Deciding between prenatal care clinics is a big decision. After all, you are choosing the professional who will guide you through one of the most important journeys of your life. They will be responsible for helping you navigate the risks and complexities of modern pregnancy and bring your little bundle of joy home safe and sound nine months from now.

So, how do you choose a prenatal care program? How do you even know what to look for in prenatal care doctors?

If you’re asking yourself these questions, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, you’ll find all the information you need to select the perfect prenatal care clinic for your pregnancy to keep you and your unborn baby as healthy as possible.

How to Find the Best Prenatal Care Clinics for You

Choosing a prenatal care program can be difficult, especially if you have no experience with pregnancy or did not anticipate becoming pregnant at this time in your life. You may have a local gynecologist that you utilize, but you may not have a prenatal care doctor or obstetrician that you know and trust. So, how do you find the one who is right for you?

Every woman should do diligent research on clinics for prenatal care and evaluate what her personal goals for prenatal care are before getting started. If you are looking for prenatal health care providers, there are a few steps you may take in your search:

Step 1: Understand Your Different Prenatal Care Provider Options.

Most women who receive prenatal care receive it from obstetricians. Often, they have an existing relationship with a gynecologist, who either can serve as their obstetrician or can refer them to a trusted obstetrician in the same office.

But, if you don’t yet have an obstetrician in mind, it can be difficult to know what your options are for prenatal care programs. If you’re wondering where to go for prenatal care, consider:

  • Your local women’s healthcare providers (local OB/GYNs)
  • Your regular family doctor
  • Family-planning clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Birthing centers

Prenatal care doesn’t always have to be provided in an obstetrician’s office. The definition of prenatal care has changed over the years, and many practitioners have added these services to their previously existing programs.

Consider calling around to your local medical providers to determine if they offer prenatal care programs for women like you.

Step 2: Understand Your Personal Pregnancy Needs.

Because every woman’s pregnancy is different, some women will require different prenatal care services than others. You may know ahead of time that you will have a high-risk pregnancy, or that certain chronic conditions you have will affect your pregnancy and developing baby. It’s important to keep those in mind while searching for prenatal care providers. You may need to work with a doctor who specializes in your conditions to have the healthiest pregnancy possible.

If your initial prenatal care appointment brings up some concerns for the provider you initially visit, you may be referred to another professional for the remainder of your prenatal care schedule.

Step 3: Look at Your Insurance and Budget.

Another factor to consider while researching clinics for prenatal care is your personal financial situation. If you already have insurance, you will usually need to choose from a list of “in-network” providers to receive your insurance benefits. That’s why one of your first calls when searching for prenatal care clinics should be to your insurance provider — to get a basic list of doctors to choose from.

If you do not have insurance, you can always apply for an alternative insurance policy such as Medicaid. If you pursue prenatal health care without insurance, you will need to talk at length with potential prenatal care doctors to determine what their costs are and whether they fit into your personal budget.

Step 4: Meet with Potential Prenatal Care Providers.

Once you have a list of a few prenatal care programs, you will want to get to know them before deciding who will accompany you on your pregnancy journey. You might be able to find reviews for the doctors online, and the offices should have administrative assistants or nurses who can answer your initial questions over the phone. Some doctors may even be willing to sit down for a free consultation to help you feel more at ease with your choice.

Usually, you will know when you have found the right prenatal care center for your needs. The perfect medical professional will:

  • Make you feel comfortable
  • Allow you to ask as many questions as you want
  • Be thorough with your medical history and your exams
  • Be honest about your situation and provide any extra support you may need

Step 5: Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your Mind.

Sometimes, a prenatal care program doesn’t quite fit your needs. That’s okay; you always have the right to change professionals, if you desire. This is your pregnancy, and it’s important you feel comfortable every step of the way.

If you go to one professional for your initial prenatal care appointment, and find yourself uncomfortable, not listened to or taken seriously, please take steps to find a better professional to guide you through the next nine months. There are plenty of prenatal care doctors out there, and you can certainly find the one that is right for your personal goals and expectations.

Wherever you decide to obtain your prenatal care, make sure you take the time and effort to find the professional who is right for you and your unborn baby.

Does Planned Parenthood Offer Prenatal Care?

It’s very common for women who are facing unplanned pregnancies to want to find low-cost prenatal care clinics for their pregnancy. After all, many of these women are not financially prepared for the costs of pregnancy (because they weren’t anticipating becoming pregnant in the first place). So, they often ask: Does Planned Parenthood provide prenatal care?

The answer is yes! Certain Planned Parenthood health centers can provide the care you need. Doctors at these prenatal care centers can provide screening, testing, checkups and anything else that may be necessary for your pregnancy. Just as other prenatal care providers would, these professionals will often refer you to a more specialized prenatal care clinic if your pregnancy requires more medical support.

Prenatal care at Planned Parenthood is not available everywhere. We encourage you to contact your local Planned Parenthood location to learn more about whether prenatal care is available for you. If your Planned Parenthood does not offer prenatal care, a medical professional at that center will be able to provide references to low-cost prenatal care clinics near you.

When you’re searching for prenatal care providers, remember to keep this one thing in mind: You are the one in charge of your pregnancy. Find the provider who is right for you and your baby, and you will be off to the healthy start your pregnancy needs!