There is a problem with the way that we marry the physical experience of birth with the emotional and spiritual experience of birth. And that is, in the pursuit of a healthy baby and mom, anything goes. So many women are asked to supercede their own intuition, birth desires and knowledge about their own body and baby to that of the ‘higher’ authority, the doctor.
In the birth of my first child, I blindly trusted my doctor. Believing that they would never steer me wrong. Even when they had no resources about nutrition, exercise, and discouraged me from attempting a natural birth, I remained because I didn’t know that I could have a different experience with a different care provider. If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any. Changing providers is always an option.
The truth is, that much of maternity care in the US is not evidence based.
The US has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world. We are the only country where this number is increasing as well. In 2018, between 17-28 mothers will die per 100,000 live births. This number has more than doubled in the last 30 years.
In the United States, now is not the time to simply *trust* that since you are receiving medical care that all your needs are being met.
If you feel something is not right with your care provider, you always have the chance to switch. Even if it is weeks before your due date.
While we work better the standard of care each birthing women is given, it is up to us as women to demand the care that fits our needs. We do that by hiring the right person and not being afraid to break up with those that do not listen, force their own agenda’s or treat us without respect.
Check out this article on 14 questions to ask your prenatal care provider to find out if you are the perfect match.
What is it like to fire your doctor? These women open up and share their experiences about leaving care providers that we’re not aligned and moving forward with qualified birth workers who treated them as complete human beings.
“I was told by my birth center midwives that they respected women who wished to opt out of Rhogam. At my 28 week appointment they went back on their word, and told me if I didn’t get it, I would have to deliver in a hospital. I left and never went back. I ended up connecting with an amazing home birth midwife who was a much better fit for my family and belief system. I birthed my son at home beautifully and naturally” – Megan Rose
“When I was delivering my last baby, I had moved to a new area and finally had an opportunity to home birth. After I found my midwife, I felt that I finally had a voice. I wasn’t a numbered timer, volunteering as a tribute with each pregnancy. Instead of being rushed and forced, I told my midwife ‘I feel like I need to push.’ She sat back in our recliner and said ‘OK.’ It was empowering to know she had confidence in me and my body’s ability to transition and do what it was designed to do.” -Jennifer Bowman
“I fired an OB with my first at 35 weeks because she said I was too little to have the birth I wanted.” – Destiny Wonsewitz, read her inspiring blog post about pushing without pain meds here.
“We want a clean birth for our newest little one. A birth that respects the beauty and uniqueness of each individual birth, and the autonomy and voice of the mother, and the inspiration she has on behalf of her child. We want a supportive birth experience for both our daughter and my husband and I, where the focus is on humanity and compassionate birthing, and not just my back end. I want to be heard at appointments and have a care provider who could offer real advice and solutions instead of brushing me off, ignoring concerns, and turning only to intervention and pharmaceuticals. I finally feel like I have a care provider who knows and cares about my baby and I, and not just as a name to check off of their to do list.” – Samantha Knieser
“I was 37 weeks with an OB with my first. I had liked her for the most part because it was just her in the practice. It was easy to get in and have an appointment. If there was a concern, she would return calls anytime day/night. As we got closer to the end, I started to get the feeling she wasn’t supportive of natural childbirth. At my visit at 37 weeks, I told her I didn’t want an IV and didn’t even really want a heplock. She proceeded to tell me that I didn’t become a mother when the baby was born, I was already a mother and I was being a bad mother for making a choice endangering my baby. I knew I would not let her deliver my baby. My husband told me to call around and find a different group to see. It worked out amazing! I switched to an OB/MW practice. I ended up having an OB deliver my baby. I had never met him before, but he was absolutely amazing – 100% in support of a natural birth. When it was all done, he thanked me for going natural and forcing his nurses to do work (i.e. get up and check my pulse, bp, etc. manually instead of me being on monitors they could then monitor from their desk) and letting them experience a natural birth because many hadn’t.” – Meg Mullins
“I was 36 weeks with an OB. When I went to my appointment to share my birth plan with her, she said that it ‘sounded as if my first birth was traumatic or something’ (which it was) and that ‘she’ll see what she can do’ in regards to adhering to my birth plan. My husband and I left that appointment with the decision made that we would have our baby at home with a midwife. A friend referred us to someone awesome and she totally trusted birth. We ended up giving birth accidentally unassisted (things progressed quicker than we thought) and it was incredible. My midwife came and checked us both out, then we rested. Best birth ever.” -Ciara Vega
“I made it to 22 weeks with a highly recommended OB. He laughed when I said I wanted and unmedicated birth. After him spending no more than 5 minutes with me at a time and trying to tell me my heartbeat was the baby’s, I found a wonderful midwife. She saw in my chart that he listed me as high risk with no indicators.” -Jasmine Moran
“When I was pregnant with my first, I was going to an ob practice that was very “my-way-or-the-highway”. I would wait in the waiting room for an hour only for a 10 minute appointment where I was made to feel as though I shouldn’t ask questions. For instance, I asked if we could find out my husband’s blood type so I could possibly rule out the need for rhogam. They told me they couldn’t do that, that I could be lying about the father, and that it would cost $300 to find his blood type. I said “well couldn’t he just donate blood”, and they didn’t like that I found a loophole. They pushed vaccines on my at every appointment. I had done my research and had decided against vaccines which had never been tested on pregnant women. Even though I denied them every time, they told me they would continue to ask me at each appointment.
The final straw was when I told my doctor I was considering a water birth. Her professionalism switched off, and she ranted for 10 minutes (my longest appointment yet) about how dangerous water births were. She didn’t once present anything based on fact. Her tactic was to scare me into their birth, but I had already done research and knew that water births were very safe. She clearly wasn’t educated in natural birth. Then she told me there was no where in my state (PA) where I could legally have a homebirth. I knew of three birth centers where I could, and home birth was absolutely an option. When she was done ranting, she stormed out of the room and went right up to the receptionist desk to tell them to put me with a different doctor next time.
I knew birth didn’t have to be like this. That pregnancy and birth could be on my terms. When I met my homebirth midwife the following week, the care was night and day. I immediately felt comfortable and relieved that I didn’t have to be subjected to the hospital birth experience. This choice to homebirth has been life changing.” – Leah Tumbiolo
Mother, you do NOT have to choose between good care and care that honors you as a woman and THE mother of your child. If something does not feel right to you, keep looking until you find an option that fits you better.
There are many OBs and Midwives who can serve you as a whole person.
What do you think, has your intuition been confirmed that your doctor sounds amazing after reading these, or is it time to switch?