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Choosing An Obstetrician: 8 Questions

Your Obstetrician – Gilbert, Mesa & Tempe, AZ

Whether you’re having your first baby or your fourth baby, selecting an obstetrician that’s right for you and this pregnancy is always an important decision. At East Valley Women’s Medical Group, Stephine Kramer, M.D., and Marcia Flores, WHNP-BC, always take the time to answer any and all questions new patients may bring into the room.

When selecting an obstetrician, write down any questions you may have prior to your first appointment. There are no unimportant or insignificant questions when it comes to ensuring your own health and the health of your baby. Below are eightquestions the health care providers at East Valley Women’s Medical Group recommend pregnant women and their partners ask prior to selecting an obstetrician. If your prospective obstetrician is unwilling to answer any of these questions, you may wish to seek medical care elsewhere. For an appointment with an experienced, board-certified obstetrician in Mesa, Tempe or Gilbert, Arizona, call 480.632.2004.

Do you have experience with my (fill-in-the-blank) health condition?

Many women have at least one chronic health condition when they become pregnant. Unfortunately, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases are fairly common chronic conditions. You deserve an obstetrician who is experienced in how your health condition affects pregnancy specifically. Don’t neglect to mention even the smallest condition.

Will you be there to deliver my baby? If not, who will?

No obstetrician can be expected to guarantee 24/7 availability for a period of several weeks surrounding a distant due date. However, your obstetrician may be able to tell you generally what their schedule/hours look like and what their policy is for off-hour labor and delivery.

Many obstetricians work with a trusted group of other doctors who care for one another’s patients. Be sure to ask about what other obstetricians could be responsible for the delivery of your baby. If you are interested, see if there is an opportunity to meet these other obstetricians.

Where do you deliver?

In order to work in a hospital, a health care provider must have admitting privileges. Some obstetricians may have admitting privileges in one hospital; some may have privileges in several hospitals. Ask about which hospital(s) your doctor has privileges with. Why do they practice there? What are the patient benefits?

What is your birth philosophy?

For some obstetricians, birth is viewed as a natural process that the body should handle to the best of its ability before medical interference. For others, an ideal pregnancy and birth is one that is under constant medical management and control with preventive procedures and risk-reducing drugs. Most obstetricians tend to fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum; others may shift their philosophy somewhat depending on the individual patient and pregnancy risk level. Be sure to start this conversation if your prospective OB does not.

To what degree do you involve your patients in the decision-making process?

Some obstetricians are more prone to (1) make a decision, (2) tell you why it is the right decision, and then (3) pressure you into accepting it. Of course, trying to make the best decision for the patient is the health care provider’s responsibility in the emergent setting. Consultation may not even be possible. But in the non-emergent setting, most patients appreciate an obstetrician who presents options or at least explains the reasoning behind a particular recommendation.

At what point do you induce? How often does this happen?

If you are more than happy to be induced, then this question may not be as relevant. If you are interested in having a natural childbirth, then you may want to ask your obstetrician about her rate of inducing labor.

What kind of pain threshold do you support in labor?

The answer to this question may be found in the obstetrician’s birth philosophy. Some patients and health care providers agree that it is best to give an epidural as soon as possible. Other obstetricians may encourage a woman to resist taking drugs for as long as possible, if that is what she wants for her pregnancy. It is important to know how your health care provider will handle this situation during labor.

What is your caesarean section rate?

If you are adamant about not having a caesarean section (as many women are and should be!), then you need to know your obstetrician’s c-section rate. As many pregnant women are aware, c-section rates in the U.S. are high. Many critics suggest they are unnecessarily high. When looking for the right obstetrician for you, keep in mind that c-sections are not entirely bad; in fact, they can be lifesaving procedures. Also, don’t buy into the stereotype that a high c-section rate indicates a hasty or careless doctor! Many factors beyond an obstetrician’s control may affect whether or not a c-section is performed.

Schedule With an Obstetrician in Gilbert, Mesa, or Tempe, AZ

Have more questions of your own to ask an obstetrician? To meet with an OB/GYN at East Valley Women’s Medical Group, call 480.632.2004. If you have any questions about what an obstetrician can do for you in your pregnancy, do not hesitate to ask. Dr. Stephine Kramer, the practice’s owner, is a board-certified OB/GYN in Mesa, Tempe, and Gilbert, AZ.

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