As a doula, I am frequently asked or am privy to some variation of the question, “Who is the best OBGYN in Memphis?” Variations include: What do you know about Dr. XYZ? Has anyone had a totally intervention-free birth with Dr. XYZ? Does Dr. XYZ induce at 41 weeks like my current OB? Can anyone tell me who their favorite OB is and why? Have any of you had a VBAC in Memphis with Dr. XYZ? I’m new in town and need a new OB. Who do you recommend? Have you ever worked with Dr. XYZ? What are they like? Then come the responses. ALL of the responses. The asker soon finds themselves inundated with options, choices, and opinions, and may be left feeling more confused than before she asked. The truth is, it’s a loaded question. People choose their OBGYNs for a variety of reasons, some of which they may or may not disclose, and their answers don’t tell you what that doctor-patient relationship would look like for you.
Where crowdsourcing falls short
Although crowdsourcing can be a great way to procure a list of options, there isn’t one single best OBGYN in Memphis. When you see an OBGYN for your pregnancy and birth, you are receiving care that is highly individualized. Your doctor is looking at your individual pregnancy and health history and drawing from their knowledge and experience to give you the best care they can. Perhaps you consulted with that doctor people are raving about and left feeling underwhelmed- the doctor who was perfect for your sister or best friend may not be what you need at all, and that’s okay!
How to find the best OBGYN in Memphis...for you
Aside from insurance considerations, the top three things to consider when choosing an OBGYN are personal connection, communication style, and similar values surrounding pregnancy and birth. Let’s break it down:
Personal connection: This isn’t priority #1 for everyone, but it’s something to consider. If you value one-on-one care, a solo or smaller practice may better suit your needs than a larger group with a rotating call schedule. If you choose a larger group, do you feel comfortable with each doctor in the practice?
Communication style: Does the doctor you choose take the time to listen and understand your questions and concerns, or do you feel like you’re talking past each other? Do you know that you can always get the answers you need to make important decisions about your care? Finding an OB who speaks your language is important!
Similar values: Think about the things that are most important to you for this pregnancy and birth. Write them down if you feel the need. Different doctors have different passions, strengths, and perspectives. Ask them how they typically handle things that matter to you, like freedom of movement, inductions, post dates, pushing and delivery positions, TOLAC, modesty, cervical checks, monitoring, fluids, cord clamping, skin-to-skin, any health conditions you already have, cesareans, postpartum depression and anxiety...their answers will tell you a lot about their individual practice style and can inform your choices.
There’s no magic formula for choosing an OBGYN, but finding one that you are comfortable with, speaks your language, and shares your values? That’s where the magic happens.