When You and Your Ob-Gyn Don't Mesh: 6 Problems & SolutionsKatlyn Joy | 1, July 2013
We all have expectations of how things will be with your doctor when pregnant. You will agree on the birth plan, have relaxed visits where you have all your questions answered and get supportive advice along the way. Nothing is perfect and perhaps you often see another provider at your practice, have to wait twenty minutes to get into the exam room, or get tongue-tied on occasion when trying to ask questions. But maybe your problems go a bit deeper with your ob-gyn. Here are some potential problems and possible solutions.
Problem 1: Your Never see your doctor.
If you have a doctor who is part of a group practice, you understand that at times you may need to see a partner at the practice. However, what if you almost never see your doctor, or worse yet, you never see the same doctor twice? Should this be your situation, talk to the doctor to see if there is a way to set up specific appointments with the same doctor. Let your provider know that if this is enough of an issue, you are prepared to leave as a patient. Sometimes in a group practice when a patient prefers to see the same physician, the front office staff can set up a specific appointment with your provider.
Problem 2: You always feel rushed.
Some women have a tendency to let themselves be rushed through their appointments and leave frustrated. If this is your case, take control of the situation by preparing ahead of time. If you have some questions or issues to discuss, don't let your doctor breeze out the door before you get your chance to talk. Say, "Just a moment. I have some questions before you go." You are paying for attentive care and not asking a personal favor. Yes, there are some patients who will, given the opportunity, monopolize a doctor's time. You won't be one of those and shouldn't be shuttled out the door as if you are.
Problem 3: You are treated brusquely or even rudely at times.
If it's the nurse you see at your prenatal appointments, let your doctor know how you feel and why. If it's front desk staff, again let your feelings known. Should it be your doctor who crosses the line, don't just take it. Next time the doctor gives you an eye roll, offers a snotty response or cuts you off take a deep breath and break into the moment. Explain that you don't appreciate the tone or attitude you feel you are getting. It may be that the doctor will apologize and take a different approach, or it may be that your doctor rather shrugs it all off with a, "So what?" attitude. Should the attitude remain inappropriate, let the physician know you will be switching to a new health care provider.
Problem 4: The doctor never listens to your questions, suggestions or brushes off your concerns.
You ask your ob-gyn about your increases in blood pressure over the last few visits and that you wonder if this could signal pre-eclampsia. Your doctor shrugs and glances at your chart and says, "Nah. It's nothing to worry about." No explanation, no concern. That's a red flag that you need to change providers promptly. You as a patient did your job; you paid attention and asked a reasonable question. If your ob-gyn is this uncaring and unresponsive you have serious problems.
Problem 5: You are treated with a condescending tone or patronizing attitude.
If you ask about a birthing pool or some other newer or alternative birthing option and your doctor brushes it off with a bit of a chuckle you may have a problem. Don't let it go. Say, "Well, can you please tell me why you don't think that's a good option for me?" Perhaps if you persist and demand some real answers to your questions your physician will step up and provide you with substantive reasons for decisions.
Problem 6: You and your ob-gyn are far apart in your beliefs about your care or birth plan.
Be clear about your expectations and desires with your doctor and ask for real reasons why these are not good options for you according to your doctor. Listen with an open mind to what the counter arguments are. Are you being unyielding and stubborn or do you simply have a vastly different viewpoint of pregnancy and labor? With direct conversation you may be able to see each other's positions more clearly and come to a workable plan. If not, at least you know ahead of childbirth and know what questions to ask the next possible health care provider.
It's never too late to switch to a different doctor, although it's of course not the ideal. It's important that you receive responsive and appropriate care during your pregnancy. It's also a priority that you and your doctor are on the same page about your delivery options.Katlyn Joy is a mother to 7 children, and a freelance writer. She earned her Master of Arts in Creative Writing and Poetry, and a Bachelor of Arts in English and was previously an adviser to new mothers on breastfeeding through a maternity home program. She currently resides in Colorado with her family.
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