Dr. Pari was featured as a guest contributor in the article below, originally posted for Glamour Health by Korin Miller.
Odds are you don’t think twice when you need to visit the ob-gyn—you just call up your doctor’s office, make an appointment, and show up when you’re told to. But what do female ob-gyns do when they need to see an ob-gyn? We talked to several doctors for the 411.
“This is a personal and individual decision,” says board-certified ob-gyn Pari Ghodsi, M.D. “Some ob-gyns feel more comfortable seeing someone that they know and work with, while some people feel more comfortable going outside of their practice.”
But Nancy Herta, M.D., an ob-gyn at Michigan State University, says most ob-gyns visit one of their partners at the office: “You just pick and ask one to see you.”
However, it kind of matters what you’re being seen for. “It depends on the level of privacy they need for the issue,” says Maureen Whelihan, M.D., an ob-gyn at the Center for Sexual Health & Education, since all doctors and staff have some degree of access to office charts electronically. “Some will go to a completely separate city to avoid being ‘known.’”
Herta says that doctors will read their own charts, admitting that it’s “a weird situation to be in.” When it comes to treatment, an ob-gyn and her colleague will typically work on it together. “It’s always a kind of dance when there’s something going on of when you decide to be the patient and when you decide to give your input,” she says. “It also depends on your relationship with your partner and whether you’re seeing someone senior to you. If it happens to be one of your equals, you tend to go back and forth like, ‘This test came back this way…what do you want to do about it?’”
When it comes to having babies, many ob-gyns tend to keep their prenatal care in-office, simply because it’s easier. Just like the rest of us, “they don’t like the inconvenience of taking time out of the office for health care,” Whelihan says. “They want to get back to work!”
But it can get tricky when it comes to deciding who will actually do your prenatal care. Some ob-gyns will ask a particular coworker to be the one to deliver their baby, which Herta admits can be a sticky situation: “It’s kind of weird to pick favorites among your partners.” However, most will just go with whoever is on call to avoid any issues.
And no, it’s not weird to have your coworker look at your vagina when you’re an ob-gyn. “Physicians look at body parts like just another exam,” says Whelihan. “We do not see the gyn exam as anything sexual.”
Basically, going to the ob-gyn as an ob-gyn is just like it is for the rest of us—you just know a lot more about the doctor looking at your vagina…and vice-versa.