliver at hospitals (although birthing centers also work with nearby hospitals and emergency transportation is very quick and smooth), and you are likely to get much more personal, natural-friendly care. I am currently 37 weeks pregnant and I switched from my OB and Big Name Hospital at 30 weeks when it became clear that there was simply no way they were going to honor my wishes for a natural birth. (There were a lot of other issues that I won’t get into.) The midwife practice I switched to is small, personal, and amazing. Appointments are longer and more personal, the midwives remember who I am and what my history is, and I have much more choice in how I deliver. It’s night and day.
    Also, like everyone else has said, first babies almost always come very slow. The average labor is something like 17 hours. It’s nothing like it is in the movies (unless something is actually wrong, but that’s not common and you can’t go in expecting complications). You’re encouraged to labor at home for hours, actually, before going to the hospital. The distance to the hospital should not be your primary criteria.
    As for finding good providers, you could try contacting a Bradley instructor in your area and asking for recommendations. You can find instructors at http://www.bradleybirth.com. If you’re in the Maryland/Baltimore region, I highly recommend delivering at Mercy in Baltimore with Kathy Slone’s midwife group. (Well, I haven’t done so yet, but I have a good feeling about it.)

  11. erin rae Jan 09 at 5:24 am Reply Reply

    Background: I had a fabulous birth a couple months ago with a CNM at a birthing center – no interventions whatsoever, got my fluids from my water bottle, got to be in the tub, etc.
    I found that a number of OBs would tell you what they thought you wanted to hear, but if you actually asked patients about their experiences, the reality was quite different.
    Therefore, I went with someone convenient who I liked for well woman care, and then started calling and interviewing doulas once I was pregnant and had a doula. The local doulas can provide great information on what hospitals and physicians/midwives are actually like in practice. I then switched to the midwives at around 12 weeks and had the ideal outcome.
    Good luck!

  12. Aimee Greeblemonkey Jan 09 at 10:29 am Reply Reply

    Amy, this is a great post. I am lucky that I found my OBGYN soulmate a long time ago, and it really came into play when my son was born via emergency c-section – but this is great advice for so many women!

  13. bessie.viola Jan 09 at 12:09 pm Reply Reply

    Chiming in with everyone – Amy, this was a perfectly comprehensive post. I have a friend who was talking about this very issue the other day, and I’m definitely going to forward.
    Also: HURRAY for CNMs. I planned a natural, no-meds hospital birth, but ended up with stalled labor and a c-section. My CNM was INCREDIBLE – she came into the operating room with me before they let my husband in. She held my hand and took pictures of the actual birth – she recorded all the moments I couldn’t even see.
    So… rambling, but they are an amazing breed. :)

  14. Genevieve Jan 09 at 1:36 pm Reply Reply

    I had a friend who changed her doctor two weeks before she was due. She was getting more and more pissed off with him as the pregnancy went on and she said she was glad she made the decision. So even if you start off with one OB/GYN/CNM you aren’t locked in like you are with a cell phone plan.
    I like my OB a lot but she wasn’t there when I gave birth and I really disliked the doctor who helped deliver my son. (the nurses were amazing. I wanted to send them all fruit baskets for their good work and support) And there is a part of me that is thinking of maybe switching to a CNM with the next kid. So there is always room and time for change.

