“Always follow your gut,” says Sharon Muza, BS, CD(DONA), BDT(DONA) LCCE, FACCE, a Seattle, WA, area doula and childbirth educator at New Moon Birth. “If you aren’t ‘feeling the love’ then it is at least worth exploring switching to someone who is a better match.” Reknowned author and doula Penny Simkin always tells women that if they don’t like their doctor or midwife during pregnancy, it won’t change during labor and birth.
Heather Moody Gantenbein, a work-at-home mom in Denver, CO, changed her care provider three times with her first pregnancy. “Everyone thought I was crazy for switching so much, but it was the best thing for my baby and I’m so glad I did! My second doctor scheduled me for a c-section before mid-October, but I ended up delivering vaginally on November 29. The right doctor made a huge difference for me.” Heather is expecting her second child in September.
Making the switch
Changing your care provider is usually as easy as calling the new office, asking if they accept your insurance, and making an appointment. Before you make a call, however, do your due diligence to narrow down the field of available doctors or midwives. Ask friends, family, your doula, and your local birth network for recommendations. Be specific about what you’re seeking (more time spent during appointments, water birth, a more natural-minded provider, etc.).
“Moms choose to switch providers all the time,” says Muza. “It can be done rather easily and you shouldn't be concerned about making your ‘old’ doctor or midwife feel bad. No one will fault you for making a decision that’s best for you and your baby. Your new provider can request transfer of your medical records and you don't need to have any awkward conversations.”
Even if you do have to call your former practice, the request is usually handled without questions or hassle. If front office staff does ask why you’re leaving, you don’t have to share your reasons, but doing so may help the practice improve and make changes for future patients.