Choosing an OB/GYN

interview QsChoosing 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.

OB Questions

  1. How many births do you typically attend in a month?
  2. Do you have a limit on how many patients you’’ll accept that are due in the same month?
  3. What is your general philosophy on pregnancy care and birth?
  4. What do you see as your role as a physician in our baby’’s birth?
  5. When do you like patients to go to the hospital after going into labor?
  6. Will you be there when I check in?  If not, when do you come/who will be there?
  7. Do you stay at the hospital throughout a patient’’s labor?
  8. Do you suggest any drug free measures to help deal with labor pain?
  9. How many of your patients go without medical pain relief?
  10. Do you allow intermittent fetal monitoring?
  11. Do you or the hospital require any other interventions routinely?
  12. Can I walk around during labor?  Eat?  Drink?
  13. Can I labor in any position I find comfortable and effective?
  14. Can I push the baby out in any position I find comfortable and effective?
  15. What is your c-section rate?  What percentage of your patients have episiotomies?
  16. Under what circumstances would you perform an episiotomy?
  17. What percentage of your patients have a forceps or vacuum assisted delivery?
  18. How do you feel about inducing labor?  Slow to progress?  1 cm an hour?
  19. Group B strep — how do you handle?

Hospital Questions

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?

Office Questions

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?


Open Thread May 9, 2014

Pictured above: Japanese Weekend Color Block Dress, was $100, now $40 at Gilt / Theory, Maternity Max Pants, available exclusively at ShopBop for $255 /  Kenneth Jay Lane Gold-plated necklace, $90 at Net-a-Porter / Storksak  ‘Olivia’ Nylon Baby Bag, $198 at Nordstrom / Taryn Rose Bryan flats, $199 at Zappos

Above, some of recommendations for maternity style and beyond!  As explained in our free eBook, A Guide to Dressing Professionally While Pregnant, statement necklaces are a great way to distract from an ample bosom (and extend a basic wardrobe), and comfortable, supportive shoes are a must, like these cute ballet flats with arch support (available in five colors!).  Also, as noted in the eBook: you may want to hold off on buying a fancy diaper bag until the kiddo arrives — but this Storksak baby bag has a ton of positive reviews.   Get the eBook for free by signing up for our newsletter!

Please feel free to use this post as an Open Thread — if anything’s on your mind (mom-related or otherwise), chat about it here!

Weekly News Update for May 9, 2014

Working Mothers Stats | CorporetteSome of the articles of interest to working mothers that we’ve seen around the web recently…

  • The Wall Street Journal’s At Work blog takes a look at a new report on working mothers that compiled from U.S. Census data. One tidbit: in 1860, 7.5% of mothers in the U.S. worked outside of the home.
  • The Miami Herald shares suggestions from working moms on helpful apps they use to save time and make day-to-day  life a little bit easier.
  • University of London researchers have discovered that “baby brain” may exist. (MAY exist? Have these researchers been pregnant?), says the Telegraph.
  • And speaking of baby brain… how about “MOM brain”? Hello Ladies looks at a new findings from researchers in Israel about “invisible tasks.”
  • Hellobee suggests several toys that help preschoolers learn and develop without any workbooks or flashcards.
  • PopSugar Smart Living rounds up some Mother’s Day freebies and deals — from Amazon to Shutterfly to Starbucks.

Make sure to check out this week’s news update over at Corporette!

On Corporette Recently…

Open Thread

Pictured above:
Maternity black dress, $39, at Dorothy Perkins /  Helmut Lang Voltage draped Micro Modal cardigan, $140 / VIONIC with Orthaheel Technology Milan Casual Flat, $45 (was $129) / Tasha ‘Owl’ Infinity Scarf, $28, Nordstrom / Collection XIIX Packable Fedora, $24 (7 colors available)

Above, some of our first weekly recommendations for maternity style!  As explained in our eBook, A Guide to Dressing Professionally While Pregnant, comfortable, supportive shoes are a must, as is sun protection like hats — and a great way to get more bang for your buck is to buy non-maternity items like the Helmut Lang cardigan or the infinity scarf (which will do double duty as a nursing cover if you choose to nurse).  Get the book for free by signing up for our newsletter!

Weekly News Update

Rewarding Kids to Eat Healthy? | CorporetteMomsSome of the articles of interest to working mothers that we’ve seen around the web recently…

  • Raise Healthy Eaters takes a look at rewarding kids for healthy eating habits — good idea or bad idea? How do you get your kids to eat vegetables and other not-always-popular foods?
  • Lifehacker explains several things moms-to-be should know about breastfeeding.
  • Homemaker, housewife, stay-at-home mom? Slate’s DoubleX blog wonders what we should call mothers who don’t work outside the home.
  • The New York Times’ Motherlode blog delves into the issue of putting your babysitter/nanny on the books.
  • Working Moms Against Guilt discusses what the term “work-life balance” really means.
  • Alpha Mom answers a reader’s question about a potential in-law babysitting arrangement. If you’re pregnant, are you including family members in your childcare plan?

