Sadly, I broke up with my ob-gyn this week. She was like an older sister minus the fighting and stealing my clothes. It was a tough decision, as you can imagine—we had a good run for over a decade. There was no botched medical advice or a front desk mishap. I left for a reason, though: We were in a long distance relationship. It was nearly a 45 minute drive to and from her office. I just couldn't swing that anymore given the increasing frequency of our appointments.
I wasn't necessarily on board with this idea at first—my husband was actually the one that suggested it. He saw what it took for me to schlep myself all the way there, hang around in the waiting room, finally get seen and then travel all the way back. It was an ordeal.
So, given my close proximity to the hospital and the fact that my mother-in-law works there, it was pretty obvious where I should be going, right? Right. I knew that my mother-in-law would gather a few good names, but I wanted to take matters into my own hands and perform some of my own research.
So I had to put a plan into place. How would I find a new doctor?
Step 1: Social Media is Your Friend
I checked tweets, Facebook and local listings to see what former patients had to say about their visits with the doctors. I did what any new mom-to-be would do—I asked for help. I used social media as my networking tool. From a few status updates, a tweet, a message board post here on The Bump, a group message on another mommy site and some good old fashioned word-of-mouth activity, I felt like I was equipped with some good leads. I couldn't imagine just looking on Healthgrades.com or doing some Internet search to randomly pluck out a promising candidate.
Step 2: Do Your Due Diligence
Don't be afraid to do your own online research and even call the office. You'll be surprised by what you can glean just from a simple phone call! From there I looked into the 12 leads I was recommended. I read their profiles on the hospital site, checked out the practice's site, and called each of the offices to get more information. Right off the bat, I eliminated several practices based on the fact that I had to rotate to see all doctors. (I almost forgot to mention that I was only willing to see a female ob-gyn, no males allowed. No offense men, but it's just what I prefer and what I'm more comfort with). So, with this nugget of information, several practices were eliminated right away. I settled on calling four practices. One was not accepting new patients and another was not able to see me for eight weeks, but I was able to see two of the practices for consultations with my new prospective lady doctors within the next two weeks.
Step 3: List Your Important Questions
Your doctor is going to be with you every step of the way, so don't be wary of asking the important stuff. You'll be so glad you did. Before my appointments, I wondered what I would talk about with them. What do I ask? Should I feel like I should want to go out for drinks with her? What exactly was I looking for? So I found a handy list of questions that would help me remember what to ask and prioritized all the questions I felt were important to me.
Step 4: Meet 'n Greet
Self-explanatory. Meet with the doctor and get to know each other—no harm in that. When I met with my two possibilities, they were both cordial, knowledgeable and took the time to speak with me. However, my first meet 'n greet felt very clinical, while my second was a little more personal. She even took the time to hear my baby's heartbeat, just because. I was sold! It also helped that she knew my mother-in-law and mentioned, "We will take very good care of you." Isn't that what everyone wants to hear?
Step 5: Decision Time!
After feeling right at home with the second doctor, I knew my decision had pretty much already been made for me. Sometimes, it's that easy!
Stephanie Benavidez is a writer and editor for a wellness company and owns her own company, Fresh Picked Words. Follow her on Twitter and Pintrest at @freshpickdwords and Instagram at @freshpickedwords.