Tips for Finding the Right OB/GYN for You
An OB/GYN is one of the most important care providers you can and should have on your health care team, but it's not always easy to find one you like. Many women end up going to their mothers' doctor or the one at the closest practice geographically just because it's easy — even if they don't particularly like the physician. But it doesn't have to be this way. Here are six tips on how to find an OB/GYN you love.
Consider your needs and medical philosophies.
Having a good working relationship with your OB/GYN is crucial. If you don't feel like you can discuss questions, concerns, or issues openly and without judgment, you're probably not going to get the best level of care. Whether you prefer a more natural approach to pregnancy care or want all the prescriptions, being on the same page with your doctor makes everything a little easier. It can be a good idea to sit down and make a short list of the things that are most important to you. Then use that list to narrow your search.
Get recommendations from friends and family.
Many women choose a gynecologist based on who they know already goes there, and with good reason. Your friends and family members are more likely to tell you the truth about a care provider — like the doctor is very nice but the wait time sucks. And you can ask questions you may not be comfortable asking the front-desk staff. Just make sure you actually like the doctor, too.
Check out reviews.
Online reviews can give you another piece of the puzzle when trying to find an OB/GYN that's a good match for you. These sites often rate doctors in categories like friendliness and knowledge as well as wait times and how hard it is to get an appointment. Keep in mind, though, that no one can keep everyone happy. So don't discount a provider just because there are a couple of less-than-stellar reviews. Also, make sure you actually read the review, if provided. Many times, the patient will praise the doctor but leave a low rating because of issues with the office staff or wait times. These are definitely things to factor in, but they may be irritations you're willing to put up with for a great practitioner.
Look for in-network providers.
Depending on your financial situation, you may want to start your search by narrowing to only in-network providers. Some insurance covers a percentage of out-of-network bills, but this may only come into play if you've met your deductible or for certain services. It's always a good idea to check your coverage and make sure that the doctors on your shortlist take your insurance. However, if you find a great OB/GYN that's a perfect fit, it may be worth seeing if you can do out-of-network or even self-pay plans.
Call the office.
Once you've narrowed your potential list down to the final few, try calling the office and asking questions about how the practice handles anything particularly important to you, such as using supplements or birth control methods. Pay attention to how the staff responds. If they act annoyed or dismiss your questions, think about whether you want to deal with that every time you need to make an appointment or call with a question. If the staff is polite and attentive and able to answer your questions — or find out if they don't already know — those are all good signs.
Trust your instincts.
This is maybe the most important one of all. Your OB/GYN should be someone you feel very comfortable with. If you show up for your first appointment and get a weird vibe, it doesn't mean something's horribly wrong. But it may mean that this particular doctor just isn't the best fit for you. It's worth a few errant visits and copays to find a provider your work well with and can trust.