A New Mom’s Guide to Choosing an OB

Once you've calmed your excitement after seeing that positive pregnancy test, it hits you: "I need a doctor!" An obstetrician, to be exact, who specializes in women's health and baby development. But if you're like most first-time new moms, you may not be sure how to start. It never hurts to get recommendations from your primary care physician, as well as friends. Once you've covered those bases, follow through with these guidelines to make the best choice.

Cover the practical matters.
If you have insurance, before you look into doctors, first find out who is and isn't covered. Then, ask what hospitals the doctor is affiliated with, meaning where she can deliver babies. You want both the doctor's office and the hospital where you'll be having your baby -- if you choose to deliver your baby in a medical facility -- to be close to home. 

Make sure philosophies match.
Having a baby comes with a slew of labor and delivery choices, so you’ll want to make sure your OB supports your decisions. For example, is she comfortable with water births, no episiotomy or having a doula present at the birth?

Don't forget about a backup plan.
New moms should also find out how after-hours calls are handled and who covers for the OB when she’s not available. If it's a multi-doctor practice, odds are it will be one of the partners. Just in case, ask to meet any OB you may­­ -- unexpectedly­ -- see in the delivery room when you are having your baby!

Listen to your gut.
You’ll want to find an OB who listens to you, respects your opinions as a new mom, explains things clearly, and has patience with questions. If you get any strange vibes, choose a new doctor. And remember: This is a family decision, so if a particular OB makes either you or your partner uncomfortable, that's a sign to keep looking. 

It may seem overwhelming now, but when you've found an OB you trust, the time and trouble will all be worthwhile. After all, it’s incredibly important that your new baby’s health -- as well as your own -- is in good hands!