A women’s health specialist can play an important role in your health and well being. Here are four tips to help you pick the best one for you.
Written by Ann Metz
When I first learned that my husband was being transferred from California to Tennessee, I began a list of the things I needed to do to make the move easier for our family. As you might expect, I jotted down “call a realtor” and “organize and purge.” The list also included “search for a good school” for my kids and “find a great church” where we would all feel at home.
But the one thing that really concerned me was choosing the right obstetrician/gynecologist. I loved my West Coast doctor. He had been by my side through pregnancy, childbirth and beyond. How would I ever replace him?
To help you find the right OB/GYN, consider following these steps that worked for me:
Determine your needs.
There are many variables that go into choosing a specialist, such as whether or not the doctor is in your health network.
If you’re looking for a healthcare professional for your annual well-woman exam, which includes cancer screenings and breast exams, a gynecologist may be the right choice for you. A gynecologist can also offer counseling on issues ranging from birth control to weight management to menopause symptoms.
However, if you want to get pregnant within the next few years, you should consider choosing a doctor who also specializes in obstetrics. An obstetrician provides care and monitoring throughout your pregnancy—and will eventually deliver your baby.
If you have any health concerns, such as endometriosis or urinary incontinence, you’ll want to look for a doctor who also specializes in women’s health surgery. Consider a gynecologist with expertise in laparoscopic and/or robotic-assisted procedures, which typically means a shorter hospital stay and a quicker recovery: two things that matter to every busy mom!
There are other matters that come into play when choosing an OB/GYN. For example, would you feel more comfortable with a female doctor? Do you prefer a younger doctor or someone with more experience? Are you looking for a solo practice or would you appreciate knowing other healthcare professionals can see you, if necessary?
Ask for recommendations.
When I moved to Knoxville, I asked moms at my son’s new preschool why they picked their OB/GYN. You might prefer to ask family members, friends or coworkers for recommendations. Word-of-mouth can be a great way to learn about a doctor’s “bedside manner.”
If you have a primary care physician, ask him or her for a specialist referral. Another good option is to call a referral hotline, such as 1-855-TENNOVA (836-6682). They can match you with a doctor who meets your needs and is conveniently located near your home or work.
I also encourage you to do research online. Most doctors today have websites where you can see their photos and learn about their credentials. One great place to start is with a Tennova Medical Group specialist.
Schedule a consultation.
Perhaps the best way to find out if an OB/GYN is right for you is to schedule an appointment. Learn about his or her education, experience and patient care philosophy. Ask questions. And listen.
Go with your gut!
Not every doctor is right for every person. Sure, I love my new OB/GYN. I see her every year for my annual exam—and I know she’ll be there if I need her. But she may not be exactly what you’re looking for.
Make sure you are comfortable with your choice. In the end, you want to pick someone you can trust for years to come.
To learn more about women’s health services at Tennova Healthcare, call 1-855-TENNOVA (836-6682) or visit Tennova.com.