How to Choose the Best Obstetrician for You

Six tips to help you find OB for pregnancy care, including delivery

A pregnant woman smiles while being examined by her obstetrician.

Six tips to help you find OB for pregnancy care, including delivery

Congratulations — you’re pregnant! You want to give your baby the best possible start in life, and that begins with expert, comprehensive pregnancy care.

“Finding the right obstetrician is an important step in the health of both you and your baby,” says Dale Mitchell, MD, an OB-GYN at Scripps Clinic La Jolla. “Your obstetrician will be the one caring for you and your baby from now until you give birth, so choose someone you feel comfortable with and trust.”

Your primary care physician or gynecologist may be able to recommend an obstetrician, or look into the physician referral service at the hospital where you will deliver. Ask friends and family members who have had children if they have recommendations as well.

6 things to consider when choosing an obstetrician

1. Insurance coverage

Review your insurance coverage and identify which hospitals and obstetricians are considered “in-network,” where you’ll receive care at a lower price. Going out-of-network can be costly. Scripps accepts most insurance plans.

Your insurance will also determine what hospitals are available to you as a patient.

2. Philosophy of care

Your physician should be someone you can easily talk to and openly discuss your labor preferences.

They should be able to answer all your questions about what to expect during your pregnancy and how to prepare for your baby’s birth.

You should have confidence in their ability. This may take several interactions to establish. Don’t be afraid to change providers if you are not satisfied.

“Having a good rapport with your OB-GYN can help reduce stress and make your prenatal care and delivery a positive experience,” Dr. Mitchell says.

3. Your health history

Chronic illness, age or difficulty in previous births may mean that you need the co-management of a perinatologist — a physician who specializes in higher-risk pregnancies.

If your pregnancy is high-risk, make sure the hospital has the appropriate level of care.

4. Delivery hospitals

Take a virtual tour of the hospital ward where you are planning to give birth. Familiarizing yourself with your birthing location will help make your arrival when you are in labor less stressful.

5. The physician’s colleagues

Learn what to expect if you go into labor at a time when you obstetrician is not on call or available, which is not unusual.

Ask about the attending maternal care staff and their qualifications and how to make sure they have all the information they need to care for you and your baby.

6. Stay informed

Hospitals and clinics continue to take extra precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the health and safety of expectant mothers and their babies.

Stay up to date with information on visitor restrictions and safety requirements at your hospital or clinic. Learn if virtual care is available and when it can be used for prenatal appointments.

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