From that incredulous moment you see two lines on a pregnancy test, right until the emotional experience of counting ten little fingers and toes on your newborn, she (or he) has been your constant companion. The gynaecologist plays such an integral role through our pregnancies that it is crucial to choose the absolutely correct one.
Here are Afshan Anjum’s tips on finding yourself the perfect gynaec.
All my life I was so used to getting these little scoldings from my mother, aunts and
teachers that when a gynaecologist spoke to me in a similar tone, I felt quite at
home. After all, getting scolded is supposed to be a part of caring and guidance. At least
that’s how I looked at it for the longest time. I still remember my first experience of
visiting a ‘lady doctor‘ on my own. I was still in my twenties and that afternoon I was lectured about everything, starting from not marrying at the correct age to how many
boyfriends girls my age had in this time and era. My polycystic ovaries syndrome (PCOS)
took me to a few more in the following years. Along came a lot of pill popping, dietary
changes, yoga and exercise but most importantly- a lot of gynaec talk. And while I
was just a patient for them, I too was evaluating each visit. Every time I visited a
gynaecologist for any kind of illness, there was only one thing that came to my mind –
Is she the one?
So if you’re planning to have a child or going through a pregnancy, this is possibly
the first or maybe the second most asked question you could face – Who’s your
Almost everyone you speak to will have good things to say about their
gynaecologists. Of course that’s why they trusted them with the most important part
of their lives. However choosing your gynaecologist is a
decision we need to back up with both research and our gut feeling.
~Your questions will need a kind ear.~
Never in my life have I had so many questions in my head as I had during my
pregnancy. But I was also lucky to have a gynaecologist who answered each and
every question patiently. Even through some of my most bizarre queries.
Will eating oranges actually give my baby great skin? And if I eat loads of
ghee, will it really help the baby slip out from the uterus? Sounds a bit ridiculous
now but when pregnant, everyone including from neighbours to relatives to strangers on the road will give you these ideas and beliefs. Only one person can actually give you scientific answers to all these queries – your gynae!
Looking for a doctor who gives you complete advice on all your apprehensions is the
key to building your relationship with them. In fact, my doctor suggested that I keep a note of all my queries so i could get a clear picture once I visited her.
~You don’t want to be scolded.~
Pregnancy generally tends to make one feel vulnerable and you don’t want to be
scolded or scared at that time. While I’ve felt that a lot of old school gynaecologists see nothing wrong in scolding their patients, it surely doesn’t help.
There were instances when I listened to my heart and skipped several medicines
she’d given me. When she told me to get some rest, I was busy doing squats in
anxiety. When she told me to go for a long walk, I chose to sleep all day. And I never had to lie about what I was upto. I couldn’t stop myself from sharing the emotional
upheaval or sometimes even the immense depression and hopelessness I felt. And
guess what, every visit to the hospital made me feel better, healthier and ready for
the upcoming journey.
The best doctor is the one who has a calming effect on you and also conveys the
message and information in the simplest way.
~Anytime, anyday, anywhere for you ~
That’s exactly what you’ll need. Say no to a doctor who doesn’t return your calls and
messages. No one knows your state better than him or her and that is why it’s
important for you to feel that your gynaecologist is with you in this journey, come
what may. I only learnt this from the late night WhatsApp chats I had with my doctor.
They mostly ended with ‘thanks’ and ‘smilies’ from my end. And the fact that she’d
check on me every day on her own in the last week of my pregnancy made the bond
~The doctor is not your mother. ~
Amidst all the confidence, advice and comfort that a gynaecologist may give you, just
remember this is not your mother. You can neither burden them with your emotions
nor can you expect them to solve your problems with a magic wand. They play the
best supporting role in your story but the real hard work is your own. When I thanked
my doctor for everything and said that only she could make this happen, she
casually smiled at me and said, “It’s not me but you who did this.”
A good gynaecologist will not just be your biggest pillar of strength in those nine
months but shall be remembered fondly for life.
Mother of a little boy called Zizou. Makes good mutton curry. Afshan is also the News editor & Anchor at NDTV sports.