  15. Jane Doe Jan 09 at 5:14 pm Reply Reply

    I will add my support to those that have already recommended having a midwifwe – thanks Amy for bringing it up as an option.
    I will be very frank with you, as it seems most women are reluctant to really tell the truth about their birth experiences, and the portrayals of birth in mainstream media and entertainment are unhelpful at best and patently false at worst. Please do not watch “Birth Story” or other reality type birth shows, all they will do is contributeto the culture of fear already overwhelming in our society.
    Your chances of finding a “natural-friendly” OB are almost nil. They will tell you whatever you want to hear and placate you until the end when their true colours show and you feel trapped because you’re in labour or it’s “too late” to find someone else. Even if they are a very nice woman physician. It’s just how they are trained, they truly think they are doing the best for mother and baby. Basically they view first-time pregnant women as naive and way too worried about details which they will have no control over. Remember, when you are in a hospital, you are a patient.(But you’re not sick! You’re in labour!) You are on their turf. There is pretty much no deviating from what they want to do, no matter how “nice” or accomodating they will seem to be. They will very nicely tell you that you need procedure X or intervention Y, or you will put the baby in danger. You wouldn’t want to put the baby in danger, would you?
    I am not saying there aren’t some good and very nice OBs out there, but they have their protocols and the way “things are done” and you just get put in the system. An OB is appropriate if there truly is an emergency, but all midwives work with an OB as backup, so you’re not giving up any safety. Besides, there is no guarantee you will actually get the doctor you have been seeing for your delivery anyway; chances are excellent you will have some male stranger (and likely multiple strangers) with their fingers up your vagina and your genitals on massive display. Hey, fun! Go for a home birth with a midwife. Hire a doula. Labour at home. Educate yourself and your husband. You sound like a smart, proactive woman and you are doing a great thing starting your research early. You are correct in listening to your feeling that this should not be a lightly made decision. Continue to listen to your intuition when it comes to pregnancy and birth; it is the most important tool for a good outcome you will ever have.
    Take it form one who has been through this fairly recently. I can sympathize with you because I have the same perfectionist overthinking tendencies, and it’s OK; after all, this is a really big deal in life. I was just like you; I did lots of research, I wanted a natural birth, even a home birth, but I talked myself into going to the hospital because I was unsure of myself and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have some backup if things went wrong. Also, we couldn’t afford the services of a midwife at the time, even though they are very reasonably priced, and the health coverage we had at the time would only cover a hospital birth. Besides, to be honest, the “mess factor” was part of my decision; I didn’t want to worry about cleaning up all the blood and ick, and the bed…anyway, you can tell there is some obsessiveness there, LOL. I actually had a midwife for my hospital birth, thinking this was the “best of both worlds”. Beware; there is no such thing. It’s either your turf, (home) or theirs (hospital). It doesn’t matter if your birth attendant calls him/herself OB or midwife; if they work in the hospital, they belong to the hospital and will naturally work within that system, no matter how well intentioned.
    In my case, I may as well have had an OB, my midwife was hardly ever there, and she followed very conservative hospital rules such as not letting you labor over 24 hours with your waters broken. Well, I didn’t progress as fast as they would have liked, I was augumented with Pitocin, my labour became unbearable, I got an epidural, I attempted to push for a couple of hours with no success (I was not ready yet) and eventually got a C-section for exhaustion and failure to progress. At no time did the baby exhibit signs of distress, and I had a 9lb3oz very healthy baby boy who is now two. My surgery and recovery were medically fine and uneventful, but I was not prepared for the emotional fallout from my C-section. It was devastating to have my expectations so hopelessly dashed; and while many people say that as long as you have a healthy mother and baby, things went well, if you talk to women who’ve had traumatic births (and most hospital births are) they will tell you a different story.
    I would recommend watching the movie “The business of being born” produced by Ricki Lake as a start to your research; it is a good introduction for mainstream women to the concept of homebirth and the medical system, and it has some good birth footage that does not resemble the circus that is usually shown on TV. Please pay attention to the differences between the home births and hospital births shown, and again, pay attention to your gut if you get any “tweaks” while watching the show.
    Sorry for posting such a novel, but your question really hit a nerve with me and I hope you have a better experience than I did. Good luck, and please write back to let us know your thoughts on all this advice.

  16. Tiffany Jan 09 at 5:38 pm Reply Reply

    I’m a wuss. I thought I wanted a med free labor, but as the day got closer? NO way. I’m so glad I went with an OB, but my office also offered a CNM as well had I wanted to take that route.
    If the issue of hospitals close to a certain location at a certain time … if your city is big enough, it’s entirely possible your doctor has privalges at more than one. With my OB, when the time came I had a choice of three hospitals (one being down the street from my house!). She had a hospital that was her “main” hospital, but if I had been at work and had a freak early labor, she could have delivered me at the one closer to my office.
    And there is nothing wrong with looking around. At 30 weeks my OB got arrested (yes, arrested) and I found myself shopping around. It sucked and it was difficult, but it can be done. A warning though – in my experience, once you get to a certain week, drs are reluctant to take you, even with a sob story like “my ob got arrested this weekend for child molestation, turn on the news and let me see yooooou pleeeeeeese!” I found one that did and I love her forever and ever amen.
    Good luck!

  17. Kate Jan 10 at 11:39 pm Reply Reply

    What Amy and others have said.
    Having an annual exam is not the same as having a baby, so you might find bedside manner once a year is not what you want for appointments of increasing frequency and discussions of increasing importance to you.
    So…it’s never to late to switch providers, for any reason. I switched at 14 weeks pregnant w/#1 because my GYN, who I liked a lot, had an office that was far from where I worked and from where I lived and was always (ALWAYS!) running 30+ minutes behind schedule and I didn’t want to get fired for missing entire days for checkups in my last trimester.
    And of course if you are with a group practice you run the risk of ending up with the “wrong” provider–I like my OB very much, but when I came to the hospital in labor with my second he was not on call. Thank goodness I had a doula (HAI, BEST IDEA EVAR!) to help me stand up for myself and the plan my OB and I had put into place…it involved stalling for a few hours (my OB eventually came on service and we went back to what we had discussed).

