Did you know you can fire your care provider?
This includes your OB, midwife, nurse, doula, anesthesiologist or anyone else who is a member of your care team.
Want to know why?
Because you have rights as a patient. You have rights while pregnant. Rights while in labor. Rights while giving birth. Rights in the postpartum period. And rights in EVERY SINGLE ASPECT of health care.
And bloody hell, you are paying these people are you not?!?!
I would stand to guess if you went to eat at a restaurant and they served you un-edible food – burnt, moldy, extremely salty, etcetera – you would send it back. You would expect better quality and service for something you are paying for.
Why should your health care be any different?
Why I fired by OB.
I had great OBs during my first two pregnancies who I felt I could trust, who honored my wishes for unmedicated births, used the positive birth terminology I preferred, and treated me like a human, not just the next person on the schedule.
My OB I had been seeing during my second pregnancy moved out of state a couple weeks before I found out I was pregnant with my third child. With OB/GYN appointments still being backed up because of COVID restrictions I felt I sense of urgency to find a provider quickly.
I asked some co-workers, neighbors, and a few local mom groups about who they would recommend and settled on a physician who I heard great things about.
During my first visit she came in my room not even knowing my name (I saw her fumbling through the chart to find it as she entered my room after I waited for more than 35 minutes). I told her I had two previously uncomplicated pregnancies and unmedicated hospital births and stated this was my plan again this time.
She responded with, “we will see what happens.”
I should have known then she was not the right fit for me.
Second appointment I waited an extended period of time again (~45 minutes) before she came into my exam room. She knew my name this time but nothing about me or my pregnancy.
“Is this your second or third pregnancy? Oh yeah, I see in the chart it’s your third.”
Not very reassuring…
This never happened with my previous OBs. They always came in knowing everything about my current pregnancy and even asking about my husband, by name, and other children. These past providers likely looked this information up prior to entering my room but at least I felt l they cared enough to know me as an individual.
During my third visit (my 20-week scan) I decided to see a different OB within the practice.
This OB came flying into the room, quickly introduced herself, and proceeded to tell me they found a small abnormality on the scan (don’t worry everything ended up being just fine) and that the neonatology office would give me a call within the next 72 hours to schedule a follow-up scan.
Then she stood up and started to walk toward the door.
No, do you have any questions about the terrifying news I just told you? No, do you have any questions about your pregnancy?
I was appalled by this behavior and stopped her before she actually left the room to ask questions.
She downplayed my concerns about the ultrasound and my comments about pain on the right side of my abdomen. I was in tears by this point.
Leaving this appointment, I knew I was going to fire my OB and the entire OB practice I was visiting. It was time to switch care to a midwife and hopefully receive the care I so desperately wanted and deserved.
This is not just a job for me. This is my baby’s and my health on the line.
I deserve to have the best experience possible with care providers who treat me with respect.
How to choose a care provider while pregnant.
One of the best ways to increase the odds of choosing the right care provider for you is to interview providers before committing to care. A good rule of thumb is to interview three different people.
Some practices will allow you to set up actual interview times – typically 15-minute appointments – where you meet with the care provider discuss your expectations and determine if they are a good fit. This interview can be gold for weeding out those who straight up don’t want to consider your preferences in pregnancy, labor and birth.
Be sure to come up with a list of questions before hand and ask all providers the same 3-5 questions for comparison while still having a few wild-card questions available as well.
Here are my top 5 multi-part questions to ask your OB or midwife in an interview:
How long are wait times to schedule appointments within your practice and how long will I wait when I arrive for these appointments?
What is your rate of unassisted vaginal births? Inductions? C-sections?
How many people work in this practice? What is the likelihood of you being the provider who attends my birth?
How do you and your colleagues feel about birth plans and honoring the wishes of me as a patient?
What are your thoughts regarding food/drink in labor, labor/birth positions, and movement in labor?
These questions are pretty comprehensive and will likely give you a good feel for how willing your provider is to be flexible with the birth process or if they are “their way or the highway” type of provider.
How has your experience with your care provider in pregnancy been? Have you ever had to fire someone from your medical team?