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Consumer How To Choose Guide 2015

Dalton Daily CItizen, Dalton Magazine

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46 The Daily Citizen ◆ HOW TO CHOOSE GUIDE 2015 There are many questions to consider when choosing an obstetrician. • Is the doctor's staff professional and courteous? • How long are wait times at appoint- ments? • Will he or his staff answer questions over the phone between scheduled appointments? • How well does the doctor handle sud- den high-risk factors or emergency C-sec- tion deliveries? • Does the doctor have a good bedside manner and take time to get to know his patients or is he more business-like, allowing his nurses to handle the personal side of his practice? • Is the doctor a big advocate for breastfeeding, or does he freely give for- mula samples without providing much information about breastfeeding? Decide whether you'd rather have an obstetrician who is part of a group prac- tice or one who practices alone. This will determine how your checkups will be han- dled. When consulting your insurance list of approved providers, you should be able to find a mix of both group practice and single practice OBs from which to choose. Obstetricians in a group practice will each see you at some point in your preg- nancy. Your visits will be scheduled based on their rotation so you can get to know them and they can become familiar with you. One of them will be your primary obstetrician, but any one of them could be on call when it comes time to deliver your baby. Obstetricians who practice alone will have a doctor on call to handle their cases when they can't be there, such as dur- ing a vacation. In most cases, she will be the doctor you see in the delivery room. Depending on her schedule and her pro- fessional relationship with other obstetri- cians, she may sched- ule you to meet, at least once, with the doctor who will be on call for her. Schedule inter- views with up to three doctors that seem best-suited to you based on your friends' opinions, on those that accept your insur- ance plan and on whether you'd rather have a man or a woman doctor. Understand that obstetricians, espe- cially those handling regular gynecological patients too, are pressed for time. Assure the staff that you only need 15 to 20 minutes of the doctor's time. Get the office staff to answer questions about appointments, office hours and pay- ment schedules so you don't need to take the doctor's time for these details. Most OBs require the bulk of your bill be paid prior to delivery, so the staff should be able to explain how payment plans are set up. Ask how addi- tional amounts are billed for emer- gency C-sections or complications dur- ing delivery. Inquire, too, about the doctor's per- centages of C-sec- tion deliveries com- pared to vaginal births — a high number of C-sec- tions could mean simply that she spe- cializes in high-risk pregnancies. But it could also mean she tends to push mothers into C-sec- tion which result in additional billable hours. Take your list of questions with you to the interview and don't shy away from things you feel might be embarrassing. This is the optimal time to address any and all concerns you have, as this will be the person caring for you and your newborn for the next year or longer. Pay attention to the doctor's tone and atti- tude when addressing your concerns, fol- lowing your gut in making your choice. If you choose wisely, this could be the doc- tor to take you through post-menopause long after your childbearing years are behind you. H OW TO CHOOSE A OBSTETRICIAN WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW k j Decide whether you'd rather have an obstetrician who is part of a group practice or one who practices alone. Understand that obstetricians, especially those handling regular gynecological patients too, are pressed for time. k j Inquire about the doctor's percentages of C-section deliveries compared to vaginal births. Pay attention to the doctor's tone and attitude when addressing your concerns, following your gut in making your choice.

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