How and Why to Change Your OB During Pregnancy

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The decision to change doctors or midwives is never easy, particularly during pregnancy. Though sometimes there comes a point when you realize that neither you nor your practitioner is happy and that you need to find someone who can provide you with the care that you need and deserve during pregnancy.

Reasons Why Pregnant Women Might Want to Change Doctors

There are many reasons why you might decide that you need a different doctor. Some of the reasons that women share include:

  • The practitioner doesn’t listen (poor communication)
  • You don’t like how you are treated
  • Too many doctors in the practice
  • Not enough time is spent with you
  • Different philosophies of birth
  • Found another practitioner you like better
  • Disagreements on treatment practices
  • Issues with office staff or insurance
  • Very long waits for appointments
  • Your practitioner leaves practice or no longer does births

How to Switch Doctors

The first thing you should try to do is to resolve the issue with your midwife or doctor. Explain the problem and search for a resolution together. This may not always be possible.

Sometimes, you're seeing the person who has been an amazing GYN to you for years, but you find you need something different in an OB.

If you find yourself in a situation where you have tried and things still aren’t working out, it is time for a change.

  1. Interview other practitioners. Go back to your original list of questions and find others to interview. Perhaps you had a second choice when you originally selected this doctor. If you’ve already interviewed them, you might simply select them off the bat. If you didn't have a previous list, start one. Talk to mothers who have had experiences like the one you're hoping to have and start there. Remember to ask specific questions, not "Did you like your doctor or midwife?" That's very subjective. Maybe you want to know more of something like: "What doctors in this area are supportive of natural birth?" "Which practices have all women?"
  2. Make a decision on which one you will choose. Call to see if the practice is accepting new patients and takes your insurance. Sometimes, at the end of pregnancy, you may have a harder time switching practices. Usually, you can get in if you talk to the office manager or practitioner and explain the situation.
  3. Notify your old practice. Once you’re ready to leave, you will need to notify your old practice. You can do this in writing or via a phone call. Be sure to cancel any previously scheduled appointments well enough in advance to prevent missed appointment fees.
  4. Get a copy of your medical records. You will need to request, in writing, a copy of your medical records. You can choose to hand carry ​these records or to have them sent directly to your new practitioner. State laws may vary slightly, but they cannot refuse you your records, they can, however, charge you for them. This is usually a slight copying fee and in many states the first copy is free. This can be done in person or have them fax, email, or mail you the form they need you to fill out.
  5. Start seeing your new practitioner. Be sure to make an appointment with the new practitioner. Depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy, the timing may not be convenient if they are working you in.

You may or may not decide to let your old practice know why you have left their services. If you think that you would feel better or that they would learn from it, you may decide to send them a letter. Many women never hear back from their old practices. Though occasionally they will get a letter or a call. Decide in advance how you will handle that and be prepared for it, in case it happens.

While switching doctors is never easy, so many women have done it before and are often very glad that they did.

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5 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Manley J. In Praise Of The Zero Chill Pregnancy. December 29, 2016.

  2. DiFillipo D. Parents. How to Change Your Ob-Gyn During Pregnancy.

  3. Cleveland Clinic. Obstetric Health Care Providers: Choosing One Right For You. Reviewed April 26, 2017.

  4. Fink JLW. Is It Too Late to Get a New OB?. Updated May 2017.

  5. United States Department of Health and Human Services, Health Information Privacy, Individuals’ Right under HIPAA to Access their Health Information 45 CFR § 164.524. Updated February 25, 2016.