When You Should Consider Switching Ob/Gyns
No one likes switching doctors. It is a pain to do–especially when you are pregnant but sometimes it is worth it. There is no rule that says that you can’t switch providers during your pregnancy. Some women put up with poor service from their doctors or their staff because they feel the hassle of changing providers is too complicated. And we feel guilty and don’t want to make anyone feel bad. Some women stay with their doctors for future pregnancies even if their doctor left a bad taste in their mouth from their first pregnancy. Well ladies, I am here to encourage you to break free and find a provider that you feel comfortable with, that doesn’t make medical decisions based on their fear of being sued, and who will support the choices you want to make during your pregnancy or well-woman health care.
Even if you aren’t interested in an unmedicated, natural birth, there are some things to look out for that tell you a doctor has a bad habit of meddling in labor when it isn’t necessary. It is important for us to voice our concerns to the people we trust for our healthcare. I cannot even begin to stress how important it is for us to also take charge and responsibility for our own health. Educate yourself, ask questions, read books and be your own advocate!
I have compiled a list of “red flags” for you to consider as you think about your experience with your own Ob/Gyn:
Your doctor starts pressuring you to have a c-section as early as 28 weeks for fear of a large baby.
Your doctor’s c-section rate is at or above the national rate (33%).
Your doctor patronizes you or mocks you for wanting a birth plan or a natural birth.
Your doctor has an episiotomy rate over 30%.
Your doctor doesn’t fully inform you of the risks on induction, c-section, epidural etc.
Your doctor will only allow you to push your baby out with your legs/feet in the stirrups and/or on your back. (Feels uncomfortable with hands and knees or squatting or whatever position you want to birth in)
Your doctor’s routine procedure for induction is to break the bag of waters early on in labor.
Your doctor uses cytotec for labor induction. (Run the other direction!)
Your doctor makes you feel stupid when you ask questions or share how you feel about pregnancy, procedures, birth, or your general health.
Your doctor makes you feel bad about your weight gain but doesn’t offer you any guidance on nutrition or diet.
If you want a natural birth with minimal interventions:
Your doctor says things that aren’t supportive of your desire to have an unmedicated birth. For example, “you don’t need to suffer needlessly…the drugs are safe for the baby…good luck with that…”
Your doctor requires continuous electric fetal monitoring.
This is by no means an exhaustive list but it is a start. If your doctor or practice makes you feel uncomfortable at all or if you have a gut feeling that leaves you uneasy as you interact with them then consider switching practices. Emotional relaxation during labor is very important and if you feel uneasy around your birth team then it can have a negative impact on labor.
You will remember your birth for the rest of your life so it is important to go to someone who treats you with dignity, respect, and care. Doctors don’t have emotional attachments with all their patients and will not be offended if you switch your care to someone else. Many doctors are overbooked (How many times have you had to wait and wait to see your doc only to feel rushed during appointments?) and will not be personally offended if you switch providers. You don’t have to tell them why at all–unless you want to.
If you are looking for a more personal care style for your womanly health care then I would encourage you to see midwives for your pregnancy and well-woman visits. Many certified nurse midwives also do yearly exams. There are many women who enjoy the holisitic care that midwives offer but still prefer epidurals or need c-sections for their births.
Finding a doctor or midwife that you feel comfortable with may be a challenge but it is worth the extra time and effort!
Have you ever switched doctors? What’s your story?