If this is your first pregnancy, you might not know what to look for in a suitable gynaecologist. Here, mums and experts weigh in on choosing the right gynae for you.
1 / 9Load more
2 / 9 Everybody says he’s goodLoad more
“I heard from my elder sister and friends that this gynae is very experienced, so I chose him to deliver my kids.” – Mary Fong, businesswoman in her 40s and mum of three children aged 22 to 14.
Experts say Every doctor has a different style, so what works for other mums might not work for you. “Some doctors have very set and strict ways of doing things.
If you have unusual requests, they may not entertain them,” says obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Christopher Ng of GynaeMD Women’s and Rejuvenation Clinic, who has had patients ask for perineal massages during birth, and dads to personally cut the umbilical cord.
“For example, some doctors don’t talk much, while others are more consultative and will chat with you. What’s most important is whether you’re comfortable with him or her,” he adds.
Childbirth educator and doula Nicole Tan says never be afraid to “interview” your gynae to see if he or she is the right fit for you. “Before you meet your doctor, form a list of questions to ask, and have an idea about the kind of birth experience that you might want for yourself and baby,” she says.
(Also read: Emergency C-section: What to expect, why it is done)
3 / 9 I’m shy, so I chose a female doctorLoad more
“I heard that male gynaes are more decisive and gentle than female ones, but I thought it would be awkward to have a male doctor look at my private parts, so I die-die chose a female one instead.” – Wang L.M., 33-year-old stay-at-home mum with a two-year-old.
Experts say Get those gender stereotypes out of your head. Dr June Tan, senior consultant in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), says all obstetricians and gynaecologists are trained to manage the medical aspects of all pregnancies and delivering babies.
Ultimately, it isn’t the doctor’s gender but the patient’s preference that matters, says Dr Ng. If you’re conservative, get your husband to sit in during check-ups.
“The dad-to-be gets a chance to meet the doctor. Pregnancy is a couple thing. It’s important that Daddy is equally involved to build up rapport and a good relationship with the doctor who will be delivering your baby,” he says.
4 / 9 Doctor first, then hospitalLoad more
“I chose to deliver both my kids at a private hospital because my gynae delivers there.” – Margaret Chan, 38-year-old senior executive and mum of two kids aged eight and six.
Experts say This is a good approach if you have had a good experience with the obstetrician, or you need the special sub-specialisation skills that this obstetrician possesses because yours is a high-risk pregnancy, says Dr Tony Tan, consultant and specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology at Raffles Women’s Centre.
But if you think that location and medical facilities are important factors for your pregnancy and delivery, then you should choose your preferred hospital first before settling for an obstetrician who delivers there, says Dr June Tan.
Choosing the hospital first because of proximity may be an advantage in some high-risk pregnancies (such as a low-lying placenta) in case of emergencies, she adds.
5 / 9 He’s all for natural birthLoad more
“I switched gynaes because one was more supportive of natural birth than the other. My new doctor was comfortable about taking a step back, and allowed me to give birth at my own time and speed, as long as both baby and I were safe.” – Nicole Tan, 27-year-old childbirth educator, doula and breastfeeding consultant, who delivered her two-year-old daughter via water birth. She is currently pregnant with twins.
Experts say If you have had an uncomplicated pregnancy, your doctor will encourage a natural vaginal birth, says Dr Tony Tan. However, he notes that not all hospitals or doctors offer water births (one of the increasingly popular methods in natural birthing).
“If you are considering a water birth, you will actually have to find an obstetrician who first offers such a delivery service, and then locate a suitable hospital with adequate water-birthing facilities,” he says.
Dr June Tan adds that some obstetricians are also more open to natural vaginal births for women who have had a previous C-section or are expecting twins.
Since there are risks associated with both natural vaginal birth and caesareans, be sure to discuss the issue thoroughly with your doctor.
6 / 9 I was carrying triplets!Load more
“I switched to KKH because I felt it offered the most specialised facilities and resources for complicated pregnancies in singapore. I also opted for a subsidised B2 ward in case anything went wrong after delivery.” – Winnie Puah, 32-year-old real estate sales director with one-year-old triplets.
Experts say All obstetricians are trained to manage low-risk pregnancies, but not everyone is comfortable looking after high-risk cases, says Dr Tony Tan.
“When the pregnancy develops complications that are outside the comfort zone of your current obstetrician, he will refer such cases to other doctors,” he says.
According to Dr June Tan, multiple births and preeclampsia (a serious and potentially fatal pregnancy complication) require multi-disciplinary team care.
While all hospitals with maternity services are equipped with facilities to take care of high-risk pregnancies, opting for a restructured hospital may be more cost-effective, she says.
7 / 9 I want a pampering stayLoad more
“I chose a one-bed suite because it offered more privacy for me to relax after delivery.” – Lynn Koh, 32-year-old photographer, and mum of two kids aged three years and three months.
Experts say In an uncomplicated pregnancy and birth, having a single-bed room provides comfort, privacy and convenience for the mum and her family, says Dr June Tan.
But before you indulge in your pampering stay, be sure to do your sums, as a single-bedder is pricier than a four- or six-bedder.
If you are in a high-risk pregnancy, and are expecting potential complications during delivery, you may want to place a higher priority on the cost of caring for your newborn, advises Dr June Tan.
“Choosing a four- or six-bed room may be more cost effective, without compromising on the standard of medical care,” she says.
Dr Tony Tan says another factor to consider is the length of stay. If you’re delivering via C-section, you’ll be at the hospital for at least three days, and this will also affect your bill size.
However, the doctors say whichever room class you choose, you can be assured of the same standard of care.
(Also read: 10 ways to deal with guilt of having premature baby)
8 / 9 He delivered my first babyLoad more
“I chose this doctor because he delivered my first child, and I was sure he’d do perfectly with my second one, too.” – Tan Minli, 38-year-old stay-at-home mum of two kids, aged seven and three.
Experts say If your obstetrician has experience managing your previous pregnancies, he will have a better understanding of your medical condition and propose better medical options for your subsequent ones, says Dr June Tan.
According to Dr Ng, this works well if your subsequent pregnancy is normal and uneventful.
“If you’ve gone to this doctor for your previous pregnancies, it must mean you’re comfortable with his style. But if there are possible complications, the same doctor may not be comfortable managing your pregnancy,” he says.
9 / 9 Private = shorter waiting time?Load more
“I chose to deliver at a private hospital because the waiting time at a restructured hospital is longer. My husband and I don’t have the time and patience.” – Grace Sng, 31-year-old stay-at-home mum with a two-year-old.
Experts say Dr Tony Tan says waiting time at private hospitals is shorter than that of restructured hospitals.
For instance, expecting mums can expect shorter waiting time at Raffles Hospital because its consultation clinics, diagnostic rooms and delivery wards are located at the same building, he adds.
They can also choose to head down to one of the five satellite clinics to see their gynaecologists at a more convenient location.
Dr June Tan says restructured hospitals generally handle more patients, including subsidised and private patients, higher-risk pregnancies and referrals from private ones – hence, the longer waiting time.
“Facilities and services are also structured, so patients may have to visit different departments for different services,” she adds.
If you have a normal, low-risk pregnancy, she says you can consider seeing a midwife at KKH’s Midwife-led Clinic after 24 weeks of pregnancy, for certain follow-up visits.