5 Reasons To Ditch Your Prenatal Care Provider

38 Weeks

If you’ve been following my writing for any period of time, you know that I’m a doula and an advocate for out of hospital birth attended by midwives. While I was a doula for families that chose to give birth in hospitals I encountered a similar situation time and again. Let me paint a picture for you.

While talking with your friend about how excited you are to be pregnant she asks you who your doctor is. Oh, you reply, I found a great doctor. He (I’m going with male since that has been my overwhelming experience) is really friendly, has a family of his own and I feel really comfortable at my prenatal visits (which last 15 minutes, maybe 30 for your initial meeting).

All through your pregnancy you go to your doctor and everything goes smoothly. It’s finally time to have this baby and you go to the hospital chipper, ok maybe not chipper but indeed ready to have this baby, and you get checked into your suite by the nice nurse. She hooks you up to an IV, straps two monitors on you, and asks if there is anything you need. She assures you that you’ll have this baby soon enough and then leaves to perform other job duties.Maybe, if you’re lucky, you’re in a small hospital and there’s no one else having a baby and the nurse gets to give all her attention to you. Maybe not. Hopefully you have a doula.

On and on it goes, this labor thing. Maybe you have pitocin and/or epidural, maybe not. Oh look, shift change! It’s time for your nurse to go home to her family and for the next nice nurse to take over. Hopefully you jive with this new person.

Keep in mind, if you’ve seen your doctor at all it was for a brief moment where he looked at the monitors and issuing tapes, he then taps your shoulder looks at your partner and says everything’s swell. See you when it’s time to push the baby out.  Finally, it’s time to push. The doctor that you’ve spent the last 6 months getting to know and lending all your confidence to will pretty much only be there when your baby is descending down the birth canal and out into the world.

You are instructed to push, have people counting at you, and are instructed to “get this baby out”. Whoosh! Baby’s born and, hopefully, placed on your belly where the cord is clamped and you bond. If not then baby is taken to a warming table where pediatric doctors, respiratory therapists and nurses do whatever they need to do to help your baby get this life started right.

Doctor delivers your placenta and checks out your lady parts. Maybe you need a couple stitches, maybe not. Doctor congratulates you and your partner and heads out the door to deliver another baby. Yay!

On the other hand, if you have a doctor that isn’t on call for your birth maybe you just get whoever is actually on call. A complete stranger, who may or may not have the same vision of birth as the doctor you’ve been trusting and getting to know. You would be shocked at how many times I’ve seen this last part play out.

Guess what? I know how to guarantee that you get the best prenatal, birth and post natal care. What…you already know what I’m going to say? You’ve been paying attention, 20 points for you! That’s right, take your time, money and health to a MIDWIFE. She will be at your birth, and that’s a promise. If you see a group of midwives, you’ll get to know them all (they tend to be small practices) and the trust you have in that small team will be rewarded with:

  • prenatal meetings that last as long as you need them to
  • honesty and education about the choices you get to make about your body, baby and birth
  • post natal care for you and your baby for the next 6-8 weeks
  • RESPECT for your choices, body and birth

I called my midwives countless times in the week after Porter was born. They were always kind and didn’t even sound like they were rolling their eyes when I asked the most redundant new mom questions.

Following is my top 5 reasons to switch care providers. Whether it be doctors or midwives. You have a choice. Just because you’re 35 weeks pregnant and have been seeing the same doctor since before baby was conceived, you can change providers. It’s ok.

If someone wasn’t giving you good customer service at a store, you wouldn’t continue to shop there. If your vet didn’t treat your pet right, you would find another. If your hair dresser gives you many bad haircuts in a row…you get the picture. If you’re interested in having a birth that your provider isn’t interested in providing go interview other’s. Shh, you don’t even have to tell your current doctor. Keep in mind, I’m not a care provider of any sort. Just an educated consumer, with a few opinions. Back to the list!

Top 5 Reasons You Should Change Doctors/Midwives

1. Talk of your baby being too big or your pelvis being too small. From my personal experience, I had an 11 pound baby who was 23.5″ long. That’s a big baby. I’m 5’6″. He came out perfectly and with no damage to his or my parts.

