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The Right Doctor is Hard to Find

By alismith |

I think my OB wants to break up with me. In fact, I’m pretty sure that during my last appointment with her, she asked me to switch to another physician within her practice as she slathered goo on my abdomen.

She came highly recommended by a new acquaintance, and though there weren’t fireworks the first time we met, it wasn’t bad, either. I didn’t appreciate her opinion that nothing could be done to limit vaginal tearing (insert cringe) during delivery or that she asked very little about my background. But I liked her intelligence and spunk, and felt she was the kind of person who would go to bat for me if, say, the words “C Section” came up during my 15th hour of labor like they did last time.

Though she accused me of being late at my next appointment (I wasn’t), I remained optimistic about our being a good team. But when I told her I had chosen to forego sequential screening, I saw the beginnings of a storm cloud gather over her head. I brushed it aside, put on a smile, and did what any good patient would do: ask more questions. I told her I’d discuss it again with my husband, and contact her staff if I changed my mind. I never changed my mind, so I never called. No biggie.

Or so I thought. At my 16-week appointment, the first thing she said to me was, “So you didn’t do the prenatal testing.” I tried to read her tone as concerned rather than accusatory, but she couldn’t get over it, talking of nothing else during our four minutes together. At my request, she said she’d draft up the paperwork for my second chance at screening, but that she “knew I wasn’t going to use it.” I left my third appointment feeling discouraged and deflated, if not a little defensive.

This is one of those times where I think it would be appropriate to say: It’s not me, it’s you. I give you every opportunity to like me, but you see me as obstinate (ignorant?) and complicated (irresponsible?). If sequential screening is a prerequisite for being your patient, just say so.

Is there an appropriate arena for leaving feedback for a doctor? My real concern now is that if I switch to another doctor within her practice, there’s a possibility she will be the on-call doc the night I go into labor. Not the worst thing in the world, but it could add a little discomfort to the already uncomfortable.

How do you go about choosing a doctor in a new, unfamiliar place? Are there online resources that you trust?

Image via Cafe Press

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About alismith



Ali Smith is a blogger and writer who contributed to More of her work can be found on her personal blog, Ali Loves Curtis.

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13 thoughts on “The Right Doctor is Hard to Find

  1. Leanne says:

    That’s tough. It’s horrible to be in that kind of position.

    Just a quick fyi: if you are looking to minimise tearing, squat. Don’t lie down. Don’t recline. Get on your knees or squat. Don’t listen to the counting squad. If this is your second, chances are it will go a little quicker and the actual delivery will be a fraction of what it was. Statistically: second+ time mums have shorter labours and push their babies out in 20 minutes or less. ESPECIALLY when they stay off their butts!

    Have a wonderful birth!

  2. Jena says:

    I’m so sorry you’ve found yourself in the care of an unsupportive OB. I lucked into my doctor, who works in the same clinic as my husband’s doctor. (My town has one OB, and he’s for higher-risk pregnancies; the rest of us just use our GPs.) I did, though, often wonder about how I would’ve gone about finding an OB if I lived in a bigger city. But every time I started to wonder, I always came to this answer: I’d go find myself a midwife.

    Not that you can’t have the same problems with midwives, but I’d expect it to be easier to find one who supports less medically conventional pre-natal care (like forgoing screening). Have you checked

  3. A says: and (for those of us in Canada) are often good resources for finding (and leaving!) comments and ratings for Drs. Its how I found my OB – 30+ positive comments weren’t wrong!

  4. Jen says:

    That’s awful! It’s totally your choice to have screenings. That is a very personal decision. I would dump HER!

