I am considering getting pregnant again this summer. My first baby is two years old now and I am almost 42. During my first pregnancy, there were many times when the doctor and I didn’t see eye to eye, so I want to look for another OB/GYN who will view my pregnancy much in the same way that I do. The problem is that he’s the only doctor in our small town and I don’t want to travel to another physician who could potentially be another bad match for me. What are some questions I should ask the prospective doctor?
It’s really important that you feel comfortable with and have confidence in the doctor who’s taking care of you. You are right to notice that different doctors can have completely different styles. However, this doesn’t mean that one is necessarily more competent than another, but that their approach to patients, and to medicine in general, may be different. Similarly, women also differ in what they want and expect from their doctors. Some women want to know as much as possible. They want to be intimately involved in making decisions with their doctors. One the other hand, some prefer that their doctor make choices for them. If you don’t feel comfortable with your physician, you might just have to travel a bit farther from home to find someone who’s compatible.
The Background Check
Here are some questions you might want to ask a prospective doctor:
- Does this doctor work in solo practice, or does he or she have partners? If so, will you be seeing each partner on a rotating basis, and do all of them perform deliveries?
- Is the doctor always available for emergencies after hours?
- How responsive is the doctor to questions and phone calls?
- What is his or her training? Is the doctor board certified? Does he or she have a subspecialty (i.e. maternal fetal medicine)?
- What is his or her philosophy on pain management for labor?
- Are you covered under your insurance plan. If not, what are your out-of-network options?
- Is routine ultrasound performed in his or her practice, and by whom?
- What are your options for prenatal diagnosis (a crucial question for a woman of 42)? Is Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) available near you?
Also, consider what is what that made you uncomfortable with your previous obstetrician, and find out how others handle those specific issues. Good luck!