Here are some tips to getting the best value out of your obstetrician:
01 Communicate openly and often
The best tip is to communicate openly about your situation, and any concerns you have about yourself and the baby. The more information an obstetrician has about you situation and expectations the better she can meet them. Obstetricians are not mind readers! Every time you visit your obstetrician is a chance for you to explore and learn about issues affecting you. Use a check up for what it is – both a mental and physical check point on the status of you and your baby.
02 Communicate about your expectations of birth
Some women prefer vaginal births while others will prefer caesareans. Most obstetricians will respect your wishes on this and other issues – if you have strong preferences it is certainly worth discussing. Some obstetricians may be uncomfortable performing vaginal breech deliveries or vaginal births after you have had a caesarean (VBAC). Their views will be based on their experience, knowledge and research on outcomes. If either becomes likely, discuss it. Remember that the final decision on this issue is yours having consideration of the risks to you and your baby. You will almost always find your obstetrician is supportive.
03 Treat them as a trusted advisor
An obstetrician is a highly trained medical specialist who focuses on your health and the birth of your healthy child. Unlike most people (and some who write about pregnancy) they will have attended hundreds or thousands of births and have a wealth of experience to share – sometimes even from personal experience. Consider their advice in your decision making and if they are providing advice contrary to your wishes take time to understand why. You may need them to explain their advice in a different way if you feel it is unclear.
04 Inform yourself but don’t try to become an obstetrician (unless you want to sit the exams!)
There is a lot of unnecessary anxiety created through trying to become an expert on all aspects of pregnancy. If you don’t believe this, ask your obstetrician (if they are female and have had a baby) whether they believe they were more or less anxious having their knowledge of what can go wrong and how it can be addressed!