Doctor and Patient ConversationIn these days of electronic and computerized everything, actual human contact is on the decline. We are so afraid of germs and diseases that many of us avoid touching anything unless absolutely necessary.

Nevertheless, in order to stay healthy, we need to visit and be touched by doctors. Physicians become an intrinsic part of our lives, performing exams in the most intimate places on our bodies, and we trust them unquestionably. For this reason, finding a new physician or specialist can be difficult, especially a gynecologist or obstetrician, so it is good to know what questions you should ask your new OB/GYN doctor.

The Importance of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

The female body can be very beautiful. However, its reproductive parts can be quite complicated. In order to stay healthy and keep everything working properly, it is important for girls to be examined starting at puberty and for women to continue regular check-ups through menopause.

A woman will visit a gynecologist for any issues related to the reproductive system. This includes birth control, cancer screenings, and issues regarding menstruation.

An obstetrician deals with all things associated with childbirth. Subjects such as labor, delivery, and fertility fall under their umbrella of knowledge.

Since the reproductive cycle varies at each stage, you may need to see different specialists at certain points. Conversely, the expertise you need can usually be found in just one doctor as most are trained for both disciplines.

Typically abbreviated as OB/GYN, these doctors help women learn about, manage, and care for this critical area of their bodies. Many otherwise healthy women use their OB/GYN as their only doctor. Just about every human being walking around today basically owes their lives to OB/GYN physicians.

All OB/GYN Doctors Are Not Created Equal

Just as no two people are alike, there are also differences in every physician. Therefore, when looking for a new OB/GYN doctor, it is critical to find one who is best suited to meet your individual and unique needs. To do this, you will need to learn more about the doctor, how he or she conducts their practice, and whether your personalities are compatible.

You may want to treat the process of locating a new OB/GYN doctor the same way you would go about hiring an employee, selecting a nanny for your child, or choosing a place to live. It may help to first think about what you want in a healthcare provider and then prepare a list of questions to discover if the doctor is a good fit for you and your lifestyle.

One of the first things you should ask for is information about their credentials, such as where they went to school, how long they have been in practice, and with which organizations they are certified. It is also important to find out about their patient load, whether they have a substitute doctor on hand during busy times, and protocols in case of an emergency.

A visit to a gynecologist is almost never easy and seeing one for the first time can be positively terrifying. Nevertheless, it is crucial to remember that it’s your health and body on the line and that this doctor will be examining your private areas so no question is off limits.

It is imperative that you feel comfortable with your new doctor, so you should be at ease with the entire office environment, from the receptionists and nurses to the doctor. Also, you will want to ask about exactly what tests are done during annual exams, whether screenings for sexually transmitted diseases are done, and their protocol for dealing with patients if diseases or problems are discovered.

Another important subject to address concerns their procedures and experience in handling teenage patients, especially if you are a parent with a young daughter.

For those who are planning a family, you will also want to learn about the doctor’s attitude toward childbirth and labor issues, such as whether they stress natural birth over using medications and their methods for determining when a Caesarean birth is necessary. Some additional questions might include how many high-risk pregnancies they have handled, their feelings regarding medical tools, and delivery room atmosphere.

The Best Ways to Find a New Doctor

Shopping around for a new doctor is not always as easy as selecting a different mechanic for your car or deciding on a caterer for a party. There are many factors to consider and some of them may be beyond your control.

In some cases, your health insurance provider may have partial power over the process, dictating a set list of doctors to choose from if you want to receive reimbursement for medical services. Physician and hospital services are very expensive so going it alone is probably not wise. Perhaps it is best to develop a set of questions and then interview the providers on the insurance company’s preferred provider list to find the best match.

It could also be helpful to bring someone along with you during the initial consultation. It could be a spouse, child, or friend. This will allow you to have emotional support, make sure you ask all your questions, and get immediate feedback after each interview.