8 Tips for Choosing an ObGyn (Obstetrician-Gynecologist)

  • Joyful couple with positive pregnancy results
    A Personal Decision
    If you’re like many women, you may find it difficult to reveal the most intimate parts of your body and life to a doctor. Even if you’re excited about expecting a baby, finding an obstetrician/gynecologist (Ob/Gyn) can feel like a huge task. However, your health, and your baby’s health if you’re pregnant, depends on it. How do you find the best Ob/Gyn who is right for you? Here are important factors to keep in mind.

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  • Woman on phone in kitchen
    1. Get Referrals
    To get started, ask your primary care doctor for a referral list. Family, friends and other healthcare providers are also good resources for recommendations. Take the time to research the doctors’ credentials and experience on Healthgrades.com. As you narrow your list, call each Ob/Gyn’s office and ask for a consult appointment to meet and interview the doctor. 


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  • Woman on laptop
    2. Research the Obstetrician/Gynecologist’s Credentials
    Board certification is one of your most important considerations when choosing an Ob/Gyn. It shows you that the doctor has the necessary training, skills and experience to provide gynecologic and obstetric care. Also confirm that the Ob/Gyn has no history of malpractice claims or disciplinary actions. You can find the Ob/Gyn’s medical school, training hospital, certifications, and malpractice and disciplinary history on Healthgrades.com and state websites.


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  • Obstetrician examining pregnant woman
    3. Consider the Obstetrician/Gynecologist’s Experience
    When you’re facing a high-risk pregnancy or a complex gynecologic problem, experience matters. The more experience a doctor has with a condition or procedure, the better your results are likely to be. In addition, some Ob/Gyns focus on obstetrics, and some focus exclusively on gynecology. Others specialize in gynecologic cancer treatment. Ask how many patients with your specific condition the Ob/Gyn has treated. If you know you need a specific procedure, ask how many of the procedures the doctor has performed and find out about complication rates—complications the doctor has encountered as well as your own risk of complications.


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  • happy doctors
    4. Consider Gender
    It is important for you to feel comfortable with your Ob/Gyn’s gender because you will need to openly discuss personal information. Think about if gender matters to you and whether you might feel inhibited or awkward in front of an Ob/Gyn of a certain gender. At the same time, for potentially serious health concerns, don't deny yourself the best professional care because of the doctor's gender.


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  • lady holding newborn
    5. Research Hospital Quality
    Your doctor’s hospital is your hospital. For this reason, consider the quality of care at the hospital where the Ob/Gyn can treat patients. Hospital quality matters to you because patients at top-rated hospitals have fewer complications and better survival rates. Additionally, consider whether the hospital’s location is important to you. Frequent trips back and forth to the hospital may mean you need a convenient location to make it manageable.


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  • Doctor using laptop with female patient in office
    6. Evaluate Communication Style
    Choose an Ob/Gyn with whom you are comfortable talking and who supports your information needs. When you first meet the Ob/Gyn, ask a question and notice how he or she responds. Does he or she welcome your questions and answer them in ways that you can understand? Find an Ob/Gyn who shows an interest in getting to know you, who will consider your treatment preferences, and who will respect your decision-making process. 


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  • woman on laptop
    7. Read Patient Reviews
    Reading what other people have to say about a doctor can provide insight into how a doctor practices medicine, as well as how his or her medical practice is operated. Patient reviews typically reflect people's experience with scheduling appointments, wait times, office environment, and office friendliness. You can learn how well patients trust the doctor, how much time he or she spends with their patients, and how well he or she answers questions.


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  • Typed health insurance wording
    8. Know What Your Insurance Covers
    Your insurance coverage is a practical matter. To receive the most insurance benefits and pay the least out-of-pocket for your care, you may need to choose an Ob/Gyn who participates in your plan. You should still consider credentials, experience, outcomes, and hospital quality as you select an Ob/Gyn from your plan.


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8 Tips for Choosing an Ob/Gyn

About The Author

Sarah Lewis is a pharmacist and a medical writer with over 25 years of experience in various areas of pharmacy practice. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degree from West Virginia University and a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. She completed Pharmacy Practice Residency training at the University of Pittsburgh/VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. 
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