One of the reasons we feel annual OB/GYN exams are so important (besides obvious health reasons) is that they provide the opportunity to get to know your doctor better and to be comfortable with her as you move through the various stages of womanhood. A good rapport with your OB/GYN is essential once you are pregnant and those formerly annual visits shift to very regular prenatal visits – and then progress to labor and delivery.

If you are planning to get pregnant, there are 5 questions you can ask you OB/GYN to glean important information, and to establish whether or not your doctor is the right fit for you as you move through your pregnancy and beyond.

1. What will increase my chances of fertility? If you aren’t pregnant yet, odds are you are interested in every little tidbit of information regarding how you can get there. Your doctor will be able to discuss important diet, lifestyle and general health information that will increase your chances of conceiving a healthy baby. For example, did you know that pesticides are linked to infertility? Or what about the fact that underweight women can have as much trouble conceiving as overweight women? Your doctor can review your medical history as well. If you have had a history of endometriosis or PCOS, she may want you to speak with a fertility specialist.

2. What is your philosophy regarding birth, interventions and the birthing environment? First, it’s a good idea to know what your philosophies are on these things. And, it’s also important to understand that even the best laid birthing plans don’t always….well…go as planned. Speak with your doctor about the way she views birth, including birthing plans, interventions, doulas, midwives, family and friends as participants, or any other subjects that are a part of your birthing vision so you can make sure you’re in sync.

3. What is your C-Section rate? What is that rate compared with the hospital’s average? This is an important statistic. Yes, C-Sections (cesarean sections) do happen from time to time in order to protect the health of the baby and/or mother. However, the current C-Section rate in the United States is 32.8% according to the CDC; this is significantly higher than 5% to 15% rates recommended rate by the World Health Organization. In most cases, mothers and babies are healthiest when the birth occurs vaginally. In addition to mitigating surgical complications, babies born via C-Section can have a more difficult time latching on and beginning a healthy breastfeeding routine and the mother’s recovery is longer and more difficult. Your doctor’s commitment to using C-Sections as a last resort bodes well for both you and your little one.

4. Are midwives/doulas available through the hospital? If not, do you mind if I partner with one?Midwives have assisted women through the birth process since the beginning of time. They serve as liaisons between you, your birthing partner and hospital staff and can be your greatest advocate in the birthing room. Midwives make sure you can focus on the process at hand, and be as comfortable as possible, without having to make a bunch of decisions or field a range of questions from multiple hospital staff.

5. Do you mind delaying the APGAR test until I have had time to hold my baby? Study after study shows that babies do best when they go from the womb into the mother’s arms, and stay there! When your baby lays skin-to-skin with you, the body temperature will regulate faster, the breastfeeding latch happens quicker, and the heart rate and breathing rates will normalize quicker. Unless there is some medical reason for concern, you should be able to hold your baby for a generous amount of time. Outside of weighing and measuring , which can be done later, the APGAR test can happen in the comfort of your arms.

Your OB/GYN’s job is to make sure you have the most positive and healthy experience from conception through the delivery of your gorgeous baby. Are you planning to get pregnant? Contact Overlake OB/GYN to work with doctors, midwives and other birthing professionals who place the mother and baby’s needs first!