“Believe it or not, I had never seen a gynaecologist before that. I wanted to be sure that I was indeed pregnant, so besides my husband, I didn’t want to tell anyone until we had gone to the gynae,” recalls Vanessa, who is now 7 months pregnant.
She then did what most people would do ― “I turned to Google,” she chuckles. Looking up terms like “Best gynae in Singapore” and “Singapore gynaecologist reviews”, she armed herself with several clinics’ phone numbers and started making calling.
“In the end, we went with my current gynae, because there was an appointment slot available that weekend, and the nurse on the phone was very pleasant!” Chang says.
After all, she adds, “I would like it to be an enjoyable experience” as she would have call the clinic every now and then over the next nine months or so.
So, whatever criteria you have when it comes to choosing your Ob-Gynae, it’s important to realise that this person will be responsible for you and your baby’s well-being throughout your pregnancy, labour and delivery.
Here are tips to make the right decision.
1. Get recommendations
A good start in your gynae search would be to ask for recommendations. Your best pals, a sister, or a colleague may be able to share with you why they picked their own doctors.
Find out what they like about him or her, and why they would recommend him or her to you. Perhaps they like the doctor’s demeanor, or maybe the doctor has a tremendous amount of experience.
Is there a 24-hour hotline you can call in case of emergencies? What happens if the doctor’s out of town when you’re about to give birth?
Think about your own criteria for your ideal gynae ― is he or she soft spoken or chatty? Is he or she forthcoming with information, or more reserved with the comments? Whatever the case, their recommendations should give you a good feeling. Otherwise, move on.
2. Do your research
There are plenty of online resources these days. Besides searching for individual gynae reviews, check out local parenting forums and websites. Blogs are another resource ― other parents often write about their gynae visits in their social media pages.
Learn more about the gynaes’ policies ― are they readily accessible? Is there a 24-hour hotline you can call in case of emergencies? What happens if the doctor’s out of town when you’re about to give birth?
Don’t hesitate to call the clinic if you need someone to clarify pressing questions.
3. Factor in the cost
Having a baby doesn’t come cheap. Each gynae visit will set you back $120 to $200, and you’ll need to see the doctor at least once a month. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of your prenatal supplements, too.
There’s also the delivery cost to consider. Gynae fees for a normal delivery starts at around $1,500 ― there’ll be additional costs if an assisted delivery (using forceps, for instance) or a C-section is needed.
Making several phone calls should help you determine the fees that your potential gynaecologist will charge.
4. Think about the distance
Where your gynae’s clinic is located is important. Tok Ai Yin, mum to Chelsea, 4, used to see a gynae at Thomson Medical. Tok, who lives in Sengkang, found herself spotting regularly in her first trimester.
“When it happened the first time, I was 9 weeks pregnant. I panicked and we rushed to the nearest gynae, which was located at a mall next to my place,” she recalls. “I then realised the value of having a doctor located close to me, so we decided to make the switch.”
5. Decide on the gender
Not on your baby ― but the doctor. Some women (or their husbands) find it awkward to have a male gynae, or you may feel that a female gynae may be able to understand your needs better. It’s a good idea to discuss this issue as a couple, before deciding which direction to take.
6. Factor in yours and your baby’s health
If you have certain medical conditions ― like diabetes or thyroid issues ― you may need special care during your pregnancy. If so, you may want to consider seeing a doctor who has treated expectant mums with that particular health condition.
Women with a high-risk pregnancy may also want to pick a gynae who specialises in these conditions. For example, you may be an older mum, are carrying multiples or a special needs baby, or you may have had previous miscarriages.
“I then realised the value of having a doctor located close to me, and we decided to make the switch.”
7. Choose the hospital you want to deliver at
There are some doctors who only deliver at a particular hospital, otherwise, you may have “top up” the doctor fees to deliver at the hospital of your choice.
Genevieve Goh, who is 7 months pregnant, is determined to deliver at Mount Alvernia Hospital because she is Catholic, plus, she liked the environment. “So, when I had to choose a gynae, I naturally looked at the clinics located at that particular hospital,” she explains.
8. Ask about the preferred birthing method
You may have your ideal birth plan in mind, but, well, things don’t always go according to plan. For instance, your baby might get really big, or you may have a breech baby. In these situations, some doctors may recommend a C-section.
If you are determined to deliver naturally, you’ll need to go to a doctor who is confident, willing, and has adequate experience in this area. Some doctors are willing to do VBACs, but others aren’t.
Kimberly Tan, mum to Jarrod, 4, was put off by the first gynaecologist she visited, because he told her, “You’re very small-sized, it’s likely you will give birth via a C-section.”
Tan later went to another gynae who encouraged her to try for a natural birth, and she successfully delivered her 3.2kg baby naturally. “I didn’t like knowing that I couldn’t choose my preferred delivery method with the initial gynae. Thankfully, I didn’t give in.”
9. Assess how comfortable you are
From your first visit, you should be able to tell whether you can “click” with your gynae. You’ll need to be able to consult someone you are comfortable with, nor be afraid to ask embarrassing questions ― you should also settle for someone whom you can understand clearly.
Don’t fret, just because you aren’t comfortable with your initial choice or doctor, it doesn’t mean you’ll have to stick with it! You can always make the switch, so that you’ll get that amazing birthing experience you’d always dreamed of.
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