One of the most important decisions a woman will make is choosing the best ob/gyn for herself. If you are like most women, the thought of revealing the most intimate parts of your body to a doctor is a bit intimidating. Yet, an ob/gyn can be a health partner that, if selected carefully, will advise you through life’s major events–the early choice on contraception, the challenges and joys of childbearing, overcoming the “falling apart at forty” syndrome, and embracing the fulfilling second half of your life after menopause.
At North Texas Vitality, we like to suggest that you look for a health partner with whom you feel comfortable. When you visit your ob/gyn, you should be able to talk openly and honestly about your worries and plans and leave feeling understood and confident about your next steps. You want an ob/gyn who makes it easier to visit when you need to have those awkward-but-crucial conversations and get personalized care for whatever stage in life that you’re in.
Dr. Thomas Fliedner from our office offers our patients his insider tips for finding the best ob/gyn who’s right for you. He suggests the experience, reputation, focus, and connection of your doctor is vital to helping you achieve your optimal health.
When you’re facing a high-risk pregnancy or a complex gynecologic problem, experience matters. The art and science of the practice of medicine takes time to develop. While the basics are learned and practiced in medical school and residency, it takes many more years to craft the skills into excellence. The more experience a doctor has with a condition or procedure, the better your results are likely to be.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions about the obstetrician’s experience. If you know you need a specific procedure, ask how many of the procedures the doctor has performed and find out about any complication rates. Ask about both the complications the ob/gyn has encountered, as well as your own risk of complications. You want the security of knowing that your ob/gyn has the experience to perform the right procedure with the right approach to provide the best results.
Check the ob/gyn’s credentials on his website, or elsewhere online. Look for the following details:
- The medical school they attended and where they finished their residency
- Years in practice
- Hospital affiliations
- Medical specialties, especially if you have a certain condition, such as a high-risk pregnancy
- Any records of disciplinary actions, complaints, or malpractice suits
Be sure to check that the doctor is board-certified by the American Board of Obstetricians and Gynecology. Checking a doctor’s experience level is the first step in finding the best ob/gyn for your health.
In checking out a physician’s reputation, there’s nothing better than getting a recommendation from a girlfriend who’s pleased with her ob/gyn. Family, friends, other healthcare providers and online directories, such as D Magazine, are good resources for recommendations. Investigate the physician beyond the basics of location, acceptance of your insurance and the hospital where they practice. Listen to what people like about the doctor whom they are recommending, and consider if the ob/gyn might be a good fit for you.
Take the time to read online reviews of the physicians whom you are considering. Check each doctor’s credentials and experience on websites such as Healthgrades.com. As you narrow your search, call each ob/gyn’s office and ask for a consult appointment to meet and interview the doctor.
When it comes to providing for your healthcare needs, your ob/gyn should focus on your best health. This requires his careful listening and taking time to understand your concerns and any possible health issues. In establishing a trusted relationship with your ob/gyn, be sure you your obstetrician has similar values as you and can guide you in personal conversations about topics such as your reproductive health, pregnancy, and hormonal imbalances.
The best ob/gyn will focus on recommending ways to optimize your best health. The basis for excellent health includes lifestyle choices like diet, exercise, and proper rest. Many ignore this. The annual check-up is the time to screen for disease and consider options to prevent health problems. Problem visits focus on health issues that develop and finding the best options to treat conditions like abnormal bleeding, pain, or bladder issues. You want an experienced ob/gyn who understands your health concerns and will advise you properly.
Health care is most effective when you connect with your doctor. This happens when you know that you are being cared for and you feel understood. Choose an ob/gyn you can talk to and who supports your information needs. When you first meet the doctor, notice how he responds to your questions. Does he welcome your questions and answer them in ways that you can understand? Look for 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.
Consider a doctor’s compassion and bedside manner. Dr. Fliedner recalls a story of a patient he was asked to see in the ER who had an ectopic pregnancy, a pregnancy outside of her uterus. At the time he met her in the ER, she was not his patient. She came to the ER because she had so much pain and was also feeling anxiety and grief over her loss. Sitting beside her, Dr. Fliedner invested the time to ease her worry and explain her options and next steps. This young woman is now fully recovered and optimistic about her next pregnancy. It’s that kind of care and compassion you look for in your search for the best ob/gyn.
Think about the “must-haves” that you’re looking for in your ob/gyn and what kinds of personalities tend to mesh well with your own personality and communication style. If you consider yourself more serious, would you want a similar ob/gyn, or someone who can bring a little levity to your visits? Do you want your ob/gyn to just give you the facts, or would you prefer a gentler demeanor? Your answers to these questions will guide you in deciding if a doctor not only is right because of his reputation but how he makes you feel when you visit.
Trust Your Instincts
If you forget everything else in this article, remember this–trust your judgment. With an unprecedented wealth of information at your fingertips, finding the right ob/gyn doesn’t have to be stressful. And with these tips in your back pocket, you might find the best ob/gyn a lot sooner than you think.
For more tips on finding the best obstetrician for you, book an appointment online or over the phone with Thomas Fliedner, M.D. today. He has over 30 years of experience to help his patients enjoy their best health. His experience will help you feel and be your best.