7 Reasons OB-GYNs Reject Pregnant Patients, According To Experts

Ad failed to load

Pregnancy, even for the healthiest of women, can come with a long list of challenges and potential complications. And since no two women, or two pregnancies, are the same, even the most "universal" of pregnancy situations can be experienced differently. That includes a pregnant woman's relationship with her OB-GYN. So what happens when you're suddenly removed from a doctor's patient list? It turns out, there are more than a few reasons OB-GYN's reject pregnant patients that every soon-to-be mom should be made aware of.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information published a study via Journal of Women's Health in 2013, which reported that the demand for women's health services will rise by up to 6 percent over the next two and a half years. Eighty-one percent will be made up by women of reproductive ages (18-44) seeing doctors in the OB-GYN sectors. It's also been determined that, currently, the supply for essential women's health services hasn't met the demand, particularly in states with higher populations.

The aforementioned information, mixed with current policy changes now putting all women at risk, means that not only is it harder for any woman to find and secure appropriate gynecological care, but for pregnant women to obtain proper prenatal care, too. In other words, just because you're pregnant doesn't mean you'll always, without a doubt, have access to your OB-GYN of choice. Plus, doctors have their own reasons for rejecting their pregnant patients, which can include the following:

Ad failed to load

You're Too Late Into The Pregnancy


Whether you've decided to switch OB-GYNs late into your pregnancy for a variety of reasons, or you're late into getting prenatal care, a doctor can refuse to treat you because of how far along you are. Without a complete knowledge of your full medical history, or how your pregnancy has been progressing, the doctor could find themselves in a potentially liable position. A recent article in Women's Health chronicled one woman's experience, when she discovered she was pregnant at 29 weeks and, as a result, was unable to secure a doctor.

Dr. Lauren Streicher, associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, tells Women's Health it isn't likely only because late-stage pregnancy may come with a laundry list of risks and complications (and could become a liability), but also because the practice could be full, or they fear you've been going between different practices to avoid financial responsibility, medical advice, or any other number of reasons.

Insurance Changes


Insurance woes can hit anyone and any time. And not all doctors accept all forms of insurance, including medicaid and medicare. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 700 women die every year from pregnancy-related complications. With bad or no insurance, coupled with inability to pay for health care services rendered, prenatal care becomes difficult, albeit sometimes impossible, if individuals can't afford to seek the treatment they need.

Ethical Dilemmas


Sometimes an OB-GYN can refuse to treat pregnant patients because of his or her personal beliefs. While The Code of Medical Ethics has a lengthy history and definition — and the declaration definitively states that all doctors should care for their patience with "competence and compassion and without prejudice," according to report from NBC News — there are still going to be doctors who choose not to treat specific patients based on their own religious or moral code, potentially hindering patient care.

A doctor could reject you due to circumstances surrounding conception, your sexual orientation, and even your weight.

Ad failed to load

Differences In Overall Philosophy


Some mothers-to-be have a birth plan — it's great to be prepared — but every now and then, a pregnant woman might not agree with her doctor's recommendations for how pregnancy, birth, and postpartum treatment should go. That might lead to a termination of the relationship. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says ethical dilemmas may cause conflict and, as a result, interdisciplinary is necessary. If the doctor believes something to be in yours and your baby's best interest — particularly if a life is at stake — and you vehemently disagree, this could warrant a transferral to another doctor.

You're Too High Risk


Health care is, well, a complicated system. Your weight, how far along you are, and any pre-existing conditions you may have can complicate the type of care you receive, especially when you're pregnant. And an OB-GYN may reject a pregnant patient if he or she decides there's too much risk involved. Johns Hopkins Medicine reported that a rejection may not necessarily be only because you're labeled high risk, but because your doctor thinks you'd be better cared for by a specialist. Pre-existing medical conditions and genetic risks may require more than your standard OB-GYN can handle. A 2011 poll conducted by South Florida's Sun Sentinel found that doctors refused prenatal treatment to pregnant patients, citing they lack "adequate equipment" to care for their patients, while other doctors rejected patients because they were "high risk."

They Already Have A Full Patient List


Though it's not what you want to hear, it happens. Doctors — especially OB-GYNs who are well-known in their field —  can only take on so many patients in order to give them the best care possible. If they're already treating pregnant women with due dates near yours, the doctor will probably tell you they're unable to take on any new patients.

Ad failed to load

They Fear OB-Hopping


OB-GYN-hopping is what happens when a patient runs from physician bills, medical advice, or simply avoids staying with one doctor for a significant amount of time for any reason. You could be rejected by an OB-GYN if he or she has seen this type of behavior in the past.

Whether it's an insurance issue, a full patient list, or simply a difference of opinion, the important part of your prenatal care is finding an OB-GYN you can trust to help you guide you through your pregnancy. It's not always easy, but the right one is out there.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

A Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the te…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

These Photos Of North West Then & Now Will Take You On A Sweet Trip Down Memory Lane

When Kim Kardashian welcomed her first daughter, North West, with her husband, Kanye West, in 2013, her whole life was changed. The social media and reality TV star became a mom for the first time and her Instagram presence took a very adorable turn.…
By Casey Suglia

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

This Is What It Means If Your Pregnancy Test Changes Overnight

The time between when a woman suspects she might be pregnant and when it is confirmed for sure is the longest of her life. Regardless of whether you are hoping for a positive or a negative result, the odds are good that you are sweating bullets when …
By Shannon Evans

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack