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Sometimes, it's just not working out. It may be awkward to part ways with your doc, but it may be best for you and baby. Here's how to know when to switch OBs.
From awkward first interviews to relying on friends for personal recommendations, finding the right OB is kind of like dating. You want the doc-patient relationship to be perfect. And most important, you want it to last. And while your OB knows you inside and out (literally), it's also important to realize that you always have permission to call it quits. (After all, you hired the doc!) Easier said than done, right? With the help of clinical psychologist Dr. Shoshana Bennett, we'll help you figure out when it's time to cut the cord with your doc (and how to do it).
Relationship Red Flags
She's too busy
"My OB told me that since I was a new patient, she couldn't see me for a week -- and that if I was so concerned, I should just make my way to the ER..." -erind0213
Sure, doctors are very busy, and it's not unusual for a doc to see a different patient every 15 minutes. But remember, your 15 minutes are yours. So during your appointment, it should come across that you and baby are the most important thing on your doc's mind right then. That means she should be sitting down or standing by your side. One big no-no: hovering by the door, or generally just giving off the vibe she's ready to jump to the next patient. So if your doc has her hand on the doorknob before you even tell her how you're feeling, guess what? You're not getting the time you deserve, says Dr. Shosh. Another sign she's not totally in the moment: a lack of eye contact. If your doc's eyes are constantly darting between your face, her watch and the clock, consider it time to think seriously about whether this is the right doc for you.
She's not listening
"My OB asked if this was my first pregnancy. I told her no. I miscarried in February. I think a doctor should read your file before coming into the room..." -enion76fl
If the doc still refers to your time on the NuvaRing when you've told her numerous times that you were on the Pill, chances are she hasn't really been listening to you. We all have days where we're frazzled (and you certainly should allow some wiggle room), but it's the OB's job to know your medical history. On the flip side, she can't remember info that you don't provide, so you've got to be sure you've laid it all out before jumping the gun, says Dr. Shosh. Have you shared all your thoughts, fears or concerns about the pregnancy? At home, jot down things throughout the week that you want to mention or ask, and make sure you hit upon every one during your appointment.
"I just had a few questions, and my OB cut me off before I could even start asking..." -cdobry01
If the doc doesn't respect your beliefs or answer your questions, that's most definitely breakup material, says Dr. Shosh. Your OB needs to be open-minded and respectful of things like your birth control preferences. Of course you should look to her for expert advice, but if she's defensive or inflexible when talking about your choices, you may want to look elsewhere.
How to Break It Off (Gently)
Schedule a consultation
Whether you just want to see a change in your relationship or plan to break up altogether, don't blurt it out in the middle of your regular appointment. (Let's face it: You probably aren't going to have the clearest mind-set mid-checkup with your legs in the air.) Instead, schedule a private consultation for another day. Feel free to let the receptionist know that you're deciding whether to stay on as a patient, if you want, or tell her that you'd like to discuss some concerns with your doctor. Simple as that.
Don't be angry
Dr. Shosh advises not to go into your meeting angry, which, like with any confrontation, definitely won't get you the results you're looking for. Be firm and assertive, and have your thoughts clearly planned out so you can make the most of the meeting. If you have a tendency to get heated, have a friend or partner come with you to the appointment to keep things level-headed.
Express your concerns to the best of your ability and remember to be as specific as possible so your OB knows these issues weren't onetime occurrences but an overall behavior that you aren't happy with. Need some talking points? Dr. Shosh shares some ways to broach the subject:
Start on a positive note: "Doc, you've been great in the past, but here's what I've been experiencing lately that has been making me very unhappy..."
Be specific: "When I called on Tuesday, the 23rd, I was put on hold for 15 minutes..."
Be honest: "I felt that you were looking down on me at our last appointment when I mentioned my sexual history..."
Thank her before you leave: "Thank you for all of your help. I've appreciated it..."
That said, you're not obligated to tell your OB you're leaving -- you could easily just drop off the face of the earth. But your feedback can help her be better to her other patients, and it will probably make you feel better about the situation. What matters most here is your comfort level - it's all up to you.
I really like that! I really wish that women would realize that it's so much better when you find a doctor or midwife that is on the same page as you and wants what you want. I'm not talking about when docs are just jerks, but when they just have different ideas of prenatal care and L&D. Chances are, they aren't going to be upset with you, if they want whats best. Sometimes you just aren't compatible with them and it doesn't mean they're bad doctors, just means they're a better fit for someone else.
Thank you for my beautiful siggy Vicki!
I agree Tiffany! Sometimes I feel that a midwife would be better for me, but unfortunately midwives don't have hospital privileges out here. I hear they do but only in a hospital that I have no desire to go to. (shady part of town) After my OB appt today, I really don't know that me and my dr are on the same page. I know she comes highly recommended and is a great Dr, but I just see my birth going a little different than I would get at a hospital... Hoping I don't have to go to one!
It really stinks when you don't have many options. I was in that situation with my first and I ended up driving over an hour to my midwife with Callum and I'm driving about an hour and fifteen minutes with this one, lol. My current midwife doesn't have hospital privileges, she's a CPM, only CNMs are allowed to deliver in the hospital here. As a matter of fact, it's technically illegal to have a midwife assisted homebirth here in the state of GA. Crazy how people can tell you how to birth your own baby. There are no OBs that will deliver at home here either.
BTW, I have an old college friend that lives in Las Vegas and she had a home birth almost a year ago.
Thank you for my beautiful siggy Vicki!
That is so cool you know someone here who delivered at home
No my OB won't do home deliveries. She honestly doesn't know that I'm planning an "oops" home birth. We hadn't found a midwife that we like but I'm thinking I may need to keep searching. I'm feeling really down after todays appt and don't really have anyone to talk to it about who won't think I'm crazy. *sigh*
I don't understand how anyone can tell you how to birth your child. Especially with statistics showing home births w/ midwives just as safe if not safer than hospital births w/ obs. I'm so upset at ppls perspectives when it comes to OUR bodies and how we choose to birth OUR babies. I'm glad you found a midwife that you like. I think that really makes all the difference
Ahhh, gotcha! Have you checked out the mothering.com boards, specifically the "finding your tribe" section with your state? They are awesome. That's how I found my midwife for a hospital birth with my last and my midwife for a homebirth with this one. I also found my pedi on there. I did a quick search and found this website, have you checked them out?