You’re pregnant? Congratulations!

You know that good prenatal care is essential to the health of both mother and baby, so one of your first tasks as a newly-pregnant woman is to find a good OB/GYN. Where do you start?

Many women seek recommendations from friends, family, or their primary care physician, and that’s a good start. However, just because your best friend or your sister loved a particular OB/GYN, it doesn’t mean that their doctor is a good fit for you. You might also consult your health insurance company to look for an in-network OB/GYN, but that usually tells you very little about the quality or philosophy of a particular provider. You may search physician review sites online, and that can provide some solid initial information about physician quality, but it’s still difficult to get comparable data on physicians in any given field, and you may find that it’s hard to find much online feedback regarding physicians in your geographic area.

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A combination of these different types of searches is the best strategy to finding a doctor for your first prenatal appointment.  But beyond these initial recommendations, you should also begin to think about the types of things that are most important to you in terms of prenatal care and delivery. Think about the components of pregnancy care that are most important to you as a patient. Is it an OB/GYN’s training or experience? Is it the hospital where you will deliver your baby? Maybe you’re looking for an OB/GYN that will support a natural birth without the use of pain relieving medication, or perhaps you want an OB/GYN with a low rate of cesarean section deliveries. A good OB/GYN will readily discuss these issues with you, and a great OB/GYN will alert you to the issues you have yet to even consider so that you can make the best choices for your health.

Whatever your preferences, you should look for an OB/GYN whose care philosophy aligns with the type of prenatal care you seek. You can—and should!—bring all your questions to your first prenatal appointment.  Listen to what your doctor says at that first prenatal visit to make sure that your healthcare provider will be a good fit for the type of pregnancy care you need. And don’t be afraid to seek out a new OB/GYN if you don’t hear the answers that you were hoping to hear. Any OB/GYN that you would want on your side should be willing to take extra time to listen to your concerns and answer your questions.

Once you have found a good OB/GYN, your next task will be to make sure you follow the recommended schedule of pregnancy appointments and tests. All of those healthcare tasks are made easier when you find a good doctor that you can trust.