In New Orleans, it’s easy to get the name of an obstetrician; the real legwork is making sure he or she is ideally suited for your specific wishes and needs.
Start with the hospital
There are several great hospitals in New Orleans that offer a wide range of child-birthing services. Assuming you want a hospital-based birth, find a few that are relatively convenient to you, and then call or visit their websites to see if they have the amenities you want. Maybe that’s 24-hour anesthesia coverage, or private birthing rooms. How about a top-level neo-natal intensive care unit, or birthing tubs? Is there 24-hour breast-feeding support?
Once you’ve selected a hospital, get a list of OBs who have privileges there. As you narrow in on possible obstetricians, make sure their name is on your hospital’s list as being able to deliver at that hospital. If you’re interested in midwifery, check to see if your midwife has privileges there.
Determine what you need in an ob
Do you have any health conditions that put you at a higher risk than your average mom-to-be? Or are you over 35? Consider narrowing your search to a perinatologist—a specialist for a mother and fetus who are at higher-than-normal risk for complications. At the very least, you’ll want a doctor who has experience caring for women who have the same condition as you.
Making sure it’s a good fit
After you’ve checked to make sure that the OB you’ve found via friends, colleagues, or referrals (see tips, below) has privileges at your preferred hospital, schedule your first appointment; plan to discuss some key concerns. Think about your ideal birthing experience: Do you want to have a natural childbirth? Do you want to be able to walk around or use a birthing ball while in the early stages of labor? Or are you okay with ongoing fetal monitoring? Maybe you want to labor (and possibly even deliver) in a tub? Do you plan to use a doula? Make sure your OB supports your birthing approach.
If you’re concerned about having a C-section, ask your doctor about his C-section rate, and when he advises them. If you’ve delivered via C-section previously but hope to deliver vaginally this go-round, ask if she supports that, and what experience she has with that. Do you hope to avoid an induction? Or do you prefer intervention to get your baby out? Ask about your OB’s statistics, and attitudes, on inductions.
If you want anesthesia, how soon will your doctor let you get an epidural? If you have a birth plan, ask your doctor how he feels about them in general, and yours specifically (understanding that all plans can go out the window if complications arise).
The most important thing is to feel comfortable with your doctor—that she’s competent, has experience with any extra health issues you or your developing baby may have, and that she listens to you and your concerns.
Tips for Sourcing a Doctor
- Ask friends, neighbors, coworkers for recommendations.
2. Call your hospital’s labor & delivery department and ask one of the nurses who she recommends.
3. Use social media. Post a question on nola baby & family’s Facebook page.
4. If you already have a gynecologist, pediatrician, or a family doctor, ask who they’d recommend.
Check out the top OBs chosen by readers in our “family favorites” survey (search our site for “family favorites,” as we’ll have a new list each year).