03 Jun 6 Questions to Ask Before Choosing an Obstetrician
Millions of babies are born every year in the United States. If you’ve recently found out you’re expecting, congratulations!
Now it is time to find a great obstetrician that will support your pregnancy.
Are you searching for an obstetrician, but don’t know what you need to ask to make the most informed choice?
Because it is a big task, we’ve come up with some things that you may want to think about before you select a new doctor. Here are 6 big questions to ask when choosing an obstetrician.
1. What Are Your Beliefs About Birth?
When you’re having a baby, this is one of the most important things that you can ask your healthcare provider. It will give you a good idea about how they view pregnancy and birth, but it will also help you to determine how much control they think patients should have during the whole process.
They may view birth as a medical process that has to be managed and monitored all the time. Alternatively, they may see birth as a natural process where nature should be the one in control as much as possible.
You may also find obstetricians that are somewhere between those two extremes.
Choose an obstetrician that shares similar beliefs to yours for the best experience.
2. Should Patients Have Choice in the Process?
If you get to be involved in the decision-making process during pregnancy and birth, you will have a more positive experience.
Some women may feel like they don’t have any control over what happens to them because the doctor takes charge and doesn’t ask questions. You may have more anxiety during this type of experience and it could lead to depression-like symptoms as well.
This process should be a positive one for you because it is the first experience of motherhood that you get! Pregnancy and birth should make you feel capable and strong and having plenty of choices and opinions that are wanted by your healthcare provider is a great place to start.
Consider how you think your obstetrician should be during the process and find an obstetrician that aligns with those expectations closely.
You want a doctor that will involve you and inform you of what is going on throughout the whole pregnancy and birth – not someone that shoves you out the door to get to their next patient.
3. What Is Your C-Section Rate?
This is a great question for your potential obstetricians and also for the hospital you plan to be seen in. Another great thing to inquire about is how often labors are induced.
If you can get an answer, it may be helpful for you to narrow down your choices because some doctors and hospitals perform these procedures at much higher rates than others for a variety of reasons.
While a c-section or induction is crucial in some circumstances, some doctors interfere more than others and it is important you are comfortable with what they may decide for you if necessary.
The World Health Organization has stated that only 10% to 15% of c-sections are actually medically necessary.
Hospital rates for c-sections vary greatly and this is why you need to know this answer from the get-go. If they won’t tell you or don’t know, that’s possibly a red flag.
4. What Do You Think About Electronic Monitoring?
Some electronic monitoring is standard care no matter where you go, but there are some doctors and hospitals that use more restrictive monitoring methods that could impact how you plan to give birth.
You may find a hospital that does continuous or intermittent electronic fetal monitoring, for example, while others might only monitor the fetus sporadically.
If your hospital requires continuous CTG monitoring, you will be put into one position for a long period of time and this may infringe on how you planned to give birth.
Access to these means does not necessarily mean the birth is safer or the baby will be healthier.
This is why researching the choices you want for your labor and birth plan is so important. You can learn about the research and statistics behind these things to determine what is best for you and the baby.
Researching all the choices you make for your birth plan is the key. It shows you actually understand and have researched what you have planned. You’re less likely to stick to a birth plan if you haven’t researched the reasons why you want those choices.
5. What Do You Think About Pain Relief in Labor?
This is another good question to ask if you want to learn about how the doctor views you as a patient. It helps you determine how much control you’ll have in the delivery room.
Does the doctor automatically assume you’ll have pain medications? Does the doctor want to inform you of the side effects of these medications?
Is the doctor encouraging you to have a natural birth? Do they offer natural pain relief methods?
Depending on how you feel about pain relief in labor, you need to have a doctor that is on the same page as you.
You may even want to get pain relief before labor begins. There are over the counter medications that you can take throughout the process, but only if your doctor clears it with you first.
A doctor that supports you and your choices (as long as they are healthy) is going to be a good fit.
6. What Do You Think of My Birth Plan?
Talking to your obstetrician about your birth plan is a great idea, but you may want to have a rough outline of one before you even meet with your new doctor.
The birth plan can be changed or altered as you get closer to the date, but you want to make sure that your potential doctor knows what your overall idea of how the birth should go looks like.
Creating a birth plan with your doctor is great because you will get to know more about how the doctor works with their patients as well. When it is completed, ask your doctor to sign off on it so you have proof that you both agreed on what would happen.
If possible, you should find an obstetrician with a great team that you would feel comfortable with if your obstetrician wasn’t available for whatever reason when you needed them. This may help you feel more at ease.
Choosing an Obstetrician for Your Care
Now that you’ve got a few ideas in mind about what you need to know before choosing an obstetrician, you can start searching for the perfect care near you.
If you’re in New York, consider giving us a try. At 67th Street OB/GYN, we offer same day and flexible appointments to accommodate your busy life.
Contact us today to get more information or set up your first appointment.