A gynaecological exam can be the most intimate healthcare test every woman has to experience. The things that make you tense—such as the speculums and questions about your sexual lifestyle—are the necessary tools to help define your reproductive health and wellness. Your specialist screens you for diseases, finds solution to below-the-belt problems, and helps you plan for maternity—whether it means assisting you with or preventing pregnancy. And whatever your reason is for the visit, you know that there’s a good chance for this person to throw on some gloves, spread your legs, and dive towards the most private part of your body; so make sure that this person is a keeper. Here, we share to you some tips for picking a women’s health specialist you’re comfortable with.
How important is the doctor’s personality for you? If it’s of utmost importance for you, you may want to consider meeting a potential gynaecologist for an informational interview or for a “get-to-know-you” appointment. Feeling completely comfortable with your specialist is paramount.
Consider the location of the specialist’s office. How far are you willing to travel? Do you want your doctor to be close to your office or home? Are you getting there through car or public transportation? Do you need your specialist available at night and during weekends? Make sure to check through all these before deciding to meet up with a professional.
3. Doctor’s Gender
The age, race, and other commonalities may be important to you. Some women may feel more comfortable with female doctors and want to see a female gynae from Thomson Medical while others may feel differently. However, remember that while sharing the same values is nice, it’s still much more important to feel like you and your values are valued more by your specialist.
Some women prefer a specialist who is based in a hospital, some prefer with private practices, while others are limited to the gynae list provided by their healthcare plan provider. However, the aforementioned qualifications aren’t enough to evaluate a specialist’s skills. Whoever it is you wish to hire should make you feel confident and comfortable.
5. Pregnancy Talks
Are you planning to get pregnant? If so, look for a gynaecologist who also practices obstetrics. If this goal is far in the future, this may be irrelevant for now, but remember that you will have to switch to an OB once you get pregnant.
If you experience difficulty in getting pregnant, you may want to talk to a reproductive endocrinologist—a sub-specialist in infertility. In looking for an infertility specialist, the same criteria apply, along with these unique considerations:
• In Vitro Fertilization or IVF
In Vitro Fertilization is a fertilization process by manually merging an egg cell and sperm cell in a laboratory petri dish, and then injecting the embryo to the woman’s uterus. Ask the specialist if she has performed an IVF treatment before; if so, find out the success rate for patients who have had similar cases to yours.
• The Cost
Don’t hesitate to ask about the cost. Most expenses for infertility treatments aren’t covered by insurance, and this can cost you a considerable amount of money. Many Singapore specialists who do IVF treatment have financial counsellors on staff to assist patients in the financial aspect. Make sure the prices the doctor quotes include all the necessary tests and miscellaneous. Be aware that the prices are often quoted per treatment session, and most couple need more than one session to make pregnancy possible.
Obstetrics and gynaecology often have many tests involved, making convenience a concern. Find out whether ultrasound and blood tests, for example, can be done in the clinic or you’ll have to travel to another location to have them done. There are also treatments that has to be done on particular days of your menstrual cycle; ask the doctor if she has staff and technicians available seven days a week and during holidays.
If you’re already pregnant, know whether you need an OB who specializes in high-risk pregnancies. Common reasons why you may need a specialist in maternal fetal medicine include having diagnosed with medical problems, having multiple babies (e.g. twins, triplets), or having history of miscarriage. Choosing an Ob-Gyn applies the same aforementioned tips, but some additional criteria may have to be considered, such as the following:
• The Hospital Where You Want to Deliver
Many obstetricians serve in more than one hospital. It’s important to know that your OB delivers at the hospital of your choice. Also consider the distance of the hospital from your home as this can be a major factor in case of emergencies.
• Specific Hospital Needs
Some important things to keep in mind are whether there are limitations from your insurance company, whether you need/want an Intensive Care Nursery, whether you want an exclusive birthing room, whether you want a midwife to do the delivery and your OB to supervise, whether you want your child to be circumcised, and the hospital’s visiting policies.
• The Ob-Gyn’s Staff
Do you feel comfortable with the OB’s staff? Will you be given a chance to meet your potential ob-gyn’s group? Consider the fact that you may give birth when your OB is off duty. Therefore, feeling comfortable and confident with who is around is highly important.
Hopefully, with these tips, it’s easier to find the right gynae or Ob-gynae for you. However, also consider that it takes more than one meeting for you and your specialist to establish a comfortable relationship. In case this doesn’t happen after several meetings, listen to your instincts. You should not feel obligated to see a healthcare provider if you feel uneasy around them.