Your OB-GYN, or a gynecologist who also practices obstetrics, is the one doctor who will get to know you on a more personal basis than just about anyone else in your life. Choosing one you feel comfortable with is crucial. Whether you are expecting a baby or just looking for a practitioner who can help you with your feminine health needs throughout your life, these tips will help you find a sympathetic, quality OB-GYN.

The first place to go when looking for a gynecologist is your friends and family members. Ask them who they see and what they think of the doctor. If you do not have many female friends or any who have had a pregnancy and needed the services of this type of doctor, consider contacting a local childbirth education center for recommendations.

If you cannot find any recommendations, call the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists at 202-638-5577 to get the names of board-certified doctors in your area. You can also find doctors using your zip code at the organization’s website.

Your comfort is very important when choosing an OB-GYN. Even if the doctor has the best credentials and references, if you do not feel comfortable, you are not going to get the best care. You simply will not ask enough questions or divulge enough information for the doctor to help you to the best of his or her ability. Also, choose a doctor who gives you sufficient office time. You should not feel rushed through your questions when you visit the doctor. Finally, choose a doctor who, as much as possible, respects your wishes about your care. While doctors cannot do something that will put your life at risk, they should be willing to accommodate your other desires when it comes to your healthcare.

Women who are expecting may want to consider a few additional criteria when selecting an OB-GYN. First, you need to decide if you would like to have the option to use a midwife. Many clinics have midwives on staff to help with non-complicated deliveries. Also, consider whether you wish to see one doctor throughout your pregnancy, or are comfortable with seeing several for your monthly and weekly checkups. This will help you choose a clinic with the right structure to meet your needs.

If you have any outstanding health conditions or past pregnancy complications, choose an OB-GYN with experience in those areas. For instance, if you have had a c-section in the past but wish to try a vaginal delivery for your next child, find a doctor who is comfortable with the VBAC delivery and has overseen several of these more risky births. This will help you feel confident in your care throughout any future pregnancies.

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