I'm active in a local online parenting group called Columbus Natural Parenting. If you have a question that needs answered it's a great group to crowd-source as everyone is happy to share their personal experiences and insights. Something that comes up frequently is someone asking for recommendations for OB/GYNs in Columbus, OH.
Choosing the care provider who is right for you and your birth is a very important decision and recommendations are very subjective. We're lucky to have a lot of options in Columbus, but it can also be overwhelming trying to figure out who to work with.
Here are some tips for finding the obstetrician or midwife who is the best fit for you.
1. Ask for Recommendations
The best place to start is by asking people you know which practice or care provider they see and like. Not all recommendations are created equal though so I would recommend the following things:
- Ask for what you're looking for. What kind of birth are you hoping to have? Maybe that's not the kind of birth the person offering the recommendation had or desired. Ask more specific questions like, "who is the best OB/GYN for natural birth?" or, "who is the best doctor for VBAC?" or, "who is the best high risk doctor?" You have unique needs so providing additional information will help you to receive better suited recommendations.
- Ask for the why behind their recommendation. People offer recommendations for many reasons. Maybe they have only ever seen this OB/GYN, but haven't had a baby. Liking a doctor's personality during office visits might not make them the best fit for your birth. Maybe they had an ideal birth with this care provider, but everything unfolded without a hitch. That's different than someone that hit some bumps on their journey and had to navigate those challenges with their care provider. Background information as to why this is their recommendation is good to consider.
- Ask a doula or labor and delivery nurse. Doulas and nurses work with a variety of care providers in action so they're able to provide insight into how they practice when it comes to birth.
As a doula I can tell you who some of the more popular care providers in our area are for natural birth. I can suggest who you might want to check out if you're hoping to have a VBAC, who is open to supporting your wishes for a family- centered cesarean, or which high-risk OB has a great bedside manner.
I can also help you formulate questions to ask your current care provider or a new care provider you're considering to see whether your values align.
2. Interview Potential Doctors and Midwives
Choosing the OB/GYN or midwife who is right for you is a critical decision when it comes to birth. You want to make sure that you're a good fit for one another because they have a lot of influence over what will happen during your birthing time. You want to work with someone you trust so you feel confident in the information and recommendations they're offering you. You want to work with someone who provides individualized, patient-centered care so your desires and wishes are respected. And you want to work with someone who has a good amount of experience in the type of birth you're hoping for.
You want to work with someone who will work with you as a team. You want to have trust in them and their abilities just as they have trust in you and your abilities.
The best way to gain trust and understanding is to communicate in depth with them as to what your preferences are and how they typically practice. Don't be afraid to interview several providers to find the best fit.
3. Don't Choose a Practice Based on Convenience
Often people will choose a practice located close to where they live/work. We're very lucky to have many providers to choose from in Columbus located all around the city. Location is something to consider, but for most people this is ultimately not the most important factor. Yes, it can be a pain to drive across the city, especially when you get to the point where you have weekly office visits, but a little extra driving is usually worth it in the end if it means seeing a doctor or midwife that you feel good with.
This is also important when it comes to choosing which hospital to birth at. Hospitals have different policies, staff, environments, tools, and see a different variety of births (for example, some may see more cesarean birth, high-risk births, VBACs, or unmedicated births than others depending on a multitude of factors.) Where you birth matters. Where the hospital is located might not be the most important factor to you.
4. Don't Be Afraid to Switch Practices
Sometimes people feel stuck where they are. They don't want to deal with switching to a new care provider or practice so they just stay put. If you're feeling dissatisfied with your current care provider or like you may be better served somewhere else, make the switch! It's important that you feel comfortable and confident with your care provider and you don't want to regret sticking with the wrong fit when the choice is so important. Often, switching providers is as simple as your new practice requesting that your old practice transfer your records.
Ultimately, there is no one "best" care provider. There are many factors to consider when making this very important choice and what may be the best fit for one person may not be the same for another. Just like with any other decision it's important to explore your options so you can make a choice about which you feel confident.
How did you find your doctor or midwife?