during pregnancy

How to Switch Doctors During Pregnancy

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You should always feel 100% comfortable with your medical providers. But if there’s every a time when this is incredibly important, it’s during pregnancy and childbirth. When you’re pregnant, there are so many different decisions to make, and obviously you’re going to have ideas and hopes for your pregnancy and delivery. During childbirth, you need to feel supported and heard, and it all starts with your doctor or midwife. But changing providers during a pregnancy can be tricky. Here’s how to switch doctors during pregnancy, so you have the pregnancy and birth experience you want.

There are plenty of reasons for wanting to switch doctors during your pregnancy.

For a lot of women, it boils down to not feeling supported or respected with their current provider. It’s YOUR pregnancy, and as such, your wishes should be honored (within reason, of course). Many women end up changing doctors because they don’t feel involved in their own pregnancy, or don’t feel as though their doctor is respecting their needs. Other switch because their current doctor has a high induction or c-section rate, and they’re hoping for a natural birth.

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Other women get the feeling that they’re just another patient, and don’t have the full attention of their doctor during appointments. Or they feel as though their questions go unanswered or get dismissed. Also, some women belong to a medical group where they may see several doctors throughout the course of their pregnancy, and want to have a more personal connection with just one provider.

Whatever your reasons for making the switch, your feelings are valid. Here’s how to switch doctors during pregnancy.

OK, so you’ve made the decision to switch doctors! If you’re in your first or second trimester, it can actually be pretty easy. Make sure you have a list of potential doctors or midwives, and just start calling their offices! Schedule an interview to meet the provider, and make sure to ask if they’re taking new patients. Consider the concerns with your previous provider that prompted the change, and address those in your initial meeting. You may need to meet with more than one doctor or midwife to find the best one for you, and that’s OK! The most important thing is that you’re happy and comfortable during your pregnancy.

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If you’re 32 weeks pregnant or more, it can be harder to find a provider to take you on. Harder, but not impossible! If you’ve had an uncomplicated pregnancy, many doctors will gladly take over your care. If you have had issues or complications, these are things you need to discuss up front, so they can make an informed decision. Some doctors and midwives are wary of taking on new pregnant patients at this late stage, since it doesn’t give them much time to get familiar with your case.

Now that you know how to switch doctors during pregnancy, let’s discuss how to break up with your current doctor.

Once you’ve settled on a new doctor, check with your insurance to make sure your care will be covered. The new office will likely call your old provider to get your medical records. But if you feel up to it, you can call the office and let them know you’re leaving, and give them your reasons why. Maybe your doctor wasn’t aware of the concerns you had regarding your care, or you want a chance to talk to them to clear the air. You absolutely don’t have to do that, but it could benefit other patients and help the practice improve.

Pregnancy and childbirth are definitely times you want to feel supported and respected, so if you’re not getting that from your current doctor, it might be time to make the switch.

(Image: iStock / Wavebreakmedia)