Children’s doctor – Choosing your Doctor and Hospital
When you are expecting finding a good doctor and maternity home becomes first priority. At this stage you need reassurance that you are in the best of medical care and that your maternity home has facilities for every eventuality, however remote. So how do you locate this ideal combination?
What is the difference between a Gynecologist and an Obstetrician?
The Gynecologist deals with women related problems while an Obstetrician deals with pregnancy and delivery. In India this difference is not that relevant as most doctors in this field specialize in both the areas.
- Start by asking around. This is not the time for random selection – the doctor should come recommended by someone you trust.
- After you’ve made a list, check the credentials of each of the doctors thoroughly. Don’t let a long list of letters fool you – find out what they stand for.
- The next stage is checking the hospital the doctor is affiliated to.
- See whether the location and timings of the doctor’s clinic and the hospital suits you. In an emergency you don’t want to find yourself traveling 1hour to reach your destination.
- What is the waiting time in his clinic? Do you have to sit around for hours every time you visit?
- What is his attitude? Does he talk to you as if you are just a case for him or does he treat you as a person with whom he is going to share the wonderful experience of birth?
- What is his attitude towards phone queries?
- What are his views on issues such as the presence of the father in the delivery room, putting the baby on the breast after birth etc. Do these views match yours?
The most important thing to check is your doctor’s leave policy-
- Does she plan her leave in advance so that you don’t have to suddenly change doctors in the middle or even worse on the day of delivery?
- Does she leave behind a locum?
- Does she involve the locum in your case before she leaves so that you are both familiar with each other?
The Hospital – the hospital and the obstetrician are integrally linked. Your doctor can only recommend a hospital he himself is attached to so it is important that the doctor you choose is affiliated to a hospital or nursing home suitable to you. What should you look for in a good maternity hospital?
- Visit the hospital and visualize yourself in it – how does it feel ?
- How far is it from your house and how much time do you take to get there, especially at peak traffic hours. Remember you may need to get there fast!
Nursing homes may give more comfort and personal touch but hospitals have better support systems in case of emergencies.
- Check the rooms-will you be sharing it with another patient, is the bathroom attached, is there place for a family member to sleep in, is there place for you to keep your things?
- Do they allow food from outside- both for you and your attendant? Is there a canteen or any other food service for the person staying with you?
- What is the attitude of the nurses-helpful, polite or do they seem keener on gossiping. They are going to be extremely important at the time of delivery and afterwards.
- Does the hospital accept payment by cash or cheque? Do they require payment at the time of admission or after discharge? Are the rates affordable?
- Do they have a common labour room? How clean is it?
- Do they allow the husband into the labour and/or delivery room?
- What is their policy regarding allowing the baby to stay with the mother ? Can he stay in her room or is he taken to the nursery?
- Check the Equipment available. Is there a ventilator? Does it have other tertiary care facilities and doctors of all specialties? You don’t want to waste valuable time transporting to another hospital in an emergency.
- What is the nursery like? The nursery is going to be looking after your baby for the first few days of his life, so it is important to check the nursery facilities
- Is it clean?
- Are the nurses helpful or are they rigid in their approach?
- What is the policy in terms of prelactal feeds , demand or schedule feeds ?
- Try and meet the Paediatrician who is going to be present at the time of delivery.
Is it better to have a male gynaecologist or a female gynaecologist ?
Only you can decide this question satisfactorily. This is purely a matter of personal preference . Discuss this with your husband and make your choice clear to your doctor beforehand so that the locum chosen is of the preferred sex.