Choosing an OB/GYN when you're pregnant is a lot like choosing a partner. You want somebody you feel completely comfortable with; you want to trust the person; and you want to generally like them as a human being, as you'll be spending a lot of time with them. But, how to pick?
Fortunately, there are lots of ways. Almost too many. But with a good amount of research and the right questions, you'll be able to narrow things down in no time and find the perfect obstetrician for you.
Talk to pregnant friends or friends who already have kids in your area. The most obvious route. If someone you love and trust loves and trusts their OB/GYN, odds are you will, too. Ask your friend what their doc's policies are on the things that matter most to you -- inductions; epidurals; c-sections, etc. If your views seem to align, set up an appointment or consultation and go from there. If you call and explain what you're trying to do to the receptionist, typically, they're pretty accommodating.
Internet research. Fortunately for you, there's the Internet. No one -- especially doctors -- can do anything now without it being documented online for the world to see. Get a list of obstetricians from your insurance provider, then start Googling. Check out sites like ZocDoc to see what kind of ratings and reviews they've gotten.
Investigate the hospital your potential doctor is affiliated with. When you find someone who you think would be good for you, find out what hospital they're associated with -- and start digging. Sniff around online; talk to friends; heck, take a tour of the place. You want to feel comfortable in the place you're going to deliver at -- especially since your doctor won't be spending too much time with you while you're there. They'll pretty much be there to catch the baby -- and that's it.
Other things to keep in mind:
If you just can't find someone you jive with, remember, you can always go with a midwife.
Do you have any existing health problems? Chronic illnesses like high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes may require special care. Ask your potential doc what experience she has treating patients like you. If you don't feel it's enough, consider going to a perinatologist (a doctor specializing in high-risk births).
Do you and your doctor see eye-to-eye on things medical and non-medical? How does she feel about you having a doula present during your childbirth? What are her thoughts on natural birth? Does she believe in VBACs? Is breastfeeding encouraged? All these are things to consider as pregnancy isn't just a medical issue, it's a personal one, as well.
How did you choose your OB/GYN?
Image via Daquella manera/Flickr