In my experience, the relationship you have with your OB-GYN ends up being rather intimate. This person will likely stick their hands in your vagina, examine your breasts, catch the human you expel from your body, and potentially sew up your abdomen or perineum afterwards. So it's important that you're able to form a sound doctor-patient relationship. Unfortunately for me, things got more than a little bit awkward thanks to the creepy things my OB-GYN actually said to me.
Anyone who’s seen Grey’s Anatomy knows that doctors can be awkward and say the wrong thing. They're only human, after all, and with the number of vulvas they see in a day it's bound to happen. But as understandable as it is to occasionally stick your foot in your mouth, sometimes OB-GYNs say the creepiest, grossest, and downright inappropriate things... and there's no excuse.
I am not OK with a medical provider doing things like addressing my husband and not me when I am standing right there (and when I am their actual patient). I also don't appreciate a doctor questioning whether I'm actually in pain. I'm definitely not OK with a health care provider withholding evidence-based medical treatment or information because they don't trust me to make a decision about my own body or pregnancy.
You guys wouldn't believe some of the sexist, inappropriate, and downright creepy things my OB-GYN said to me. I hope, for other patients' sake, certain doctors learn a thing or two about bedside manner and keep the following comments to themselves:
"To My Husband: 'What Do You Think?'"
My OB-GYN did a pretty good job of explaining things to me and answering my questions... until my husband came along to an appointment, that is. I started keeping track of the number of times she asked him about his thoughts in regards to my pregnancy and my body. It was more often than I could count on two hands, and during an appointment that lasted about 20 minutes. It made me feel like I wasn't even there.
"I Didn't Say That"
After my last baby was born, I couldn't remember the name of the physical therapy practice my OB-GYN recommended, so I called the office to check. My OB-GYN's nurse claimed that there was no record of them even prescribing physical therapy for my pelvic pain and incontinence issues. I had the signed prescription sheet sitting right in front of me. My OB-GYN got on the phone and said that she didn't remember making a referral, and I would have to come back in for another appointment if I wanted one. It felt so invalidating.
"Do You Want A Daddy Stitch?"
This question was asked to my husband, not me, which makes it even creepier. I couldn't believe that a licensed medical professional actually asked my husband if he wanted her to give me an extra, unnecessary stitch on my perineum.
I immediately said, “Are you joking, because that’s not funny. What’s wrong with you?” That’s not how the vagina works, he’s not in charge of it, and it's a gross thing to joke about.
"You Shouldn’t Be In That Much Pain"
After my tubal ligation surgery, I called back complaining of pain and swelling. My OB-GYN literally said that she didn't believe I was in as much pain as I reported and that I would have to come in for an appointment if I wanted more pain medication. I felt like I was being gaslighted.
When I went in for my follow-up, she told me I had a severe surgical site infection. Her first words were literally, "Ouch, that looks painful." Yes. It is.
"Are You Sure He's The Father?"
When my husband came along to a prenatal visit, my OB-GYN made a joke about whether he was the father. It was so awkward... and creepy. He snapped back with, "No, this is our first date."
"Wow, You've Been Busy."
When I told my latest OB-GYN that we had five kids, she immediately said, "Wow, you've been busy." She quickly corrected herself to say, "I bet you are busy," but we both knew what she said and, more importantly, what she meant.
“Would You Have An Abortion?”
When I was pregnant with my second child, I asked about what prenatal tests they offered. My OB-GYN at the time told me that because they were a part of a Catholic hospital system, I had to sign a contract agreeing not to terminate my pregnancy before they would even tell me about available testing. I should have fired them then and there, but I didn't know I could switch OB practices during pregnancy.
"You’re Not Our Only Patient“
When I was pregnant with my second child, I was in a car accident and taken to the emergency room. The on-call physician told me they couldn't give me anything for pain because I wasn't their "only patient." It was frustrating, and creepy AF to have them talk about my baby as if he didn't reside in my body.
"You Don't Want A C-Section"
I was injured in an accident towards the end of my last pregnancy and in excruciating pain. The doctor told me that I didn't want a C-section so I could have vaginal deliveries in the future. When I told him it was my last pregnancy, he just stared at me as if I was the one who had said something creepy.
"Do You Want Your Baby To Die?"
When I was diagnosed with preeclampsia during my second pregnancy, the maternal fetal medicine specialist actually said that if I didn't do what he said my baby would die. Now, I know that it was serious, but his horrible bedside manner made me actually not want to listen to another thing he said.
"We Don't Believe In Birth Control"
After my second child was born, I called to make an appointment for birth control. The powers that be told me that they couldn't prescribe birth control or even make a referral to another OB-GYN practice who would, because it was against their religious beliefs. This was in 2013 and I had to call four providers before I found a doctor willing to give me the birth control I wanted. Yikes.