Congratulations — you’re pregnant! You want to give your baby the best possible start in life, and that begins with expert, comprehensive prenatal 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. “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.
It is very important that your physician is someone you can work with. They should provide the time to answer your questions and you should have confidence in their ability. This may take several visits to the office to establish, and don’t be afraid to change providers if needed.
All hospitals have different delivery policies, accommodations and visitation policies, so find out if your plans are compatible with their policies. Ask about taking a tour of the maternity ward to get a personal look at where you will deliver. Learn more about Scripps labor and delivery locations.
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. Also, if your pregnancy is high-risk, make sure the hospital has the appropriate level of care.
There is always a possibility that your physician may not be available to deliver your baby. Ask about the likelihood of colleagues being in the delivery and their qualifications.
Make sure the obstetrician you choose accepts your insurance coverage. “You may want to meet with a few obstetricians prior to selecting one to deliver your baby,” says Dr. Mitchell. “Having a good rapport with your OB-GYN can help reduce stress and make your prenatal care and delivery a positive experience.”