Pregnancy: Interviewing Your Doctor

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Who is the doctor's backup?

8. Will you personally be delivering my baby or another doctor? Who is your backup?

I will do my very best to be the doctor who will deliver your baby; however, it is possible I may not be available on the very day you go into labor. If that situation does arrive, then a close associate of mine would be asked to deliver you and manage your labor and delivery. And I would introduce you to various providers in my group who might deliver you.

The doctor should know her vacation schedule and more or less whether or not she will be out of town around the time of your delivery. All doctors have backups. You need to know who the backup is and have a name to call if necessary, although the hospital should also have the backup name on file for your doctor and will also place the call.

9. Will my charts be available if you're not the doctor?

Yes – the short answer.

If you were to deliver at a different hospital than planned, your records would be sent over or faxed from the hospital you'd chosen. If the delivery is after hours, there is someone who may have access to the doctor's records. Some hospitals still use paper documentation, but increasingly, more hospitals use electronic documentation, so they will have immediate access to files.

10. When should I call you if I have a problem and what type of problem would necessitate a call?

Whenever you have a concern that you're not sure about, then that's good enough for me. Call and ask because you may have a serious question or problem. If you're unsure, then call anyway. It's better to be safe.

At times, symptoms may be considered minor, yet at the same time, they may provoke anxiety or concern in the patient about how well the pregnancy is going. If a patient is concerned, she should not hesitate to call her doctor. At other times, symptoms may be more obvious, for example, vaginal bleeding or unusual pain that is not improving or any type of leakage that could indicate her bag of water might have broken. At this point, there would be concerns about infection. Or perhaps the baby hasn't moved when the mother knows it should. These are all examples of problems that should be addressed immediately.

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excerpted from:

Reproduced from Absolute Beginner's Guide to Pregnancy, by John Adams and Marta Justak, by permission of Pearson Education. Copyright © 2005 by Que Publishing. Please visit Amazon to order your own copy.


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