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The Pregnant OB Part 1: How to find the right doctor

Posted on Feb. 2, 2015 ( comments)
Pregnant OB

Here I am, just graduated from residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN), and I find myself, somewhat ironically, pregnant.

Now I get to experience all the joys and fears my patients ask me about every day.

My training has taught me how to medically care for pregnant women, but there are some practical things I never really thought about before facing this situation myself.

Such as the question all women who become pregnant ask: Who’s going to take care of me?

A friend recently suggested that surely, with my skills, I can deliver my own baby. Let me tell you, the answer to that idea is an emphatic no! This OB/GYN needs her own professional OB/GYN as much as any other woman.

So, I started researching and I found a fantastic obstetrician I like and trust to see me through this journey. Now, 15 weeks into my pregnancy, I want to share some of what I learned.

1. Ask your friends.

You friends are the most trusted source to turn to.

Ask them who they were happy with for their obstetric care. They will know who they connected with during their experience and can gauge whether their doctor might also suit you.

If you’re the first of your friends to become pregnant, or if you’re new to an area (like my husband and me, who recently moved to the Pacific Northwest), try the other options below.

2. You can’t just Yelp.

Like most people my age, I’m used to doing a quick Google search to find the best restaurant or hair salon. Why should my pregnancy be any different? Right?

Not really.

I tried, but most doctors in my area didn’t have a complete set of reviews on Yelp, and the reviews they did have I had to take with a grain of salt.

Only a handful of negative reviews seemed to make it online. Maybe they were written by a patient who saw a wonderful doctor but had a bad experience for reasons other than that physician’s knowledge or clinical abilities.

I found I couldn’t trust the reviews and ‘grades’ to give me the real skinny on who the physician was and whether or not I would like being their pregnant patient.

3. Meet the doctor.

This really is the only way to be sure an OB is the right match for you. It might take some time to find them, so schedule your first appointment early in your pregnancy.

Ask questions and see how the doctor relates to you. If at any time you feel like they’re not who you want, it’s okay to transfer your care and try a new doctor.

I got lucky. Immediately after meeting my doctor I knew she was a good fit for me. She was thorough, energetic and very knowledgeable.

She made me feel comfortable right away, which is an important part of an OB/GYN’s job.

4. Decide where you want to deliver.

It’s much easier if you choose a birthing facility that’s close to home. If you wake up in the middle of the night with contractions, you don’t want a long drive — which could turn into a clichéd woman-delivers-baby-on-freeway movie scene. (Believe me, it happens.)

That said, most doctors only deliver at one or two facilities, so you may have to juggle decisions about your doctor and location.

Another tip: Look at what kind of nursery or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is available in the hospital you're considering. Sometimes babies need a close watch after they’re born.

Also, I highly recommend taking a tour of the birthing facility. It’s a good idea to see how the staff interacts and to envision giving birth in that hospital.

5. Consider genetic testing.

Usually, an ultrasound will be done at your first OB appointment to verify your pregnancy is normal. If something isn’t right, it’s better to catch it early.

The best way to calculate your due date is based on your last menstrual period, confirmed by a first trimester ultrasound. For women who want it, genetic testing starts at 11 to 13 weeks with a Down’s syndrome screening. If you wait too long, you may miss this test. (There are more in the second trimester.)

I had my first OB/GYN appointment at 10 weeks. Things are off to a great start and I’m excited to watch our little peanut grow!

6. Relax!

This might be the more important tip of all. This is an exciting time and, more likely than not, everything is going to proceed perfectly.

Congratulations on your pregnancy! I hope these tips help you find the right OB/GYN to be by your side all the way to delivery.

Related stories

The Pregnant OB Part 2: First kicks
The Pregnant OB Part 3: Holding my breath

More information

Find an excellent MultiCare OB/GYN to guide you through a healthy pregnancy and delivery experience.

Learn more about pregnancy and newborn care.

About The Author

Dr Sarah Chen Dr. Sarah Chen
Sarah Chen, MD, The Pregnant OB, works at our MultiCare Kent Clinic. She recently graduated from Loma Linda University and moved to the Pacific Northwest with husband Benjamin Chen, MD, an orthopedic spine surgeon at MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital. The couple welcomed their first child into the world in July 2015.
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