Whether you choose a midwife, obstetrician or family practitioner, you’re going to spend the next nine months developing an intimate and personal relationship with the individual who will be caring for you and your developing baby.
When it comes to choosing a pregnancy healthcare provider, it’s important that you find one that you’re comfortable with. While no amount of comfort will make any mom-to-be ready to bear it all, choosing a provider that you can trust, relate to and can communicate effectively with, will make it a little easier.
When choosing your pregnancy healthcare provider, consider these 10 things:
1. Determine what type of care you’d like to receive
Are you the type of woman that likes minimal medical intervention and is looking for a supportive pregnancy partner? Perhaps a nurse-midwife or midwife may be the right choice for you. Do you feel more comfortable receiving your care from a physician in a hospital setting? If so, choosing an obstetrician may make you feel most comfortable.
2. Your pregnancy specifics
While a midwife may be fine for a low-risk uncomplicated pregnancy, if you have complications, like gestational diabetes, you may benefit from being cared for by an obstetrician or a high risk obstetrician, also called a perinatologist.
If you decide on using an obstetrician to provide your care, be sure that your provider is affiliated with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. If you’ve decided on a midwife, consider one that is affiliated with the American College of Nurse-Midwives.
4. Your insurance
Prior to settling on a pregnancy healthcare provider, you’ll want to be sure that the provider accepts your health insurance. Call your insurance company directly to inquire if a provider accepts your insurance and the amount that your co-payments or deductible will be, if any.
5. The sex of the provider
If you’re not comfortable being examined by or candidly talking to a male provider, a woman provider may be a better option for you.
6. What hospitals the provider is affiliated with
If you want to give birth in a hospital where there a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit on site, you’ll want to be sure that your provider is affiliated with a hospital that has one. Be sure to inquire about what hospitals your caregiver has privileges at and that you are comfortable with his hospital affiliations.
7. The practice set up
If you prefer to see the same caregiver consistently throughout your pregnancy, you may not be comfortable in a practice where patients see a rotating staff. Be sure to ask if you’ll be seeing your caregiver only or if you’ll be seen by others in the practice.
8. The emergency procedures
Before committing to a caregiver, find out how emergencies are handled. Is there a caregiver on call at all times? Do they schedule same day appointments? Is there an answering service after hours? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you understand how you’ll be able to connect with your provider between appointments should the need arise.
9. Location, is the office convenient for you to get to?
This is especially at the end of the last trimester when you’ll be heading to the office once a week. When choosing a caregiver, you’ll want to be sure that you’re comfortable with the distance the office is from your home and workplace.
10. If the provider attends patient births
It’s not uncommon in larger hospital practices for the doctor who is on call to deliver your baby. If you’re not comfortable with this, you’ll want to be sure to choose a caregiver who makes a point to be there for his patient’s birth.
While word of mouth referrals can be helpful in pointing you in the right direction, interviewing potential pregnancy health care providers is the best way to learn if the caregiver is right for you.