Your obstetrician (OB/GYN) is the person who will help take care of you throughout your pregnancy until after birth. Naturally, you want to know they’re skilled and trustworthy to take on what is probably the biggest event in your life.
While some doctors are compassionate and exceptional, others can make you feel worse and confused about whether you’re in safe hands.
If you’re wondering if your obstetrician is up to par, this post is for you. We’re listing 8 signs it may be time to look for a new doctor. You’ll also learn the tips you need to scout out the best one.
8 Signs You Should Get a New Obstetrician
While these signs aren’t necessarily cut and dry rules, they give you something to think about in assessing whether you’ve found the right OB/GYN.
#1 Rushed Appointments
One of the most obvious signs that your OB/GYN isn’t up to par is if they rush you out without fully answering your questions. Yes, doctors are busy people with many patients to see each day—but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve personalized care. If she or he constantly cuts you off, can’t take the time to clarify results or preemptively ends the appointment when it’s obvious you have more questions, it’s probably time to search elsewhere. If you feel awkward standing up for yourself, it may help to remember that you’re also standing up for your baby’s health—and that’s something no one should make you feel bad about.
#2 Dismisses Questions or Concerns
While it’s important to recognize that doctors are trained professionals, we also need to honor what our own bodies are telling us. For example, you may have a side effect or complication that your doctor can’t diagnose and, as a result, simply writes off. Or, you may have a legitimate concern tied to your medical family history that your doctor dismisses. In some cases, you may have researched potential issues or causes and be told by your doctor that you “can’t believe everything you read on the internet.”
Anxiety can cause false concerns, but doctors can make mistakes too by misdiagnosing or looking over a problem. If you’ve expressed your worries and your doctor refuses to look into them, it’s worth it to get a second opinion.
#3 Doesn’t Respect Your Personal Decisions
There is no one “right” way to have a baby and there’s plenty of personal decisions you need to make throughout pregnancy:
- Medication free labor vs. epidural (read Labor Without Epidural: Is It Right For You?And 17 Things You Need to Know Before Getting an Epidural)
- If you also want a doula
- Delayed cord clamping vs. umbilical cord stripping
- Preference for hospital birth, birthing center or home birth with midwife
- Decision to learn or leave gender a mystery until birth
If your OB/GYN tries to talk you out of a personal decision, it’s time to find another doctor who will respect you. For example, if you want a completely “natural” birth, it’s normal for your doctor to point out that there’s no shame in epidural. However, if she or he tries to change your mind or tells you you’re wrong or naive, that’s not okay.
#4 He or She is Rude
Everyone has off days, even a stressed out doctor. However, if your obstetrician is constantly being rude, you may not want that person guiding you through one of the most stressful and life-changing events.
Being rude could include:
- Laughing at your concerns
- Talking down to you
- Arrogantly reiterating their experience when you question something they say
- Dismissing scientifically-valid facts to support their opinion or out-of-date procedures/practices
- Making inappropriate comments
- Rude receptionists or supporting staff
#5 Conversation Directed at Partner Instead of You
It makes sense for a doctor to speak directly to the person accompanying the mother if they’re a legal guardian or if the woman doesn’t speak the same language. If this isn’t the case, then your obstetrician should be speaking directly to you; after all, you’re the pregnant one. If the doctor makes more eye contact with, speaks to and asks questions to your husband or partner rather than you, that’s not normal. You shouldn’t feel looked over, ignored or treated like a child.
#6 The Wait is Hours
You leave extra early to beat traffic and arrive on time only to be sitting for 2 hours in a waiting room. Waiting is normal and sometimes long waits are inevitable. However, if this happens at every appointment, there’s a good chance your obstetrician is overbooking and also may not give you the attention you need when it finally is your turn. If you can’t stand sitting through your pregnancy symptoms in a room full of strangers for hours on end, there’s bound to be another doctor in town with a reasonable wait time.
#7 You’re Not Comfortable
Having a stranger inspect your belly and be in charge of your pregnancy puts you in a vulnerable position, so you want to make sure you’re comfortable with your doctor. If you feel overly awkward or like the doctor is being too rough when touching you or touching you without warning, you may want to find a better option. In addition, if you’re seeing a male obstetrician and decide a few weeks in that you would have been more comfortable with a woman doctor, it’s okay to acknowledge that and switch.
#8 Mother’s Intuition
This sign may be a little harder to point out than others. If you get a feeling in your “gut” that something isn’t right or an experience you had with your doctor keeps rubbing you the wrong way, pay attention. That feeling could be telling you that he or she isn’t the right choice.
However, sometimes it can be hard to tell if your intuition is genuine if you also suffer from anxiety. Your “gut” feeling could actually just be nervousness about seeing a doctor or being pregnant. If you’re not sure, talk to your partner or a trusted family member or friend. Tell them why you feel that way or if your doctor said anything specific that turned you off. After gathering a few opinions, you’re probably in a better place to make a choice.
How to Get a New Obstetrician During Pregnancy
If the list above has you wanting to seek out other options, here are some tips.
A good place to start is to simply Google obstetricians in your area. This will give you a good idea of how many you have to choose from and which are accepting patients.
Ask for Recommendations:
- From mom friends or family members
- From your family doctor (ask your doctor the reason for their recommendation. Some may just refer you to the closest doctor rather than someone they genuinely know)
- On local Facebook groups (this could be a parenting/pregnancy specific group or just a general community group)
- From other pregnant women in your birthing classes
- From your doula (if you have one)
Whether you’ve found a potential obstetrician through Google or by recommendation, make sure to check any reviews. Here’s how to see if the doctor has ratings:
- Simply Google the obstetrician’s name or practice name to see what comes up
- Check to see if there’s a Google rating
- Check com
- Some practices have a Yelp or similar listing with reviews
Keep in mind that people are more likely to leave reviews about their experience if it’s negative, so results could be somewhat skewed. With that being said, if you see that someone had an experience that’s unacceptable to you, it could be a good sign to stay away.
What to Look for in an Obstetrician
When you’ve narrowed down your options, consider visiting a few OB/GYN’s to see which you jive with best. Pay attention to who you’re most comfortable around and who it’s easiest to have a conversation with.
Consider your preferences:
- Qualities you want them to have (ex. kind, compassionate, fact-driven, etc.)
- Gender preference (are you equally as comfortable with a male and female doctor?)
- Waiting room time
- How close the office is from your home or workplace
- Office hours (and if they conflict with your schedule)
- If they accept your medical insurance
- About their medical experience
- Their opinions on a choice important to you (ex. epidural, doula support, birth plan, etc.)
- Their induction rate and when they think induction should occur
- Their C-Section rate and when they think it should occur
- Which hospitals they attend
- If they’re planning any holidays in the coming months (if so, who will replace them?)
If your obstetrician checks off one or more of the above signs, you may want to consider finding another doctor. You shouldn’t feel bad about wanting the best care for you and your baby. Pregnancy and labor can be stressful, and it’s important to have someone you trust and are confident in to guide you through it. If you need to find another OB/GYN, try asking for recommendations and researching to see if you can find any ratings online.
How is your experience with your OB/GYN? Whether it’s been bad or phenomenal, share your experience in the comments below. If you have any pregnant friends, share this post to help them out, too!
P.S. In between obstetrician check-ups, you can use a fetal doppler. These handheld devices allow you to listen to your baby’s heartbeat while she’s still inside the womb. Get one for as low as $19.95.