If getting pregnant and being able to bring forth a new life form into this world is the exclusive prerogative of a woman and most women look forward avidly to this privilege when they are married and prepared emotionally and physically to conceive a baby, it is equally important for her to find the right gynecologist /obstetrician to care for her and her baby in the womb. The question that is uppermost in the minds of most women, however, is whether they should look for a male or female obstetrician/gynaecologist. But, before finding an answer to this question, one must consider the competence of a Gynec/OB and the confidence that the medical professional can offer.
For a pregnant woman, the association with the OB/GYN gynaecologist is one that would continue for several months before and after the baby is born. It is the duty of the medical professional to continuously reassure the mother-to-be that everything is fine with her and the baby and also keep her informed about various stages of growth of the fetus. He/she may conduct several tests and obtain a series of reports to help her communicate with you. Throughout this process, your level of confidence in your doctor will reign supreme. He/should be accessible round the clock for emergencies or at least have standby arrangements to cater to your needs in n emergency. He/should also be able to commit to being your doctor till the baby is delivered and also provide you appropriate postnatal care.
If a competent and reliable male OB/Gynec is available should you choose him?
This question may not have a straightforward answer because it is more a matter of personal preferences. In the world of healthcare and particularly so in maternity care, there is hardly any room to feel sexually embarrassed if a male OB is chosen as your doctor for taking care of your pregnancy. Globally too you will find a fair share of male doctors having specialized in gynaecology and obstetrics. Obviously, they are conscious that throughout their lifetime, they would be seeing only female patients and caring for female patients predominantly. Thus, there are indeed thousands, if not millions of pregnant women across the globe who are under the care of these male OB/Gynecs. What is important however is to be fully informed of all the medical facts about your pregnancy. So, there are several questions for which you need answers from your doctor/OB/Gynec.
Deciding the kind of birth you want
The primary decision you need to take before finding an OB/Gynec is the kind of birth you want. Most women look forward to delivering a baby without taking recourse to drugs. After all, it is a natural process, and your body has its built-in mechanisms to ensure the well-being of your baby and you. Some supplements to boost your overall metabolism and keep it at optimal levels is fine and could be essential too. There are also many women who have carried successful pregnancies without relying on supplements and yet been able to deliver a healthy baby without any complications. But, you need medical advice to determine what your circumstances are and what is necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of your baby and yourself.
Be bold to take your decisions
At any point from conception to the postnatal days, insist on making your decisions yourself. You need not be bamboozled or bullied into accepting something that is not in agreement with your thinking. The type of birthing that you aspire for is another major consideration in the choice of your OB. Some doctors lean more towards a C-section procedure for multiple reasons. But, when you are confident of a normal birthing and there are no known complications, you can insist on normal birthing or choose an OB who agrees to it.
Does your doctor practice with other OBs as a team or does he have an independent practice?
If your doctor has an independent practice, for instance, Dr Shelley’s EMOG clinic, what happens on occasions when they not accessible? What is the standing of other doctors who stand for him and can you interview them at the start of your pregnancy or at least across the first trimester so that you have enough confidence when the need arises.
History of natural, drug-free, intervention-free births your doctor has handled
Can your doctor provide access to the history of natural/intervention free/drug-free he has handled so far? Has he experienced any complications during such births in the past and if yes, what lessons from such experience are relevant to you?
What is your doctor’s policy on ultrasounds?
Did you perhaps know that ultrasounds can be fined up to about 20 weeks of your pregnancy and beyond that time frame, the accuracy levels tend to drop significantly making it more an unnecessary routine? Some doctors tend to recommend an ultrasound closer to the 38th week only to predict a ‘big baby’ and therefore recommend a C-section delivery to ensure that everything is safe and under control. Many women would want to take this approach with a grain of salt.
Is your doctor open to alternative systems of medicine when needed?
This is important because, for some doctors, anything outside their line of learning and treatment is simply not acceptable. But, if you think otherwise, you have every right to find a doctor, male or female who can work with you in consonance with your thinking and aspirations.
Finally, it is your ability to be an informed mother-to-be that would largely influence the choice of your OB/Gynec. Considering the nature of an OB/Gynec’s education, training and practice in all aspects of the human reproductive system, a gender of your doctor by itself should normally not be an overwhelming concern. They would also be expected to know where the lines are drawn and it is unlikely that your trust would be misplaced.