Changing OBs during pregnancy

You’re pregnant, and you’ve been going to all your scheduled prenatal appointments — but you’re feeling uneasy about your care. In fact, you’re starting to wonder if you should switch doctors. Is it OK to change course in the middle of your pregnancy?

It’s not only OK but also the right thing to do if you’re unhappy or dissatisfied with your care. You shouldn’t stay with a doctor because you’ve been there a long time or feel guilty about leaving.

Here’s what you need to know about how to switch doctors during pregnancy.

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Reasons to Change Doctors During Pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, you’ll have many doctor visits — not to mention the time you’ll spend in labor and delivery. Your relationship with your obstetrician-gynecologist (ob-gyn) becomes one of the most critical factors in your health care. Good communication and feeling heard and respected are vital.

Changing doctors is perfectly fine if you’re not happy. Here are some reasons you may want to switch ob-gyns:


Sometimes, outside factors make switching doctors necessary. Your insurance coverage may have changed, or your doctor may no longer take your insurance. They may have moved to a new office further away or started using a birthing center or hospital that’s inconvenient.

Getting a job in a new city could also dictate a move for you. If you need to move, you must find a new ob-gyn.

Personality differences

Sometimes, the need to switch comes down to simple chemistry: Your doctor just isn’t a good fit for you, personality-wise. This happens, and it’s OK.

You need to do what’s best for you and your baby.

Their philosophy of care differs from yours

Maybe you want a certified midwife at the delivery, but your ob-gyn won’t hear of it. Or you’d like to try a vaginal delivery after a C-section, and your doctor won’t support you.

Of course, listening to your doctor’s medical advice is key. But if their approach to labor and delivery seems drastically different from yours, you may want to change doctors or get a second opinion.

You’d prefer a smaller (or larger) practice

You may feel like just another number in a large practice, especially if you see a different doctor at every appointment. You may find you’re happier in a smaller practice where you see the same ob-gyn every time.

On the other hand, some people prefer seeing different doctors and nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and midwives. If a doctor on call will deliver your baby, getting to know all of them a little bit may put you more at ease.

Your doctor always seems rushed

When you’re pregnant — whether it’s for the first or fourth time — you want to know your doctor has time for you. There’s no worse feeling than knowing your doctor is itching to get to the next appointment. You deserve the time allotted for your visit.

Your doctor doesn’t listen to you

If your doctor doesn’t completely answer your questions or you feel bullied into making decisions, you should switch.

A good ob-gyn will practice shared decision-making. They’ll present their recommendations and listen to your desires. Ideally, you can arrive at a shared vision of your care, labor, and delivery.

How to Find a New Doctor

Finding a new ob-gyn can seem daunting, but you don’t have to feel this way. Here are some ways to find a new doctor:

  • Ask friends, family, and co-workers if they have an ob-gyn they love. People who know your personality and priorities may suggest a good doctor for you.
  • Ask your primary care provider (PCP) for suggestions. Because they already know you and your preferences, they’re a great resource.
  • If you’re on good terms with the ob-gyn you’re leaving, ask them for a suggestion. This can prove especially helpful if you’re moving to a new city where you don’t know anyone.
  • Use the “find a doctor” search on your insurance company’s website. You can usually narrow down searches by geographic areas and medical specialties. Then, read through their profile for more information.

One caveat: Don’t put too much stock in online reviews. Unhappy people tend to post more reviews than those who feel satisfied with their care. It’s better to get opinions about doctors from people you know.

How to Switch Doctors During Pregnancy

You shouldn’t feel guilty about severing ties with your old doctor. There’s no law or contract stating you must stay with the same ob-gyn for all 40 weeks of your pregnancy. Doctors are professionals who understand that people in their care come and go.

When you’ve found a new ob-gyn, take the following steps to switch:

  • Double-check that your new doctor’s office takes your insurance or is in your preferred provider network. Ask the insurance company as well. Also, find out if the hospital or midwife center they use for delivery accepts your insurance.
  • Tell your old doctor or practice you’re leaving. You shouldn’t feel obligated to give a lengthy reason or have a face-to-face chat. If you prefer, tell the worker at the front desk.
  • Request your medical records, which your doctor must provide under federal law. You may find you can get them electronically through a web portal, or you may need to sign for them in person. Your new doctor can also request the records, but you may have to give them permission in writing.
  • Plan a visit with your new doctor as soon as possible. You can switch ob-gyns anytime in your pregnancy, but the earlier you do so, the better. You and your new doctor will have more time to establish a relationship.
  • Take your medicines with you to the first visit with the new ob-gyn. If your medical records don’t arrive in time, it’s better to have any drugs on hand for them to review. And of course, tell your new doctor about any preexisting conditions or concerns you may have about your pregnancy.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, How to Find an Ob-Gyn, Link

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, An Ob-Gyn’s Guide to Standing Up for Yourself During Pregnancy, Link

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Individuals’ Right under HIPAA to Access their Health Information, Link

Reproductive Health, The Giving Voice to Mothers study: inequity and mistreatment during pregnancy and childbirth in the United States, Link

U.S. New and World Report, How to Ease the Transition to a New Doctor, Link

March of Dimes, Prenatal care checkups, Link

Office of the National Coordinator for Health Insurance Technology, The Guide to Getting & Using Your Health Records, Link

About UPMC Magee-Womens

Built upon our flagship, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh, and its century-plus history of providing high-quality medical care for people at all stages of life, UPMC Magee-Womens is nationally renowned for its outstanding care for women and their families.

Our Magee-Womens network – from women’s imaging centers and specialty care to outpatient and hospital-based services – provides care throughout Pennsylvania, so the help you need is always close to home. More than 25,000 babies are born at our network hospitals each year, with 10,000 of those babies born at UPMC Magee in Pittsburgh, home to one of the largest NICUs in the country. The Department of Health and Human Services recognizes Magee in Pittsburgh as a National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health; U.S. News & World Report ranks Magee nationally in gynecology. The Magee-Womens Research Institute was the first and is the largest research institute in the U.S. devoted exclusively to women’s health and reproductive biology, with locations in Pittsburgh and Erie.