An obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) is a physician who both delivers babies and treats diseases of the female reproductive organs. Finding an OB-GYN that aligns with my laundry list of requirements is always an interesting task.
For me, this task is complicated since I’ve always moved to a new state mid-pregnancy thanks to my husband’s job. To simplify this search (for both you and me), I’ve complied a strategy loaded with tips and tricks I have learned along the way.
1. Decide What Kind of Care You are Looking to Receive
From home births to hospital vacations, the choice is yours. I look for OB-GYN’s who are comfortable performing repeat cesarean births, who are willing to delay cord clamping, and who work with a team of doctors.
2. Google Can Be Your Friend When It Come to Finding an Office Near You
I do a Google search to find local OB-GYN offices within my area. Sometimes I look in neighboring towns to find the perfect doctor. Google allows me to see if the commute is realistic, or if the doctor has multiple offices within the city. Before moving to Columbia, I thought I could drive to Clemson for an OB-GYN. Luckily, I was able to find the perfect doctor’s office near my home.
3. In-Network or Out?
The third step to finding an OB-GYN is determining if they accept my insurance. I call my health insurance company and call the doctor’s office. When calling my health insurance company, I give them the doctors’ information to see if they are in-network (meaning the services will be covered by my insurance company). I also verify with the OB-GYN’s office to ensure they accept my insurance and are taking new patients. In the past, I have made calls to OB-GYN offices that did not accept my insurance. Deciding if the out-of-pocket cost will hinder care is critical to being seen at a particular location.
4. Reviews and Referrals
Reviews and referrals are a must for me when it comes to choosing an OB-GYN. I enjoy reading reviews from other patients because the insight reading online reviews gives me is essential. There are a couple of websites that have patient reviews that I’ve checked. In addition, I will also visit online mommy groups. A reviewer commenting that a particular doctor has an amazing bedside manner, or the billing department is awful is very helpful. These are all concerns I consider when finding an OB-GYN.
I have also joined a few mommy groups that have online accounts. There are various mommy groups within the area, so I will read previous posts about OB-GYN offices and particular doctors. Occasionally, I will also post a question and will receive a lot of good information.
During my second pregnancy, the OB-GYN I desperately wanted was scheduled to move to Missouri. Devastation aside, I was able to receive care from his colleague. The turn of events ended up working out in my favor. A doctor I previously would not have considered seeing, took me on as a patient, and I received wonderful care.
Referrals from doctors and staff are also great ways to locate a new OB-GYN. You would be amazed by the information the nurses gave me while I researched care here in Columbia; the accolades they gave my OB-GYN were incredible.
5. Website Information
Word of mouth aside, I always look at the OB-GYN’s website when looking for a new doctor. This allows the business to shine. Here they will outline the procedures and protocols they abide by, highlight the doctors and support staff. You can also find out the hospitals the doctors serve. Connection is key! Quick bios allow me to be able to connect with the doctor and staff on a more personal level. Knowing the OB-GYN’s office can handle little tasks like website management gives me peace of mind.
6. Have a Strong Support Team
After I had my third baby, I experienced a lot of lower back pain. My doctor referred me to physical therapy. Luckily, my therapist happened to be licensed in pelvic physical therapy. After numerous visits and examinations, my physical therapist was able to help me find exercises and stretches to alleviate the pain I was having. Creating a support team that includes pelvic physical therapy is a treatment option that I would encourage everyone to seek. There are many options here in the Columbia area, some even offer telehealth visits.
It is important to find an OB-GYN that you can trust. You want to make sure your doctor is someone who will take the time to make sure you understand all their recommendations. If, after your initial visit, you do not feel comfortable with the doctor or office staff, you may want to find a new OB-GYN.