Choosing an obstetrician can be an important part of your pregnancy journey — any number of reasons can affect your decision to find a new one. (For example: your current gynecologist could be inconveniently located for a lot of appointments, you don’t like the hospital at which your regular OB/GYN has privileges, or you begin to suspect that you and your OB are on different pages regarding important labor/birth issues.) One of my girlfriends switched OBs halfway through her pregnancy, and had a long list of “interview” questions for the OBs she considered — I think it’s an amazing roundup of questions to discuss with your current or prospective OB.
General Questions to Help You Choose an OB/GYN
- How many births do you typically attend in a month?
- Do you have a limit on how many patients you’ll accept that are due in the same month?
- What is your general philosophy on pregnancy care and birth?
- What do you see as your role as a physician in our baby’s birth?
- When do you like patients to go to the hospital after going into labor?
- Will you be there when I check in? If not, when do you come/who will be there?
- Do you stay at the hospital throughout a patient’s labor?
- Do you suggest any drug free measures to help deal with labor pain?
- How many of your patients go without medical pain relief?
- Do you allow intermittent fetal monitoring?
- Do you or the hospital require any other interventions routinely?
- Can I walk around during labor? Eat? Drink?
- Can I labor in any position I find comfortable and effective?
- Can I push the baby out in any position I find comfortable and effective?
- What is your c-section rate? What percentage of your patients have episiotomies?
- Under what circumstances would you perform an episiotomy?
- What percentage of your patients have a forceps or vacuum assisted delivery?
- How do you feel about inducing labor? Slow to progress? 1 cm an hour?
- Group B strep — how do you handle?
Hospital-Related Questions to Ask a Potential OB/GYN
20. Will I be separated from our baby after birth? When? How long?
21. Can the baby stay in the same room as me?
22. Can my husband stay overnight with me?
23. Breastfeeding support?
24. What is the postpartum ward like? How many times will I see you?
25. What will my experience be like if I have a natural delivery? What if I have a C-section?
Questions about Your OB/GYN’s Office
26. How often would I see you vs. Dr. ____?
27. What happens if you aren’t available to attend the birth? How often does this happen? Who covers for you, and can you tell me about him or her?
28. How long is the average wait in your office?
29. What is the average length of a prenatal appointment? What do you cover?
30. Can I contact you with questions between appointments? What if I have questions after hours or on the weekend?
(For my $.02: You can only plan so much here! I loved my first OB/GYN and really felt like we were on the same page and, after so many appointments, that she was a close friend — and we discussed many of these issues before I went into labor. So I was a bit dismayed when I didn’t see her at all for the three days I was in the hospital — or anyone in her practice, not even after I called her office to complain that we were falling through the cracks because I didn’t “belong” to any of the doctors on shift. The reasons for this were never explained to me, and I haven’t spoken to her since she told me to head into the hospital — unless you count the four page letter I wrote to the hospital and her office to complain about my birth experience. But: we’ll get there later when I share what I learned from my first birth experience. The one-line version: I got a healthy baby out of it, and even though my experience was a bit unusual, it could have been a lot worse.)
Readers, what questions have you asked your OB/GYN? For those of you who’ve been through this before, which are the most important questions? What did you, or will you, base your decision on?