You found out you are pregnant, and could not be more excited about your baby. Unfortunately, your feelings arenʼt extended to your healthcare provider. They maybe did something that you didnʼt like, or maybe it is just the feeling you get everytime you go to their office. No matter what, it is possible to find someone that is a better fit for you.
So, why would you switch providers?
Your care provider largely determines your birth experience. There are ethical standards for OBs, but their approaches can range immensely. Some OBs many take a minimal intervention approach, while others prefer a medically managed birth at every turn.
If you feel your questions or birth priorities are ignored, that may be a sign to seek another provider. Perhaps you want a doula, but your current provider frowns upon that. It may be a sign to start looking for another OB or midwife.
How to make the switch.
It can be a simple switch. Sometimes it is as easy as calling the new office and asking if they take your insurance. It is recommended you do research ahead of time to not end up in the same situation. Follow the next four steps for the most efficient switch.
Gather your records. Donʼt be afraid to ask your practice for a complete copy of your record. It is a very common request and easy to fulfill. You can even do this yourself through a patient portal, depending on the information available.
Breaking up is hard to do. It can be nerve-racking to have to tell your doctor you are leaving, but have no fear - there is an easier way out. You can call the front desk and inform them, or even have your new provider call to request records. You are not the first person to do this. It can be helpful to others for you to be honest about your experience by leaving feedback.
Double-check all avenues. Be sure to check in with your new provider to make sure your insurance is applicable and your paperwork is received. It is not a bad idea to check in with your insurance as well. It can be tedious but well worth it in the long run.
K.I.S.S. The switch should not mean having to redo pre-conducted exams and tests. Your new provider should be able to analyze your ultrasounds and labs to date. However, donʼt be alarmed if they order further tests or prefer to do a physical exam of their own. Every provider works differently and they may want to rely on their own judgement rather than others.
What to do if you canʼt switch.
There are reasons a switch might not be possible. It could be too late in your pregnancy, or your insurance can limit your options. Have no fear, you can take the necessary steps to improve your experience from here on out.
Practice Advocacy. You are your own best advocate. Only you can know what is best for you. This can be a challenge if you tend to people-please or are a first- time mother. Just remember - your doctor works for you. Stand up for what you feel is right, and what you want out of your birth experience. Your partner can be a great advocate for you too.
Educate Yourself. The more you know, the better you will feel about the labor process. You will feel more confident in your choices if you studied up ahead of time. Know which procedures are a choice during your birth, because sometimes choices are not phrased as such.
Hire a doula. A doula is the perfect person to help you empower yourself during your birth. They are an excellent source of knowledge and confidence. However, they will not disrupt the balance of the room with the medical professionals. Hiring them as an advocate is more-so to empower your advocacy rather than to have them fight for your preferences during the labor.
Butter up the staff. It is never a bad idea to become buddies with your labor nurses, especially if your relationship with your provider is strained. They will be with you more than your provider will in all actuality. Gift them coffee gift cards upon your arrival in your labor room and thank them for their help. You would be surprised how horribly these nurses are often treated by patients. A little gratitude goes a long way.