How do you really know if your OB is the right fit? Aside from your spouse, family and close friends, an OB plays a very important role supporting you throughout pregnancy. First, of course, is his or her medical expertise, but guiding a woman through a pregnancy also requires an agreeable bedside manner. Every mom-to-be is looking for something a little different, but there are several clear signs that your chosen OB is right for you.
- Mutual respect. A medical degree and years of delivering babies is certainly impressive, but in order for the relationship to work, the respect needs to be mutual. Whether it be your birthing plan, or a preference over the amount of tests given throughout pregnancy, the right OB will respect your decisions and hopefully find common ground if it’s not medically advisable.
- You feel comfortable asking uncomfortable questions. Any mom can attest to the fact that a lot of strange things happen to your body during pregnancy. It’s a great sign if you feel comfortable asking the sometimes-awkward questions that may arise. Opening the lines of communication throughout pregnancy will hopefully create a more comfortable environment during the labor and delivery process.
- Your concerns are taken seriously. First time pregnancy is truly unchartered territory; every little change can leave you feeling uneasy and confused about what’s happening inside your body. If you experience a troubling symptom or mother’s intuition kicks in, does your OB take your concerns seriously? This point is especially important to fostering a trusting and healthy relationship with your doctor.
- You feel like you’re chatting with a friend. Inviting your OB for coffee after a visit probably isn’t necessary, but do you feel comfortable chatting for the 10 minutes spent in her office? Comfort, trust, and communication are all important to establishing a relationship with the person who will later deliver your baby. The last thing you need to feel during pregnancy is increased anxiety or stress because of an unnerving doctor.
- You can’t wait to restart the process with the same OB. If you are looking forward to enlisting the help of the same doctor again, that’s a great sign you’ve chosen the right OB. Finding a doctor who meets the criteria you’re looking for isn’t always easy – if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it!
Despite all of these signs and honest due diligence, sometimes your doctor just won’t be the right fit. I had a rocky experience with an OB during my first pregnancy. I never felt like we were on the same page and in the times that I needed extra support, little was offered. My daughter was actually delivered by another doctor in the practice and honestly, it was such a relief.
If you find yourself struggling with your doctor, try initiating an open conversation about ways to get on the same page. Alternatively, inquire about seeing another doctor within the practice or at last resort find out if any other local practices take OB patients partway through pregnancies – it’s relatively uncommon, but it’s worth the inquiry if you are truly unhappy.
Illustration by Miranda Bruce for Well Rounded NY.