I found out I was having twins during my first pregnancy at my first OB appointment! Before that, my grandmother (who had severe dementia) kept saying things like, “You know, twins run in the family.” My mother and I paid her no mind because, well most of the time, she was not lucid. However, during the ultrasound scan, the OB looked at us and said, “You are never going to believe this.” My grandmother said with an I told you so tone, “Its twins.” When the doctor asked, “How did you know?”, my heart started racing.

I didn’t know what to ask, what topics to research, or how to consult my doctor. But now, after delivering baby number four, experiencing a twin birth, a water birth, and a C-section, I have a much better grasp on this life-changing event.

One of the most important things l learned along the way is just how significant the prenatal interview is to this entire process. I want expecting mothers to know what I didn’t during my first pregnancy. And that is, when it comes to your gynecological health and choosing the right obstetrician, discernment is key. Here are three reasons it’s OK to be picky when selecting your OB/GYN:

1. The OB/GYN you’ve seen for years may not meet your labor and delivery needs. The first thing I think every mother-to-be should know is that you can change doctors when you become pregnant. The obstetrician/gynecologist you’ve seen for years may no longer suit your pregnancy, labor, and delivery needs. If I had known this, I would have changed doctors when I was pregnant with my twins. The OB I had at that time started talking about a C-section very early in the pregnancy, which I knew I wanted to avoid, because I wanted the experience to be as natural as possible. The takeaway: Be sure to find an OB who supports your preferences and pregnancy plan.

2. You don’t feel at peace. While OBs deliver babies every day, some deliveries present unique challenges. You want to be sure you have a doctor who is calm in the midst of chaos and can deliver your baby or babies without a lot of unnecessary commotion. You also want someone by your side who will listen to you. Recently, tennis star Serena Williams revealed harrowing details of the medical complications she endured the day after giving birth to her firstborn. Williams (who has a history of blood clots) alerted medical professionals that she was experiencing a pulmonary embolism. If her physical instinct had been ignored, it may have cost her life. The takeaway: It’s very important to be comfortable with having uncomfortable conversations with your doctor. 

3. You have a specific birth plan. Unlike the traditional OB visits and hospitals where our mothers delivered, there are many alternatives available to women these days. A few things to consider when creating your birth plan include doulas, midwives, water and natural births, C-sections, and even where you will deliver (at home, a birthing center, or the hospital). Expecting mothers should really think through their ideal birth plan and share the details with their doctor ahead of time. Find out if they will allow you to move around, use a birthing ball, and play music. Are they open to your family being there to welcome your baby or babies? When it comes to breastfeeding and circumcision, are they willing to support your decisions, one way or the other? The takeaway: Having discussions about your birth plan early on will lessen the stress on delivery day.

The biggest take away: Your OB or provider should be one of your biggest fans, and very instrumental in helping you have a successful and healthy delivery. The traditional delivery option is not for everyone, so you should take the time to explore what works best for you. Being informed of your options from beginning to end is extremely important when choosing the right OB, because after all, it is your choice!

Nicole Esquibel has delivered four babies and experienced a twin birth, a water birth and a c-section. To read more tips she learned along the way, check out the article on pg. 22 of Connexions.