When to Change Providers During Pregnancy

As BIRTHFIT CEO Lindsey Mathews says, “When it comes to birth, there are only two people with guaranteed tickets for the ride: mom and baby.”  Very likely, the next person on the short VIP list is your OB or midwife. This is with good reason, as your OB/midwife is who you entrust to create a safe labor and birth experience that echos your vision and values.  

 

So, what if you don’t see eye to eye with your current OB/Midwife?  What if the little voice in your head says your current provider doesn’t feel right, even if you have been with them forever?  It might be time for a break up! Let’s talk about some scenarios for when it makes sense to break up with your practitioner and find the perfect fit.

 

Whether you are just getting routine check-ups, trying to conceive, have been seeing the same OB since you were 13, are 39 weeks pregnant, or are even in labor, it’s never too late to switch from an OB/Midwife who is not in alignment with your desired birth experience.

 

If you have an inkling your practitioner and you weren’t meant to be but aren’t sure, here are some of red flags to look out for:

 

  • Poor Communication

    No matter the question or concern, you deserve to be heard and answered.  You should not be leaving appointments with unanswered questions or feeling anxious or unempowered.

  • Just a Number

    If your practitioner has to look at your chart to remember your name, continually misremembers details of your medical history, or generally makes you feel like you are part of a factory line, it’s time to find someone who connects with YOU.

  • Misaligned Philosophies/Values

    If the practitioner does not allow for or support things that you specifically want (e.g. a doula, VBAC, vaginal birth for breech or twins, water birth, laboring positions, undirected pushing, or other things on your birth plan).

  • Too Many Cooks

    If you are with a provider that is part of a group practice, usually it’s the on call practitioner who will deliver your baby.  There are two situations where this could be a problem:

    • You want to know who will be in the room

      If you are uncomfortable not knowing which practitioner from the practice will be there for labor/birth, a group practice might not be the right fit

    • Some of the practitioners aren’t a good fit

      If there are one or two OB/midwives in the group who you would not be excited to have in the room with you for the show, this needs to be communicated early to see if arrangements can be made, or you may need to find a different practice.

  • Unqualified

    If you are experiencing complications in pregnancy, you may need to find a practitioner and/or facility qualified for your specific circumstances.

  • Relocation

    Is your practitioner no longer in a practical location?  Perhaps you moved, they moved, or you want to deliver in a different hospital.

  • Affordability

    If you cannot afford your practitioner or for some reason you need to change health care and your practitioner does not take your new insurance, it will be a good time to explore other options.

 

These are just some of the reasons it might be time to break up with your current provider.  The biggest indicator it may be time for a change is gut instincts.  If it feels off or mismatched, it probably is, even if you can’t put your finger on the “why.” Remember, this is a relationship worth getting right, so have the courage to stand up for the entire birth process you want and deserve!

 

Jenny Werba

BIRTHFIT SF @birthfit_sf

 

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