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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

CHOOSING AN OBGYN

Find the perfect doctor for your reproductive health

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Find the perfect doctor for your reproductive health 

For a woman’s body, there are a number of factors to consider when choosing the health-care providers that will be trusted with the task of ensuring their health, safety and wellbeing. One of the most intimate and necessary relationships between patient and doctor is that with a woman and her OBGYN. Reproductive health can take many courses and encompass a variety of sensitive conversations, treatments, support and guidance. For women going through a pregnancy, and especially their first, choosing the best fit and most qualified doctor is a necessary process, and can involve a multitude of considerations.

When Claire Brooks, a group fitness coordinator and instructor, found out she was going to have her first child, she knew finding the right doctor would mean finding someone who would be on board with her birthing plans.

“Important qualities I was looking for in my OB were that he/she would be understanding and cooperative of the kind of delivery I wanted for me and my child,” she said. “I wanted to do things as naturally as possible and didn’t want any added pressure from my doctor on how my delivery needed to go.”

An OBGYN can offer many services including prenatal care, labor and birth, contraception counseling, annual gynecological exams and pap smears, acute and chronic reproductive medical conditions, sexual health, infertility and menopause management. While all of them will be trained and experienced in those services, personality fit and a trusted relationship between expectant mother and doctor is

asking for referrals from family or friends can also be of use, as they may have first-hand experience that sets their doctors apart from the rest. For Brooks, it was finding someone who understood her first as a person, and then also as a new expectant mother.

“I’m a very high-energy person who tends to overthink, and my doctor is the opposite,” the most important when it comes to caring for a woman’s pregnancy. Finding that perfect match will require some research, recommendations and reflection on wants and needs.

My doctor is fully aware of how much – and how intensely – I exercise, so she has always been encouraging with me staying active, as long as I feel good.”

– Claire Brooks

A good place to start is by asking for referrals from a primary care physician. This can be particularly useful if the relationship with your PCP is strong and founded on a level of trust. A primary care doctor should know you well and understand your level of need when it comes to entrusting someone with your child’s arrival. Be sure to let your doctor know what you’re looking for and what is most important to you. Additionally, said Brooks. “[My OB is] very calm and laid back so her nature really balanced me out and made me less nervous throughout my first pregnancy. She never made me feel rushed, which made me very comfortable. Also, she had children and was pregnant while I was so I knew she could probably relate or be superinformative to anything I was experiencing.”

Having a doctor who understands the patient and their lifestyle can make all the difference, particularly when they value what is most important to the woman and respect their wishes.

“My doctor was/is fully aware of how much – and how intensely – I exercise, so she has always been encouraging with me staying active, as long as I feel good,” said Brooks. “[She would say] ‘If it hurts, back off,’ and she trusted that I knew my body well enough to know that I knew my own personal limitations. Not having someone tell me what I could and could not do during my pregnancy was beyond a stress relief.”

“My advice for someone looking for a OB during their first pregnancy is to have an idea of what you want out of the experience and to find a doctor that’s happy to work with you and your personal needs,” she continued. “I feel that living in a medical community that we are super-blessed as there are so many wonderful doctors that are so great at what they do.”

Ultimately, it will depend on a combination of both professional experience and personality fit that make for the best decision. As the patient, and as the mother, you should feel as supported, valued and comfortable as possible – and only you will be able to decide what determines those factors. A little research goes a long way, and connecting with other women and mothers can be an important source of information and insight.

Brooks had her first daughter, Carmen, in March of 2014 and is expecting baby number two in September of this year.

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