No two women are the same, and this is perhaps even more true when it comes to the pregnancy journey. Every mum-to-be has different physical needs, as well as hopes, wishes and wants. In other words, a dream obstetrician-gynaecologist (obgyn) for one woman may be a nightmare match for another. So how should you go about finding the right gynae for YOU? This obgyn-shopping checklist should help narrow things down.
1. Decide on Gynae’s Gender
You may not be able to dictate whether you’re expecting a girl or a boy, but you can certainly choose the gender of your doctor. Some ladies are more comfortable with a fellow female, while others swear by their male gynae. If you have no preference, move on to #2.
2. Ask for Gynae Recommendations
Check with friends and relatives who have given birth if they had positive experiences with their gynaes. They may also be able to answer basic questions, such as if their gynae is open to water births or the presence of a doula, if that’s something you’re considering, for instance.
3. Get a Referral
Do you have a general practitioner (GP) or family doctor who knows your medical history and is someone you trust? Why not consult them? Like with having to see any other specialist, a GP will be able to refer you to an obgyn associate.
4. Find Gynae Reviews Online
Not planning to announce your pregnancy to the world yet? Trawl local parenting forums like SingaporeMotherhood, Facebook groups and Telegram channels for reviews. Already narrowed it down to a handful of possibilities? See what mums who’ve been there, done that have to say.
5. Consider Experience and Specialisations
It’s not unlike hiring an employee — looking into a potential gynae’s track record and specialised areas can be a good idea. This is especially pertinent if you have complicated needs, such as fertility problems, pre-existing medical conditions, or if you’re having twins!
6. Decide How Far You’re Willing to Travel
While it may seem like a rather frivolous factor, the location of your gynae’s clinic can make a difference. After all, the last thing you want to do is travel long distances unnecessarily when you’re heavy with child. Consider a gynae whose clinic is close to your home or office.
7. Take Accessibility into Account
Good doctors are always busy, but you want one who takes the time to answer your questions. Can you get an appointment at the last-minute if need be? You also don’t want to spend hours in the waiting room for a routine prenatal check-up.
8. Factor in Your Preferred Hospital for Delivery
Where you give birth is an important consideration. Deciding factors may include private versus public hospitals, maternity packages offered at individual hospitals, and hospital locations. Check if your potential gynae is affiliated with your choice of hospital.
9. Examine Services Offered
Smaller clinics may not have all the facilities needed for certain prenatal procedures. Are you okay with going elsewhere in those cases? If not, you may prefer a gynae whose clinic is part of a one-stop centre with a comprehensive pre-delivery package.
10. Ask about Contingency Plans
Is your potential gynae a sole practitioner or part of a larger practice? If your doctor is away, who covers for them? Do they attend to emergencies outside of regular hours? These are questions you should have answers to before you decide.
11. Think about Affordability
Finding the ideal gynae is all well and good, but we have to be practical too. Can you afford a gynae in private practice or should you go to a subsidised clinic? Check if your maternity insurance policy covers your choice of gynae, and remember to save pre-delivery bills for MediSave claims.
Remember, it’s fine to go gynae-hopping before you settle on Dr Right. Schedule an appointment for a chat and ask lots of questions. Get their opinion on issues like your medical history, birthing methods, alternative therapies, even your personal or religious choices. If you’re not absolutely comfortable, move on to the next gynae on your list. Listen to your maternal instincts and don’t compromise. After all, you’re not only entrusting yourself, but also your little bundle of joy, to this doctor!