Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

Finding a Good High Risk Specialist

Okay, this is seriously one of the most important things you must do if you’re facing a high risk pregnancy.  Find a good high risk specialist.  Some people get confused about who is a specialist or what it means to be a specialist.  Regular OB/GYNs are specialists in prenatal care as opposed to a family doctor who does not specialize in any one thing.  A high risk specialist is an OB/GYN who has gone through even more education and training, specializing in complicated pregnancies.  These doctors work in Maternal Fetal Medicine and are otherwise known as perinatologists.

Even high risk specialists have different opinions about many procedures.  I saw four different high risk specialists for my last pregnancy and they all thought we should handle my pregnancy in a different way.  I had to decide what I believed about my care and then find a doctor who had similar ideas that I did and whom I felt comfortable with.

So, the first thing to do is find a number of high risk specialists who are providers for your insurance.  Look under Specialists and then Maternal Fetal Medicine.  Call your insurance company and make sure that whoever you find is currently covered; published provider lists are not always up to date (this was the reason I had to switch doctors the first time).

Ask around to see if anyone you know has experience with any of the doctors and would recommend any to you.  Depending on the size or number of hospitals or clinics near you you might not have very many options, but if you do have options then take this next step seriously.

Call each clinic to set up consultation appointments with the doctors you’ve chosen; your intention will be to come up with a pregnancy plan from each doctor.  You will learn a lot about a doctor’s personality, his attitude, his experience, and how much he cares about his patients during your consultations.  Some doctors may ask for your detailed gynecological history so that they can make good decisions about your care (this is very good!) and, believe it or not, some will not ask for it (this is not a good sign).  Some will tell you what should be done (like they know everything) and some will ask  you what you think should be done and what you feel good about.  Some will boast confidently that your pregnancy will be a success because of statistics and others will admit that great risks are involved and won’t make you any unfounded promises.

After meeting with each doctor you will be able to choose one that you feel can be trusted with your care.  Having a good doctor from the start will save you stress and doubt when you face complications or important decisions in your pregnancy.  Now, it would be best to find a doctor that you liked before you even got pregnant, but if you are already pregnant then don’t be afraid to switch doctors during your pregnancy if you are unhappy with your care.  If you have insurance then no clinic can deny you no matter how far along you are.

My pregnancy was a surprise so I didn’t have the chance to find a doctor beforehand.  My other two doctor switches were in an effort to find a better doctor, and I had a great doctor for my last three months!

Afton Mower About Afton Mower

After Mower (UT) lost her firstborn son at 21 weeks.  Her daughter was born a year and a half later at 27 weeks.  The NICU was overwhelming and isolating and it was through those two experiences she was led to found this social hub for parents to find the support they needed. Afton also gave birth to another daughter, born two days overdue after four months of strict bedrest. She believes it is a tender experience to hold a special baby in your arms when his spirit returns to his heavenly home, a miracle to watch tiny babies survive the risks of prematurity and a blessing to hold a healthy full-term baby after months of difficulty and sacrifices.

Comments

  1. If you live in Orange County or Los Angeles there is a wonderful peranatologist that works for several different medical groups. His name is Teichiro Fukushima. He is PHENOMENAL and became a wonderful friend as well as being my wonderful doctor.

    • Thank you I will look him up. I just moved back to OC from San Diego. I lost my first baby (stillborn) at 23 weeks and had a little girl at 32 weeks a little over a year later. I delievered at UCSD in Hillcrest. Now I need to find a doctor to get us through this pregnancy and a good hospital with a NICU to deliver in since I will most likely be premature again. Now I have a place to start. Thanks.

  2. I live in Whittier just north of the OC. I can’t think of her name since she visited me in the hospital prior to going into labor. The hospital where she practices is in Whittier at Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital and she was at the Perinatal office there. They also have a wonderful NICU there.

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