When you’re looking for the medical practitioner who is going to see you through your pregnancy, there are going to be certain practical concerns that are important to address right away, like whether the hospital they’re affiliated with accepts your insurance, or if they have the qualifications or experience with any unusual health concerns you might have. Beyond that, though, there are a few things to keep an eye out for to make sure this person who is undertaking your medical care is a good fit for you.
A large proportion of the population gets its recommendations for healthcare providers by word of mouth, which is not in itself a bad system, especially if the recommendation comes from someone you trust. It’s not your only resource, though, and websites with reviews for different practitioners can provide even more insight into the kind of care you might get from a certain practitioner.
It’s also possible to look into whether a practitioner has been sued for malpractice, either through various websites, or by calling the medical licensing board for your state or the state insurance board. While one or two suits don’t necessarily mean a provider has done anything wrong, if there is a pattern of them, that might be a warning sign.
This feels like an obvious one, but it’s important enough to bear repeating. Whether you’re turning to a family practitioner, who may be your usual doctor, or an OB-GYN, both of whom you may want to be sure are board certified, or a Certified Nurse Midwife or Certified Midwife, there are standards of certification which designate them as qualified to care for you and your baby.
Depending on how you feel about certain issues, from buying organic to natural birth to co-sleeping, you may want to check that your ideas line up with a healthcare professional’s before you decide whether they’ll be your main source of medical information during your pregnancy. If you and the doctor or midwife you choose don’t see eye to eye on certain issues, it may make your provider visits uncomfortable, and anything that makes you feel uncomfortable about being honest and open with your healthcare provider could be dangerous.
Bedside manner doesn’t guarantee a high quality of care, but lack of it can certainly lessen the quality. Even if a doctor or midwife is perfectly good at his or her job, if you don’t feel comfortable with them, it could make your medical care during pregnancy uncomfortable and difficult. More than that, if you don’t feel like they want to hear what you have to say, it could hurt their ability to properly diagnose any problems.
Your healthcare provider will be your best resource throughout pregnancy, so it's crucial that you find one whom you trust and feel comfortable with.