Things to Consider
Some women base this decision primarily on finding an OB/GYN that is available through their insurance plan. While minimizing your out-of-pocket expenses is an appropriate part of the decision-making process, there are many more factors to consider. Like any important relationship, key elements such as trust, compatibility, familiarity, level of comfort and how well the individual addresses your particular needs are very important.
Use Your Close Contacts
A good place to start your search is to ask your friends and family members for the names of providers they’ve used or have heard positive things about. They can also give you tips as to why or why not to choose a specific provider. As with any kind of provider, getting a recommendation from someone you know adds a sense of comfort to the search.
Online References Can Reveal Much
You can also get tips from researching an OB/GYN online and looking at online reviews and commentaries by some of the doctor’s previous patients. You’ll also be able to look at aspects such as their number of years in practice, what institution granted them their degree, the medical facility where they interned and any additional training they’ve received.
Consider Gender and Proximity
What may seem obvious, but is a very important criterion in the decision-making process, is the gender of the doctor or practitioner. Also, consider a doctor that is closer to your home or office. This criteria can be especially important since the frequency of your visits would increase if you were to become pregnant.
Compatibility Equals Comfort
Once you’ve narrowed down your candidates, schedule a first visit. If you have concerns, it’s probably best to continue your search. Compatibility is key. Factors such as length of time to get an appointment, the friendliness of the staff, the cleanliness of the office and examination room, and whether you felt comfortable or welcome at the doctor’s office should also factor into the decision.
Type of Care
For women seeking a more therapeutic care partner, choosing a midwife for gynecological and obstetrical care may be a good choice. Midwifery emphasizes the importance of individualism and a care plan tailored to a women’s life experiences and desires. The midwifery model of care focuses on cultivating lifelong partnerships with clients and their families. Respecting the birth process through the use of positioning, movement and natural methods to encourage labor are components of classic midwifery care.
Trust Your Instincts
No matter how much advance planning and due diligence you do, it’s a good idea to use your intuition. If something feels off or you're just not comfortable, go with your gut. After all, you are your best patient advocate. Don’t panic or feel obligated. That’s why you have back up doctors on your short list.