Choosing the Right Obstetrician and Hospital
If you are pregnant already, or seriously thinking about getting pregnant and planning ahead, picking the best obstetrician to follow your pregnancy and the best hospital for you to have your baby may be one of the most important decisions you make. The right doctor and hospital are critical to having a good experience, as well as a good outcome – meaning the baby is healthy and so are you after delivery.
After collecting as much of this information as possible, you should have an idea about which hospital you prefer, as well as the names of some doctors.
Depending on where you live and what you want, you may have few choices or many choices. Often, the obstetrician and hospital go hand in hand. You can start by looking for an obstetrician, and then look at the hospital(s) he or she uses; or you can pick a hospital, and then try and meet obstetricians who do deliveries at the hospital you like best.
You may not have made a birth plan yet, but you should have some idea of what you want. If you think you might want an epidural for pain control, you have to pick a hospital with anesthesiologists who can give you one. If you plan on a “natural” delivery and want to be able to do things, like walk around, sit in a bathtub, or deliver in a sitting position, you need a hospital with a birthing room that allows that, as well as a doctor who is sympathetic.
Here are some of the factors to consider if you are anticipating a normal delivery. If you have significant medical problems, or there are concerns about the baby's health, you would look at this process differently. But let's assume everything will go well. If you are thinking about a home birth and/or a midwife, the information here will not be specific enough to help you.
Do you know an obstetrician? Perhaps you are already seeing the doctor who you want to take care of you during your pregnancy. If your doctor does not do obstetrics, can he or she recommend anyone? If not, you can ask family and friends for recommendations. If you are new to an area, you can try to talk to women you meet who have had babies. You might get a recommendation from someone at work, church, or any other place where you are meeting new people.
You may have an idea of whether you want a male or female obstetrician. Keep that in mind.
If you are able to gather a list of promising names, you can either set up appointments to meet with each doctor, or check which hospitals they use first.