How to Choose an OB/GYN

For women, knowing how to choose an OB/GYN is very important. Your gynecologist will help you through many personal issues and help you stay healthy. If you are pregnant or trying to conceive, a good obstetrician will care for you through childbirth. You want a doctor who listens to you and makes you feel supported, but there are practical considerations as well.

What is an OB/GYN?

An OB/GYN is a medical doctor who has completed medical school and additional training to specialize in obstetrics and gynecology. Generally speaking, a gynecologist is an OB/GYN who handles a wide range of issues such as annual well-woman Pap smears and breast exams, tests for and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, contraception and other medical issues. An obstetrician is an OB/GYN who specializes in pregnancy and childbirth.

Practical concerns

Your search for an OB/GYN should start by considering some practical aspects of finding a new doctor. If you have insurance, you will want to find an OB/GYN who accepts your coverage. Your insurance company should have a list of participating doctors. You will also want to find a doctor located close to home. It helps to make a list of the additional factors that are important to you, such as gender, primary language and overall approach to health care.

Pregnancy and childbirth

Many doctors have websites that explain the services offered by their practices. This makes it easy to find an OB/GYN who meets your needs. If you are pregnant or trying to conceive, you will want to find an obstetrician whose philosophy matches your own. You might also opt for an obstetrics practice where you can see several different doctors during your pregnancy. That approach helps reduce the chance of your doctor being unavailable when you go into labor.

Infertility and other complications

If you are having trouble conceiving or have gynecological issues such as endometriosis, fibroids or polycystic ovarian syndrome, you might want to find an OB/GYN who has additional training in reproductive endocrinology. These specialists could be better equipped than other physicians to treat a variety of underlying conditions or medical problems.

The most important aspect of choosing an OB/GYN is finding a doctor who is compatible with your needs. Ask for recommendations from your general practitioner or family doctor, talk to friends, research online and schedule an initial appointment to decide which OB/GYN is the right fit for you.

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