11 Best Questions To Ask An Obstetrician Before Choosing One
Choosing the Right Doctor for You
Selecting the right doctor to care for you and your baby is a decision you may not want to make lightly. Your health care is always important, but your new and sometimes amazing condition deserves a doctor who matches your approach to pregnancy, and someone you trust and feel safe with.
An analysis of your options
Midwives, obstetricians, maternal-child specialists, and many other types of professionals can help you during pregnancy and childbirth. Be sure to choose someone with whom you feel comfortable. Consider the following list of four basic options:
- Gynecologist and obstetrician: He is a specialist who has four years of special training in pregnancy, childbirth and women’s health care. He or she must be certified (or in the process of being certified) by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology or an equivalent program if from a country other than the United States.
- Maternal and Child Medicine Specialist (also known as a high-risk perinatologist or obstetrician): This specialist has completed two to three years of training in high-risk pregnancy care – in addition to conventional obstetrics residency – to become certified in maternal and child medicine. Some specialists in maternal and child medicine act as consultants and others also assist in deliveries.
- Family Physician: This specialist provides general medical care to the family (men, women and children) and is certified in the practice of family medicine. This type of doctor is likely to refer you to an obstetrician or maternal-child specialist if complications occur during pregnancy.
- Nurse-midwife: A nurse-midwife is a certified nurse practitioner in the care of pregnant women and is also licensed to deliver babies. This nurse-midwife usually works as a team with a doctor and refers patients to specialists if there are complications.
Is my pregnancy high risk?
The question of whether or not your pregnancy is high risk does not have a definitive answer, especially at the beginning of the pregnancy. But, it’s helpful to know the kinds of conditions (that you may already have or that you may develop) that can put your pregnancy at high risk:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Blood diseases
- Heart, kidney or liver disease
- Twins, triplets or other multiple pregnancies
- A premature birth in a previous pregnancy
- A previous child with birth defects
- A History of Miscarriage
- A malformed uterus
- Some infections
Remember that midwives and most family physicians are not equipped to handle high-risk pregnancy situations. If you have or develop any of the complications listed above, consult a high-risk pregnancy specialist.
Important questions to ask before choosing one:
Before Choosing a Doctor, ask yourself the following questions:
-Do I feel comfortable with this person and trust her? You should trust and feel comfortable not only with your doctor but also with the entire group of people working on your team. Will you feel comfortable asking those people questions and expressing your concerns? Another thing you should consider is how your personality fits in with those professionals’ point of view. For example, some women prefer more traditional, less technical prenatal care, while others want to have all the diagnostic tests they can get. Your medical and obstetric history also may influence your approach to pregnancy.
-How many health professionals work on the team? You may end up choosing between a doctor who works as a team with other colleagues or one who works alone. In a team practice, you usually rotate among all the doctors to meet them and get to know you so that you feel comfortable with anyone of them at the time of delivery. And, you will most likely form stronger bonds with one or two of them than with the rest, which is natural because of the variety of personalities of women and doctors. A doctor who works alone should notify you of who can care for you during delivery in case he or she becomes ill, or has a day off, or is traveling.
Ask your doctor what forms of care you can get outside of regular office hours, in case of problems or emergencies, and even questions you may need to ask on the phone at night or on weekends.
-What’s the hospital like? If your pregnancy is uncomplicated, any good hospital or clinic will be fine. If you are at risk for any complications, you should ask if your hospital has a delivery room and a neonatal intensive care unit to handle problems that may occur, such as premature birth of the baby. You should also ask the following:
- -Is there an anesthesiologist there 24 hours a day, or can the doctor call one in an emergency?
- – Can the hospital provide you with an epidural? (This anesthesia, also known as peridural, is a form of pain relief during childbirth). If anesthesia is not available or if you are not interested in this form of pain relief, investigate what other options are available for pain management.
- – Is the baby allowed to stay in the room with you – as long as possible – after delivery? Also, are there facilities for your partner to stay with you during the postpartum hospitalization?
-Are there other specialists available? Consider whether you may need the services of a perinatologist or a neonatologist – a doctor who specializes in the care of premature babies or those with other problems. Ideally, your doctor should refer you quickly if a problem arises.
-Will my insurance pay for doctor visits? Now that health insurance companies know which doctors or specialists you can see and what they pay for those services, check to see if your plan covers the doctor of your choice. If you pay part of the cost, some insurers allow you to select doctors outside your provider group.
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