A good doctor has regular office hours and clear, consistent guidelines for getting medical advice and help during nights and weekends. Your doctor – or a representative, if your doctor is unavailable – should return your phone calls promptly. This will make your life much easier!
When choosing a doctor for your baby, find out whether it’s easy to make and change appointments (life with a baby can be unpredictable). Make sure you understand the cancellation policy, too. Many offices charge a fee if you don’t give enough notice that you can’t make an appointment. Also ask whether the office saves a few slots every day for urgent care appointments, so you’ll know your child can be seen right away if necessary.
If you’re choosing a doctor or midwife to deliver your baby, find out how the practice handles labor and delivery, whether you’re likely to be delivered by someone else in the practice depending on who’s on call, where you will deliver, and what will happen in case of an emergency.
Finally, remember that the quality of your doctor’s office staff is essential.
“I have a wonderful nurse assigned to me, and in many ways she’s more responsible than I am for the nature of patients’ experience. She keeps me on time. She spends time with patients and answers many of their questions. She is their glue in an otherwise sophisticated and intimidating system,” says Barth, the Massachusetts ob-gyn.
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