2. Talk about hard and fast deadlines or protocols. If you won’t be allowed to go past 40 weeks, eat food during labor or leave your bed/monitors…go, now. Porter pushed even the limits of Idaho law, waiting until 42.5 weeks to be born. 43 weeks and I would have had to go to the hospital or have my husband deliver at home. Yeah, we considered that.

3. They won’t tell you their cesarean rate, or don’t know it. 

4. You aren’t encouraged to educate yourself and/or are placated with words like “don’t worry about it” when you ask questions. You should be able to have a real adult conversation about any of the procedures being done to you and/or your baby. Your care provider should treat you as an equal and give you every bit of knowledge that they feel is pertinent to your decision making. In return, you are expected to DO YOUR RESEARCH and TAKE RESPONSiBILITY. Find out facts on your own and share them with your provider. Ask them questions and get answers that make sense to you. Yes, they’ve delivered more babies than you, and maybe they were there for your first babies, but they have never delivered THIS baby before.

5. Your intuition tells you that you’re not comfortable with this care provider. Don’t ignore that nagging feeling. If you feel trapped or uncomfortable with your care, go find someone else who you feel comfortable with. If you don’t know where to start, ask your doula (or any doula) for referrals. Or look for midwives online. Then interview them and continue to listen to your intuition. It’s good practice for parenthood too.

This post has been shared on Thank Your Body Thursday.

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And in totally unrelated new, here’s a cute video of my son practicing his large motor skill, jumping. He’s been working on it for months.

This post featured on Party Wave Wednesday

6 thoughts on “5 Reasons To Ditch Your Prenatal Care Provider”

  1. I went to a traditional doctor and was really happy with my experience. The doctor who delivered my baby was not MY doctor but he was a great doctor and I thought he did a great job. I had met him before and was familiar with him-the only doctors that could deliver my baby had to be part of the practice I was going to and I met all of them at one point during my pregnancy. My prenatal visits were never rushed and my actual doctor spent as much time as I needed. I also formed a really tight bond with his nurse. My doctor came to visit twice while I was in the hospital (after giving birth) and his nurse came to visit once to meet Lu. I had a really great “traditional” experience and I think those should be talked too.

    1. I’m really glad you posted your experience Chelsea and I’m glad it was a great one. There’s no denying that it is very possible to have a great experience in the hospital. What maybe isn’t portrayed in my post enough is that of the hospital births, of which most accompanied went the way I wrote, there were also crazy interventions and expectations that bad to be modified, especially on the part of the parents. Those parents felt they had good experiences too. Once baby is born, most people are really glad it all happened the way it did. Except for those who aren’t glad but feel like its wrong to say so. But that’s a different post.

      My push for “non-traditional” birth and its effects on the mother are only half of the reason I’m so fired up about it. Certainly natural birth is almost always better for the baby. Plus, and I know you got to experience this, the power a new mother gleans from being fully aware during her labor and pushing out her child is like no other. Not to mention getting to take advantage of the awesome “love hormones” that rush your body, post birth. That, and the easier breast feeding part. This is all possible in hospitals, but simply not in the same amount as out of hospital. Ok, I’m stopping :) I could go on forever.

      Do you think people would be more
      comfortable with out of hospital birth if doctors did those too?

  2. How do you go about finding midwives? The few websites I found for them in my state required you to give birth in their facility. I would like to find one that will come to the home.

    1. Hi Ana: Midwifery is legislated by state, so first you’ll have to find out if home birth is legal in the state where you live. Then I would contact any midwife in your area and ask them if they know home birth midwives, they all tend to at least know of each other. If they don’t then try contacting doulas and childbirth educators (www.dona.org). Someone in that group will know a home birth midwife.

      Personally I had a birth center birth and it was quite comfortable, but I’m hoping for a home birth with my next birth. Here’s a link that might be useful too. Good luck and let me know if I can help in any way. Be well!

      http://www.birthingnaturally.net/homebirth/midwife.html

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