  5. Lee says:

    We move quite a bit and I have had great luck with the responses on the “your tribe” forum. You can ask ladies in your immediate area who they recommend and why. The board does tend to be pretty slanted towards the natural, midwife based model of care but there are plenty of women who use OB’s and they will readily PM you if they feel you need to beware of someone. I agree that if you don’t feel supported in your decisions you should probably look for a new practice. Full labor is not the time to find yourself or your husband butting heads with your care provider. That being said I got a little resistance from the OB I saw during my first pregnancy when I refused all available prenatal screenings. She went so far as to ask me if she could confirm my decision with my husband at the next appointment which kind of threw me. After talking to her about it I realized that she didn’t have a personal problem with our choice, but rather was concerned about her liability. Apparently a colleague of hers had been in a situation where a patient had refused screening, the child was born with a birth defect that most likely would have been diagnosed prenatally and the patients husband had a total meltdown claiming he didn’t know his wife had refused the screening (who knows if that was true) pursued a lawsuit, etc. etc. I guess what I am saying is if you have doubts you could just confront her about your concerns and see what she has to say for herself – if you just aren’t feeling it definitly look for someone new.

  6. Tonia Conger says:

    This made me so sad to read! No one deserves a doctor like that. Those tests are elective. I would switch right away so you can hopefully get the OB cheerleader you deserve!
    I found mine angel OB cause she took our insurance, was close to my house, and delivered at the hospital I wanted…I just got lucky that she was also completely kind and understanding and respects me as a person. I hate your doctor.
    I would have every friend you know ask their doc for a referral in your area. After med school they spread out so you might get a good recommendation that way!
    Or you could just move back to Utah and see my doc :-) I hope you find someone that treats you right.

  7. Bridgett says:

    Drop her like she’s hot~she doesn’t deserve to be the first person to touch your little one and you don’t deserve to feel hostility towards someone when you’re busy giving birtht!

  8. Abby says:

    Yeah, we knew we had ours perfect when I said, we aren’t going to do that and she said “Oh, thank God!” where are you? I know many-a-great places in the ATL area! Just went DR. shopping with my friend. Her husband wanted a dr. so my midwife practice was out, but she wanted a midwife experience. We found the perfect place for her.

  9. Epiphany Jayne says:

    I prefer midwifes to DRs. my midwife was great she asked me what testing I wanted done told me why they say to do them and made them my choice for EVERYTHING. She even told reasons why some women don’t get tests and other things doctors would never tell you or give an option just tell you to do it cause.

  10. elane says:

    I think it’s just as important that you be comfortable with your doctor as it is that your doctor be competent. Make sure that you have both! Maybe you can have a frank discussion with her about it, but if there’s any lingering hostility, move on!

  11. ann says:

    i wouldn’t necessarily trust online reviews. someone who had a similar situation to you-frustrating, for sure, but could have been worse-could take that as an opportunity to slander the doctor online. and there’s no getting it back. my husband is in the health care business and a disgruntled patient went on the attack online-and now we can’t get away from it.

    but also with my husband’s work, he is perfectly fine if a patient and him aren’t clicking and they switch to another doc in his practice. he usually has it the other way (they switch to him often) but there don’t seem to be hard feelings. the docs are usually just as relieved as you are if things are contentious. the on call potential is defitely scary, but maybe she’ll forget about you by then? maybe? good luck!

  12. Alisha says:

    in my own experience, we had one OB, it didn’t work out– switched to another within the same practice and it was WORSE then I was horribly harassed by the office manager when I completely switched care providers. I felt like I was being silly changing so many times. Our emotions are all over the place when we are pregnant. But the thing is, you are the consumer. You are paying them. You do not deserve to be treated like you are dumb. The more questions part should respectfully come from your provider. These are just the beginning of the warning signs. Don’t wait until they are humongous flashing lights with broadway singers on the sides. Switch now.

  13. Sarah B. says:

    When I moved to a new place and needed an OB, I went with someone who was “accepting new patients” and who “took my insurance.” BIG MISTAKE. I later realized I had spent more time researching which vacuum I would buy than who I would entrust the privilege of catching my baby to. I ended up breaking up with him and finding another doctor online. People are VERY ready to spill the beans (especially the bad) about a doc online. So Google became my bff.

    Here’s an interview about another mama’s journey to finding the right’s super helpful and might save someone from making the same mistake I did!

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