Dear Dr. Kate,
What’s the best way to find a good OB/GYN? My sister and I have been trying to find one. We’ve visited two so far, based on suggestions from friends, and we both just didn’t like them at all. One told me that she doesn’t listen to any concerns about anything that doesn’t burn or itch, and the other just seemed to have a general lack of knowledge. Help!
Ugh – my usual recommendation on finding an OB/GYN is to go on the advice from friends or family, but that hasn’t helped you so far. And it’s vitally important to find a doctor that you feel comfortable with. So when you’re starting from scratch to find a gyno, here’s what to look for:
- Board certification. Being licensed is a minimum, but being board-certified means she’s keeping up with the latest developments in the field.
- University affiliation. Not all doctors are great teachers, but look for those who practice at a university hospital (or one of its affiliates). They may be involved in research themselves, but even if not, they’re considered worthy enough to teach the next generation.
- More time talking. During your first visit with a new OB/GYN, much of the time should be spent talking, not examining (in fact, the exam should only take about 5 minutes). She should get to know your whole history—not just problems, surgeries and medications, but also your sexual history and all of your concerns.
- Makes a plan with you. When you leave the office, you should know exactly what tests were done, when you should hear the results, and what the next steps are.
If all else fails, go to the Planned Parenthood in your area, and ask what doctors in the community they recommend. The staff at PP are very patient-oriented, and really care about the health of women.
— Dr. Kate
Dr. Kate is an OB/GYN at one of the largest teaching hospitals in New York City. She also lectures nationally on women’s health issues and conducts research on reproductive health. Check out more of her advice and ask her a question at Gynotalk.com.