How to Choose an OB/GYN or Midwife

Choosing the right women's doctor is important. Read these tips on how to choose an obstetrician & gynecologist for your pregnancy, infertility and general health needs.

Choosing the right women's physician who makes you feel comfortable and gives you high quality care is extremely important.

The yearly gynecological visit is often something women fear and run away from because it can be a very intimate and awkward experience. However, if you find the right doctor, it can make a huge difference in your comfort level and willingness to schedule your next appointment.

OB/GYN Tips: How to Choose the Best Obstetrician or Midwife

Should women use OB/GYN as their main doctors?

As you begin looking for the right doctor, one of the most important things to think about is what you need specifically from your women's physician. Every woman has a different set of health concerns and needs.

If you're looking to find someone who can perform your annual exam, screen for cancer and perform a breast exam, you can simply look for a gynecologist. If you're at the age when you're considering pregnancy within the next few years, you'd want to make sure you find an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN), who can perform both yearly exams and provide care throughout your pregnancy, labor and delivery.

Even if you don't feel like you want to pursue pregnancy right away, it helps to go ahead and choose a physician who is also an OB so that you can start building a relationship with that physician and feel comfortable with them delivering your future baby.

If you have other specific health concerns or issues – such as struggles with infertility or a history of cancer (or are currently battling it) – you may want to consider looking for a gynecologist who specializes in that particular area.

Another important factor is deciding, if health issues do arise, whether or not you want this physician to perform certain procedures. This U.S. News & World Report article explains:

If your regular gynecologist wants to be the primary source for solving your problem – say he or she wants to perform the surgery that helps solve your incontinence – ask a few questions to make sure he or she is the best for the job. Find out how many of these kinds of surgeries he or she performs in a month and how many of them have been for women with your specific problem. Also ask if there are ever complications with the procedures, and if so, what they've been.

What traits are most important to you in a gynecologist?

For many women, the gender of their women's physician is extremely important in determining their level of comfort. They simply don't feel comfortable with a male OB/GYN. For others, gender is not as big of an issue as overall bedside manner. Ask yourself what qualities in an OB/GYN are most important to you and look for someone who fits that criteria.

If you are pregnant or planning to be in the near future, determine what your specific needs and desires are surrounding pregnancy and delivery. Where do you want to deliver your baby? What does your birth plan look like? Would this physician be supportive of that?

Which obstetrician/gynecologist do your friends and family use? Would they recommend them?

One of the best ways to narrow your search is to ask close friends and family members for recommendations.

If a friend you trust tells you what they love about their women's physician, it can make you feel much more confident about seeking out that specific doctor.

17 Questions to Ask When Choosing an OB/GYN

Once you've narrowed down your OB/GYN options, it's time to meet the women's physician in person. A face-to-face meeting will help determine if you feel comfortable with the doctor and if they specialize in the areas that most concern you.

When interviewing a gynecologist or obstetrician, try to ask open-ended questions to encourage discussion. To help get the conversation started, here are several questions you should ask before choosing a pregnancy care OB/GYN or midwife:

  • What are your philosophies and beliefs about birth?
  • Are board-certified midwives incorporated into your practice?
  • How much choice do you feel patients should have in their pregnancy/labor?
  • What is your stance on pain relief during labor?
  • Will you help me create a birth plan and review it?
  • How available will you be if something happens during my pregnancy?
  • How many patients do you see on an average day?
  • What hospitals do your women's physicians have admitting privileges to?
  • When, if ever, do you think electronic monitoring should be used?
  • How soon do you think induction of labor should be considered?
  • At what point would you recommend a C-section? What are your cesarean section rates?
  • What are your thoughts on breastfeeding?
  • What do you think about VBACs (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean)?
  • What is your belief about immediate skin-to-skin contact between mothers and their baby? Do you promote mother-infant bonding?
  • How often do you perform an episiotomy?
  • Do you practice vaginal breech birth? If so, what are your conditions?
  • How do you handle the birth of the placenta?

All About Women of Gainesville and Lake City

At All About Women Obstetrics & Gynecology, we want you to be 100% comfortable with your women's physician. Our compassionate staff is dedicated to making you feel valued and well cared for. Our team of male and female physicians and certified nurse midwives provide specialized care for a wide range of women's health issues, including annual well-women checkups, infertility treatments, pregnancy care, childbirth and childbirth education.

If you live in or near Gainesville or Lake City, FL, we encourage you to make an appointment with an experienced women's physician at All About Women today.