An OB/GYN is a primary care doctor who practices two medical specialties — obstetrics and gynecology. Combined, these two specialties deal with the female reproductive organs in their pregnant and non-pregnant states. Women should begin seeing an OB/GYN during their teenage years if they are having problems, or when they become sexually active. These doctors can help with STD awareness and testing, contraceptives, family planning, and more.
The best way to find an OB/GYN is to get a referral from a family member or friend. Going to see the OBGYN is a very personal experience, and many women are anxious about it. Nowadays, most OBGYN doctors are in a group setting. If you are pregnant, I recommend you meet as many of the doctors in your group as possible prior to delivery. This will help to ease your anxiety when you come in for delivery
Benefits of an OB/GYN
While you’re pregnant, an OB/GYN can benefit you in the following ways:
- Prenatal testing (including blood, urine, pap, etc.)
- Fetal monitoring (ultrasounds, kick counts, electronic fetal monitoring)
- Test for birth defects and/or genetic disorders
- Pinpoint problems early
- Advise you on diet and health
- Advise you on pains, complications, or other concerns you may have
- Prescribe medications
- Have equipment and technology to treat any problems that may arise
- Advise you on physical, emotional, and mental changes that may occur
- Be with you during labor and delivery
- Answer questions after delivery
- Monitor you and baby after delivery
- Help you understand postpartum physical changes
OB/GYNs are extremely important to all women, pregnant or not. OB/GYNs are also extremely familiar with most conditions and disorders that can arise during pregnancy. Some of them sub-specialize in maternal-fetal medicine, reproductive endocrinology, infertility, urogynecology, pediatric gynecology, or GYN Oncology.
When Choosing Your OB/GYN…
If you have not yet chosen an OB/GYN and believe you are pregnant, you need to make sure that the one you choose is able to meet all your needs. Factors you might consider include:
- Your insurance
- The OB/GYN’s availability
- Which hospital the doctors have admitting privileges to
- The OB/GYN’s personality
- The location of the office itself
- The nurses and other staff
I recommend writing down a few questions for your first interview with a potential OB/GYN. Many women have anxiety about their first visit, so having these questions written down will help you to make sure that you don’t forget any of them. While on your first visit, take a look around you. Do you feel comfortable? Are the rooms clean? Does the OB/GYN seem to know what they are talking about? Did you get a referral to use this person? Don’t settle for the doctor you’ve always used if you’re unhappy. Your pregnancy will be a very exciting time, as long as you are surrounded by comfort, relaxation, peace, and happiness (including when you’re at your appointments).
When Should I Get an OB/GYN?
Most people within the medical field believe it’s important to have an OB/GYN before you are pregnant. So ideally, if you are considering becoming pregnant, now would be a good time to choose one. If you are already pregnant, you should see someone as early as possible. It is never too late to get care!