questions to ask your obgyn

How to Advocate for Yourself at Your OB-GYN Appointment

Nothing is more frustrating than coming out of your OB-GYN appointment with more questions than when you came in. It’s the unfortunate truth that feeling unheard and unseen by your doctor is becoming more and more normal. Shockingly, studies reveal that 1/5 women feel that a healthcare provider ignored or dismissed their symptoms, and 17% felt treated differently because of their gender. It’s time for women to reclaim authority of their bodies in their doctor appointments. That is why we have outlined key tips to keep in mind before making your next appointment.  

Tip 1: Find the right OBGYN for you. 

There are many things to consider when you think about finding an OB-GYN that is right for you. All these factors can help you narrow down the perfect doctor! 

First off, if you do not have insurance or if you are worried about being able to cover your co-pay, we have you covered. Check out the resources on our main page and browse through the many free resources we have to offer.  

Your insurance may limit doctors available to you, so if you’re looking for a very specific kind of OB-GYN, you may have to look outside of your network. Whether you have insurance or not, it’s still important to think through who the ideal doctor would be for you.  

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself when picking a doctor:  

  • Are you comfortable with a male physician?
  •  Do you want your physician to be a parent?  
  • How far are you willing to drive to your appointments?

These are all great questions that could help guide you toward the right doctor.  

Tip 2: Come prepared.  

Arriving well-prepared sets the stage for a productive appointment. Have all your important information organized, including a list of medications, details of previous medical encounters, and the date of your last menstrual cycle. Having this information in order and ready will help make your appointment run smoothly.  

The most important thing to come ready with are questions! Depending on why you’re visiting the OB-GYN, consider what you would like to get out of the visit, such as understanding different birth control options or prenatal care. Don’t hesitate to ask multiple questions; this is your opportunity for clarity and insight. Harvard Health Publishing suggests asking three questions to optimize your treatment: 

  • What are my options?  
  • What are the possible benefits and harms of those options?  
  • How likely are the benefits and harms of each option to occur?  

Remember to also keep a running list of things you notice about your body. Add to this list as you go about your daily life. Take note of all bodily changes — from a lump you felt under your arm, a difference in discharge, or even shifts in your mental health. When a doctor is trying to get a better picture of your holistic health, the little things can play a big role. 

Tip 3: Remember that you know your body best! 

Possibly the most important tip before any doctor’s appointment is to know that YOU are the expert of your body, not your doctor. Although your doctor can give guidance from their expertise in medicine, you are the only one who knows what is right for you. Don’t hesitate to seek clarification, explore alternative treatments, or request a deeper investigation into underlying issues. Seek a second opinion if you’re feeling unsure about anything. Sometimes, medical interventions merely address symptoms rather than root causes. Advocating for a comprehensive understanding of your health ensures informed decision-making and personalized care. 

In conclusion: you’re your best advocate!  

If you have done your research, and you feel comfortable with the plan you and your doctor put in place, feel confident in knowing that you advocated for yourself! Don’t hesitate to contact your provider through your patient portal or over the phone if you thought of a question after the fact. You can also ask a nurse over the phone with no extra charge if it is a simple question or regarding your treatment. Our chatbot also offers 24/7 access to any questions you may have!   

Above all else, remember: your voice matters. By advocating for yourself, you can help shape the course of your treatment and overall well-being. Don’t hesitate to ask the hard questions and never settle for a healthcare provider unwilling to consider their patient’s perspective. Your health is of utmost importance, and asserting your needs will help ensure that you receive the holistic care that you deserve.  

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