Choosing a doctor

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When we got pregnant, my husband had been applying for jobs in South Korea. I found out I was being laid off about a week before I knew I was pregnant. We (and some well meaning friends) thought that we would be leaving soon, so I didn’t really put much thought into which doctor I would see.

I had been going to someone I liked for my annual, so I just made an appointment with her. I really like her. The problem is that she is a nurse practitioner, so she doesn’t deliver babies. There are six doctors in the practice who do and so I would just meet with them and whoever was on call the day I went into labor would deliver my baby.

As the weeks went on, Tim still didn’t get a job overseas. By the time I was 26 weeks and needed to take my glucose test, I had met five of the six doctors and only liked two of them. Then I had a really bad experience during my glucose test. I felt like the doctor wasn’t listening and was actually ignoring me. When I talked to the office manager, same thing. I looked at my mom and said, “If we still live here for the next baby, I am going to get another doctor.” She looked at me and said, “You can change now.”

I had not thought of that. So, at 26 weeks, I did what I should have done in the first place. I started researching my options. I emailed my friends who had recently had babies and asked about their doctors. After filling out paperwork to change doctors and trying to find a doctor who would take me this late in my pregnancy, I met my new doctor at 29 weeks.

I don’t say all of that to complain or to scare you. I just want to encourage you, that it’s okay to take your time to find a doctor. Think about what is important to you. Then talk to your friends or look on websites to see which doctor would be a good fit for you. Then, meet them. If you don’t like your doctor, just go to a new one.

Things I would look for in a doctor:

1. Location. Do you want to deliver at home, in a hospital, or  a birth center? Find a doctor or midwife who delivers there.

2. Personality. Do you get along well with this person?

3. Office Staff. The first place I went to, the ladies in the office were really rude. They didn’t answer any of my questions and if I called, made me feel like I was an inconvenience (and I am not at all high maintenance).

4. Schedule. At the end of your pregnancy, you will be seeing the doctor once a week. Do they have office hours that accommodate your schedule? If you are working, taking off every week might not work for you. How does the on-call rotation work? At my new doctor, because of the schedule, every other weekend there was a possibility that my baby would be delivered by a doctor I had never met. Are you okay with that?

The other thing you might want to look into is the place you will be delivering. I liked the new doctors that I chose. The person that ended up delivering my baby was someone I had only met once, who wasn’t in the practice. And for the three days that I was in the hospital, I probably saw her a total of two hours. The nurses were the ones who mostly delivered the baby and took care of me afterwards. Honestly, I did not have a good experience at the hospital. I think for my next baby, I’m going to ask my friends about the nurses and the hospital experience.

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