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3 Things You Didn’t Know About Choosing an OB

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Did you know that the doctor you pick determines the hospital you’ll deliver at? We reveal three surprising facts about how your OB choice affects your pregnancy and delivery.

Pregnancy often includes a lot of repeat trips — to the bathroom, to the fridge and most importantly, to the doctor. The obstetrician you choose at the beginning of your pregnancy may impact the decisions you make down the road. Here are three important factors to consider when picking a physician.

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1. The doctor you see during your pregnancy may not be the one who delivers your baby.

In many practices, physicians rotate on-call duty, meaning your chances of delivering with your provider are dependent on how the practice is set up. Be sure to discuss this issue with your OB early in your pregnancy so you know what to expect. Keep in mind, too, that the bulk of your time spent laboring will be with the labor and delivery nurses, not your OB.

2. When you choose an OB, you choose where you’ll deliver.

Because most obstetricians have admitting privileges to just one hospital, your provider will likely determine where you’ll give birth. Ideally, you should be comfortable with both the place and the provider, so do a little research early on. Maternity services can vary — for example, not all hospitals have an anesthesiologist available 24/7 and only some have a neonatal intensive care unit (especially important if your pregnancy is high-risk). If your doctor’s hospital doesn’t offer what you’re looking for, it may be worth looking into other OB options.

3. Your OB’s plans may differ from your own.

While creating a birth plan is a great way to spell out your wishes for the big day, it’s also important to remember that your physician is focused on keeping you and baby healthy, and sometimes that means straying from the plan. But it helps if you both start out on the same page, so be sure to talk to your doctor about things like pain management, C-section frequency, vaginal birth after cesarean and when he or she would induce if you’re past due.

Editor's note: This blog was originally published on July 6, 2017 and has since been updated. 

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