Switching Doctors

In a word, yes -- unless it's the only doctor within 50 miles or you're due within a month or so. (Even then there are options, but it will be a lot more complicated.) Will it be easy, though? That's not as simple to answer.

weirdo doctorFirst, you need to work out what you want in a caregiver, and then look at what your current physican does or doesn't offer. Usually, for a woman to want to get a new caregiver partway through pregnancy means that she and the doc have a pretty major difference of philosophy. For example, you may want a VBAC, and he's completely against the idea. Or maybe you don't want to have your labor induced, but your doctor says you have to because the baby's getting "too big." Could be even simpler: you don't like his or her schedule (you're always waiting), his gender (you'd rather have a woman examine you) or in other ways you just aren't comfortable. When looking at another caregiver, the number one priority is

to be sure you're not jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Discuss your concerns in a interview with the potential new doctor. Discuss your wants and needs, and be open about how your caregiver didn't meet your desires. Also think about alternatives to the Ob/Gyn: Perhaps you want to consider a midwife or a family physician. So you're not left without prenatal care, set things up with your new caregiver before even hinting that you will be saying goodbye to the old one. (You will also need to get your medical records, for which there may be a "processing fee" of up to about $25.) A quick note about lateral moves -- that is, to another physician in the same practice or medical group: Find out if your new doctor or midwife is in the same network, because there's the potential that the doctor you left could be the one delivering your baby if he or she is the one on call at that moment. (Talk about awkward moments!)

Also see:

Breaking up with your OB/GYN
VBAC: Choosing your caregiver


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