Switching Providers in Pregnancy for a Supported Birth

by Mrs. BWF on November 1, 2011

*This post is not to tell you to fire your provider or who to hire as your provider. It is also not telling you to go from an OB to a midwife or vice versa. It is for women who are finding themselves with an unsupportive care provider and needing more information and support in switching to a new provider.

You hire a midwife or OB to support you in one of the most memorable days of your life. The person you hire to catch your baby (or support you in daddy or you catching baby), should do just that…support you and your choices (barring any medical emergencies).

I knew a beautiful woman from church who was expecting her first child. She was 39 weeks pregnant. As I sat beside her, I felt a strong impression I needed to talk to her. This was way before BWF, but I was still a birth advocate and always wanted to help anyway I can. I don’t push my views on my friends and acquaintance though.

I gently said hi and asked how she was feeling. Not so great. She was very down and concerned. Her OB was not being supportive and wanted to induce for no reason other than convenience. This level headed mama said she knew it was the wrong choice for her and her baby. Her high risk OB brother-in-law even told her to run.

Through our talk (I mostly listened), she told me she just didn’t know what to do. With tears in her eyes and her hands softly resting protectively on her belly, she didn’t think she had any options at 39 weeks pregnant. This is when I told her she did. I told her it was her baby and birth and she deserved a doctor who would listen to her. I asked if she was open to suggestions. I watched her demeanor change as hope crept into her heart. She eagerly took the names of two OB’s I knew would support her.

She called me two days later and informed me she and her husband prayed about it and picked one of the OB’s (my favorite). She called her current Dr.’s office and told them she would be picking up her records and changing doctors! The new OB’s office fit her in for that Friday. At almost 40 weeks she had her first appointment with this wonderful OB who took his time answering all this couple’s questions, was willing wait for baby to pick her birthday and support her in a natural birth. Later that evening she went into labor and he did just that…supported her in a natural hospital birth.

I do not have the opportunity to talk to this mama very often, but when I do, she always thanks me for speaking up. I always thank her for taking action.

It is never too late to switch providers.

I asked other women in our BWF Community about experiences in changing providers in pregnancy. Here are some of their stories.

“I switched from a family practice dr. to a CNM in a group practice at 30 weeks, then from her to a CPM at 37 weeks so I could have a home birth!”

“I switched at 34 weeks from an OB to a midwife. It was a hard decision because I truly loved my OB and I think I would’ve had a great birth with him- but because of his huge practice, there was no guarantee he would be the one at my birth. Plus I wasn’t thrilled with the hospitals he was affiliated with. So I talked to him, told him my concerns, and switched to a midwife. Best decision!”

“I switched 3 times. The 1st doctor only got 1 visit at 9 weeks. The 2nd doctor got a few more but I left her at 30wks. I’m super happy I followed my doula’s advice and switched to my 3rd doctor. She practices more like a midwife and even had natural birth center childbirths herself. I can’t wait to see what a difference this will make for my upcoming delivery.”

“During my first I switched halfway after every appt I had my doc was late due to a C-section. If you have a feeling or you don’t like the way it is going, don’t hesitate. You aren’t hurting anyone’s feelings.”

“I switched from OBs(that delivered my first 2) to a HB MW a little after 20wks. MW was WAY better! I absolutely LOVE her and our relationship.”

“I went through a total of FOUR with my firt pregnancy before finally finding one who would treat me (as I am a high risk pegnancy) and that I liked!!!”

“I did at 36 weeks…CNM hospital birth to CPM homebirth.”

“I switched at 34 weeks. I was told all along that we could “try” for a VBAC, but at 32 weeks I heard, “Are you sure? It’s so dangerous. Have you talked to your husband about this?”. I found a great VBAC supportive practice with a high success rate and LOW cesarean rates. We had a beautiful, happy and healthy little girl, and a very quick and easy vaginal birth.”

“I switched at 35 weeks with my second. BEST decision I EVER MADE!!!! My new docs were awesome and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Even if my planned VBAC went section.”

“I wanted to VBAC and my provider was feeding me a line of BS and I finally realized he had no intention of letting me do it, so I left him. I didn’t get my VBAC, but leaving him was the best decision I made. (I went on to VBA2C with a great OB!)”

“Switched from an OB group to a midwife (birthing center) at 28/29 weeks…best decision I EVER made. I was so sick of stressing about delivering in a hospital with an OB and the fear that I would have to argue with someone during a less than ideal time *labor* to ensure that I got the birth I wanted. I don’t regret switching for a second.”

You can read more here.

Make sure the provider you switch to is competent and supportive. Ask for referrals and any other relevant information in making a decision to hire them. This decision is yours to make (and your spouse if present).

Remember, it is your body, your baby and your birth!

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