Finding the Right Ob/Gyn


Chances are that you only see your obstetrician/gynecologist about once a year. "So as long as his or her office is conveniently located and I can get an appointment, why worry about whether or not we hit it off?" some women may say.

While it's true that you and your doctor may not become fast friends, trusting your health to someone based only on convenience factors is unwise. What if a medical problem does arise? You may regret that you did not select your doctor based on his or her competence, understanding, beliefs on certain issues (for example contraception and abortion) and willingness to carefully explain problems and treatments.

To find a doctor with whom you are comfortable and whom you can trust, you might ask friends or co-workers for recommendations. If you have moved, your old ob/gyn may be able to recommend a doctor in your new area.

You might also call a local hospital to get names of doctors who are affiliated or check at you library for a copy of the "Directory of Medical Specialists," a Who's Who of physicians which
gives information about doctors' training and credentials. Check to see if a doctor is "board-certified." This designation means that a physician has had specialized training and has passed
examinations in a specific field, such as obstetrics and gynecology.

Once you have several names of doctors, make a list of qualities that you are looking for in both the doctor and in his or her practice. Things to consider might include:
  • Do you prefer a male or female? Does age make a difference?
  • Is he/she in a group or solo practice? (With a group practice, you usually can see another doctor if your own is on vacation.)
  • Does he/she have admitting privileges to a good hospital?
  • Are the fees reasonable? Will he/she accept your medical insurance?
  • Are the office hours convenient? Does the doctor frequently run behind in appointments?
  • Does the doctor provide maternity services? (Important if you plan to become pregnant in the future.)
  • Is he/she easy to talk to? Are you comfortable asking questions? Does the doctor answer them in terms you can understand?

It may take several phone calls and office visits to find the right doctor. But if you end up satisfied, the effort will be well worth it. When you choose a doctor, you are investing in your health, which is probably the smartest investment you will ever make.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

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