Screen Shot 2012-03-23 at 4.40.54 PMMYTH: After you’re in your eighth month of pregnancy, it’s too late to change doctors.

FACT: We don’t recommend it, but sometimes a woman is better off changing doctors, right up until delivery.

All three of us have experienced pregnancy, birth, and the ups and downs of it all from both sides- as doctors and as patients. A woman’s need to feel happy and comfortable with her chosen doctor is something we take seriously. We’ve had patients come to us after they weren’t happy with their previous doctors and we’ve also all experienced patients “moving on” to doctors they liked better. Over the years, we’ve realized that if a patient isn’t truly happy with her doctor, she’s better off seeing someone else.  Life’s going throw you curve balls every so often, and the best thing to do is go with your instincts.

Of course, the goal is to find the right doctor from the get go. Do your research and keep the lines of communication open between you and your health care provider. We don’t recommend changing doctors during your pregnancy- especially close to your due date – but sometimes it cannot be avoided.

If you do indeed decide to change doctors, the process isn’t hard. It seems more daunting than it actually it is. You’ll need to sign a “medical records transfer” release form and confirm that it was sent to your new provider. Understandably, some women don’t want to personally confront their previous doctors, so they’re relieved to find out they can easily switch physicians without confronting them. Make sure your new doctor’s office processes the release, or have the old office’s staff send your records to your new OB.

As awkward as it can potentially be, you do have the option of discussing your reasons for leaving with your doctor. It doesn’t hurt to say something and give reasons if you’re unhappy with your provider. If the doctor or someone on their staff did/didn’t do something, how else are they going to improve or rectify the problem or issue. Who knows- maybe they’ll change that particular policy or behavior. All three of us would prefer to know if there’s a way we can better serve our patients than be left in the dark as to why a patient switched to another doctor.