Posted: Apr 25, 2013 10:00 AM
 
If you have misgivings about your OB/GYN or midwife, don't swallow them down. You're in charge when it comes to your body and your pregnancy. Hear from a mom who fired her OB/GYN. Would you do the same?

Jonna Rubin, a 37-year-old blogger and freelance editor, had her first child in Vermont. When she moved to Massachusetts and subsequently switched doctors, she discovered a noticeable change in how her pregnancy was handled by her doctor. Find out why she switched doctors when she was 20 weeks pregnant with her second daughter.

When impersonal care is a problem

"My appointments were less than ten minutes each (with lots of waiting in advance) and I felt rushed every single time I came in," says Jonna. Between her first and second child, Jonna had several miscarriages and had to have two surgical procedures. At her second surgery, the doctor showed no signs of recognizing her. "Instead of being comforting, he gave me the same speech about my age and likelihood of chromosomal abnormalities that was so rehearsed it seemed as though he uttered the words automatically. It was awful. I couldn't imagine him delivering my baby."

When high C-section rates are a red flag

"I had the distinct impression that whatever happened would be on his schedule, his terms and for his comfort, not mine," says Jonna. "I also felt strongly that I would be pushed towards a C-section if I stayed — which I was willing to do if I had to, but only if absolutely necessary for my health or the baby's health. Not for funsies or convenience. Worse, I did a little digging, and realized he had one of the highest C-section rates in the hospital — surgery, in fact, is his area of interest. Surprise! I had to leave."

When your instincts are important

What else did Jonna consider a red flag? "Gut feeling is a lot of it, but also, it's important to feel taken care of as a whole person," she says. "That sounds ridiculous in the age of medicine where it seems like we're supposed to feel lucky to have any health care at all, but pregnancy is not a time to feel like your care is perfunctory at best. Birth is a really personal, visceral experience, and if you don't feel comfortable that the person giving you regular care is treating the entire you gently, with you in mind (from your body to your mind to your desires for birth) then find someone else."

Finding the right fit

Jonna delivered her second daughter with a mixed midwife and OB practice. "I wanted the flexibility and experience of a midwife with the medical backing of a doctor on staff/call if I needed more intervention. They were chatty, comforting and knowledgeable and I loved my visits. It was exactly what I wanted." Though she had planned on an epidural, she ended up having a rushed, unmedicated delivery. "My midwife was funny, easy going and talked me through the experience in a really hands-on way that I can say with confidence that my previous doctor would not have been able to do."

Tips for switching doctors mid-pregnancy

  • Don't feel guilty. You're not obligated to stay with the same doctor and it isn't personal.
  • Make a list of what you want from your new practice. Call and ask who you need to talk to in order to find out if you're a good fit for the practice.
  • Ask what you can do to help facilitate switching your records over to the new practice.
  • Remember that there's no right or wrong reason to switch. Follow your gut and focus on feeling comfortable.

More on having a baby

Doctors and midwives: Is there really a difference?
What if my birth plan didn't pan out?
A long road to natural childbirth

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