  18. ikate Jan 12 at 1:53 pm Reply Reply

    Go for an OB practice that has CNMs on staff – you get the best of both worlds. I was lucky that my exisiting OB/GYN office had this set-up. My first 2 visits were with my OB, I told her I wanted to go the natural route and as I had no foreseeable complications I started seeing the 3 CNMs on the staff on a rotating basis. Liked them all but liked one the best and I luckily had my baby when she was on call.
    But, I echo what others have said – start with the hospital you want to deliver at and work backwards. Doctors tend to practice at places that operate on the same lines as they do in their practice (low vs. high intervention rates, etc.) And that way you don’t have to deal with insurance headaches along the way as I did. My insurance decided half-way through my pregnacy that they would drop my hospital from their prefered status – the other hospitals in town were way far away and not the preference of my CNMs – insert insurance clusterf*&^ here. It all worked out okay until the babe had to stay an extra day for jaundice – the delivery was covered due to all the paperwork beforehand; the jaundice stay was not. That was about $3k I would have liked not to pay. Oh well!

  19. Katie Jan 13 at 10:05 am Reply Reply

    You could try Yelp.com for reviews of local doctors, or Angie’s List. I haven’t used Angie’s List but Yelp was very helpful when I was choosing a doctor and a dentist.

  20. Gillian Jan 13 at 4:43 pm Reply Reply

    My first kid is 8 months old – surprise pregnancy – and my GP who did my yearly paps does not do maternal fetal medicine.
    I picked my GP,by the way, by choosing the university med services I wanted to be associated with (Duke or Chapel Hill? Both are awesome, I chose Chapel Hill), and then picking the practice closest to my house. He was the one doc taking new patients, so I went for my first pap with him, LOVED him, and stuck with him. If I hadn’t liked pap #1 I would have tried another doc. Really, there are plenty of good doctors near you (I’m guessing) so I’d just pick one, try him, and if she doesn’t work out pick another (see how I switched that pronoun there, to be all inclusive? Sneaky.)
    I picked my prenatal care in a similar way: picked two hospitals based on their websites. Info about the kinds of problems they could handle, whether they had rooming in, what their facilities were like, C section rates, etc. Then I discovered that only one offered CNM delivery in hospital, while the other didn’t have CNMs. So I went with the CNM. I delivered with her, in hospital. Completely natural, and she helped me get through it sans epidural, and it was wonderful, amen. My hospital also got super marks from the La Leche League for encouraging breastfeeding – another thing important to me.
    Good luck!

  21. Liz Jan 15 at 11:55 am Reply Reply

    I just wanted to chime in and say how extremely useful everything everyone said was to me. I am in the exact same situation as the question-asker (including the tendency toward perfectionism) and I am also looking for a pre-conception doctor, having just graduated. Your advice about CNMs and doulas was extremely useful. I’m lucky enough to have a hospital nearby that I know something about, and doubly so that they fully support doulas and mid-wives. I made an appointment with CNM later this month, and for the first time ever I’m actually kind of excited to go!

  22. Ellen Jan 29 at 2:11 pm Reply Reply

    I am a healthy woman of 36, any chances I can give a natural birth other than using c-session? What I need to do to prepare myself for a natural birth? I am not yet pregnant.Thanks a lot.

  23. Della Feb 03 at 1:32 pm Reply Reply

    Just a note. I found my doctor by randomly picking a name on a list. I had actually called another office first, one that had female OB/GYNs but the receptionist was so mean, I cancelled my appointment there, even though that had been the only OB/GYN office affiliated with my family practicioner’s office that actually had female OB/GYNs.
    So like I said, I then randomly picked the current doctor’s office. They randomly assigned me to the doctor I’ve got now. When I told my husband his name, I got an Interesting Look. Turns out this doctor also delivered my stepdaughters.
    AWKWARD!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Luckily, he did not seem to recognize my last name (it’s rather uncommon) nor my husband when he came in.
    Two months before I had my son (aka halfway into my Bradley Method classes), I was threatening my husband that I’d start looking for another doctor because I was not sure how I felt about my doctor’s skeptical responses to my many, many questions about how cooperative he’d be in my attempt at natural childbirth.
    However, I stuck it out, and when the time came, although the circumstances (son born 36.5 hours after my water broke and labor started… when the nurse came in to do the LAST exam to confirm “yep, we’re gonna have to do a c-section”, he was in the birth canal and they told me to push) were less than ideal and prevented almost every wish that was on my birth plan, that doc that I’d thought would be such a problem was actually extremely supportive, allowed us to bend the hospital rules in several ways so that I could be comfortable and reclaim some of what I wanted out of the birth experience.
    The grin on his face after it was all over made me go, “where was this guy two months ago?” Now I’m actually pregnant again and getting along with the doc better than ever. :)
    All that to say, I think if I had interviewed this guy in advance I probably would have dumped him like a high school boyfriend but it turned out he’s pretty awesome after all, and really cares about me/the baby. So, if your first pick on location/insurance/whatever doesn’t seem like the perfect personality fit on the first few visits, don’t panic. :)

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