Make sure to check out this week’s news update over at Corporette!

On Corporette Recently…

  • On the hunt for a great sheath dress? We’ve rounded up some prime picks.
  • We talked about ways to dress professionally in hot weather.
  • Readers compared notes on handling finances in their relationships.
  • We also had a lively discussion about dealing with an offensive comment from a client.

Pictured: Healthy homemade school lunches, originally uploaded to Flickr by Jennifer Chait

Kat’s Maternity Skincare Picks

maternity skincareA lot of women prefer to go organic with their skincare while pregnant — but finding the best lines can be a bit difficult. (My first OB/GYN advised me to just “go to Whole Foods and pick one out.” That’s an approach too!)  I’m not a doctor, but this is a list of the skincare lines that I liked.

Whatever you do: pay particular attention to sun protection during this time period — I always found I was particularly vulnerable to the effects (freckles, sunspots) and yet you may want to avoid your regular sunscreen because of chemicals. Don’t overlook physical protection, such as wearing a brimmed hat when you go on walks to shade your face. I’d also recommend a good rash guard if you’re going to the beach or spending a lot of time at an outdoor pool (you can get them at a variety of places including J.Crew and Land’s End — I’ve even seen them at Old Navy during certain seasons. Ain’t No Mom Jeans even wrote about how sexy the rashguard+bump look can be!) Anyway, these were the brands that I used for my own pregnancy skincare routine — like I’ve said before, I’m not a doctor — and while many of these brands are organic, some of the labels advise you to talk to your doctor if you plan to use them during pregnancy, so proceed with caution.

  • Belli Skincare – I didn’t even know this brand of pregnancy-specific skincare existed until I happened to see it in the One Step Ahead catalog in my second pregnancy. I was looking for a new face wash, so I bought the Complexion Protection Duo (with a face wash and separate sunscreen with SPF 25).
  • Burt’s Bees – This line is a oldie but a goodie. I used their Blemish Stick on the very occasional acne I had; I also used their Radiance Night Cream with Royal Jelly kind of all the time (my skin is super dry during pregnancy!), as well as their . (Not pregnancy-related, really, but I’m also a HUGE fan of their Coconut Foot Creme, their Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream, and their Avocado Butter Pre-Shampoo Treatment (only if you have very dry hair!).)
  • St. Ives – I originally started with their classic Apricot Scrub for exfoliation, but because my skin is so dry in pregnancy I wound up switching to the (harder to find) Moisturizing Olive Scrub.
  • Yes to Carrots – I like a lot of products from this line; I used their Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15 whenever I knew I might go out in sunlight.
  • Finally, a note on belly creams and lotions: I’m in the camp that believes that genes are more determinant of stretchmarks. (Also, my string bikini days are largely behind me ANYWAY.) So I didn’t worry about it too much, and came out without too many stretchmarks after my first pregnancy. I did use Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Moisturizing Body Oil after my pregnancy because my belly was weirdly itchy as it deflated. I used it in my second pregnancy as well, but only when my belly was feeling particularly dry.

Note that even among these organic lines, many of them recommend that you talk to your doctor before switching to them for use during your pregnancy.

Readers, have your doctors or friends recommended any pregnancy-safe products? Do you have any organic or homemade products that you love in general?

(Another note: You’ll notice that most of the links here are Amazon affiliate links — I’m a HUGE FAN of Amazon, particularly for busy mamas. Amazon even has a whole pregnancy-specific skincare store. If you haven’t, yet, sign up for the Amazon Mom program — you get free 2-day shipping and other special deals. I didn’t sign up until my son was about 3 months old, and I wish I’d done it before then, if only because I wasted a ton of time running around town trying to find different specific things (particularly after he was born — the right sizes of flanges for breastfeeding, an SNS system that I never used, etc., etc.) and Amazon would have had them there in a day or two. We became so addicted to the quick, free shipping that we later became Prime members. (Amazon’s sister site,, may even deliver things to your house the same day, at least if you’re in NYC.)


N.B. PLEASE KEEP COMMENTS ON TOPIC; threadjacks will be deleted. These substantive posts are intended to be a source of community comment on a particular topic, which readers can browse through without having to sift out a lot of unrelated comments. And so, although of course I highly value all comments by my readers, I’m going ask you to please respect some boundaries on substantive posts like this one. Thank you for your understanding!