Choosing an OB/GYN

What you should know about …

Although choosing an OB/GYN may seem like a daunting task, it doesn’t have to be. Asking for recommendations from family and friends, visiting the doctor’s office and calling patient-referral hotlines at area hospitals are just a few ways you can make a decision on which OB/GYN is right for you.

Do a little research of your own

Sit down and right a list of what is important to you in an OB/GYN. For example, are you more comfortable with a female doctor, or a male? Make a list of questions to use to interview prospective doctors on such subjects as exam procedures, insurance acceptance, cost, office hours and location. Look for an OB/GYN who is skilled in explaining procedures so that you understand what is going on. It is also important to choose an OB/GYN who involves you in solving any problems or concerns you might have.

Ask for recommendations

Talk to family members and friends and ask them what they like about their OB/GYN and what they don’t like. Keep in mind that what is important to you might not be as important to those whose opinion you solicit. If you have another doctor you like, ask his or her advice when you need a specialist, such as an OB/GYN.

Call patient-referral hotlines

Investigate whether major hospitals in your area have patient-referral hotlines. Representatives from those hotlines can give you information about the doctors in the referral system. Some questions to ask are:

 How close is the doctor’s office to your home or work?

 Does the doctor accept your insurance plan?

 How long will you have to wait for an appointment as a new patient?

 Which hospitals is the doctor affiliated with?

 How old is the doctor?

 Does the doctor have openings for new patients?

Check the doctors’ credentials

Call the American Board of Medical Specialties at (800) 776-2378 to check a physician’s credentials. The basic training of a physician specialist, such as an OB/GYN includes four years of premedical education at a college or university, four years of medical school, and after receiving the M.D., at least three years of specialty training under supervision called a residency. A specialist in obstetrics and gynecology has been prepared to provide medical and surgical care for disorders that affect the female reproductive system, the fetus, or the newborn.

Visit or call the doctor with questions

You may want to consult with an OB/GYN before making a decision. That is usually possible, sometimes for a small fee. Another alternative is to call the doctor’s office with questions. Most inquiries can usually be handled by the doctor’s staff. Remember that it is not unreasonable to expect answers to your questions. If you don’t get answers you are comfortable with, keep looking around.

Make the final choice

Your questions are answered and you have an appointment with an OB/GYN who you feel suits your needs. Through thorough research and after careful consideration, you have chosen your OB/GYN to become a partner in your health care.