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What To Do When Your Doctor Disagrees With Your Birth Plan

Most health-care teams can easily accommodate reasonable requests for your birthing experience, such as the room’s lighting or who they allow to be there for you. Sometimes, however, your doctors may not hear you out. Here are some tips on what to do when your doctor disagrees with your birth plan, as well as a quick reminder of what a birth plan can’t exactly guarantee.

Understand What a Birth Plan Can’t Guarantee

Let’s be honest: little about pregnancy will go exactly according to plan. There are some things that your OB/GYN or family physician simply can’t guarantee in the heat of delivery.

The goal for your health-care team is to get you and your baby through delivery as safely as possible. Some of the things your doctors can’t guarantee, no matter what’s in your birth plan, are:

  • That your OB or requested team members will be available during your delivery

  • How your team handles crisis scenarios

  • If they can avoid using needles entirely

Ask Direct Questions Regarding Their Disagreements

If your doctor voices opposition to your existing birth plan, firmly ask them to explain their opinion. After all, you are as deeply involved in this process as they are! Their experience and feedback are valuable, so listen carefully and ask follow-up questions.

If you find that their feedback makes sense, incorporate it into an updated birth plan with their help. If it doesn’t, explain your position so that your doctor understands why you’re making that choice and can better adapt to your needs, if able.

Seek Support and Consider a Second Opinion

You and the health-care professionals you rely on should be on the same team; if it turns out that you aren’t, you may feel pressure to give in and give up on your ideal birth experience instead of standing up for yourself.

Instead of relenting in the face of confrontation, look for support. Midwives, birthing doulas, and even other physicians can help mediate and find common ground between your wishes and the opinions of your delivery team. Should the discussion make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, do not hesitate to seek a second opinion with a different physician or OB/GYN who can accommodate your needs better or work with you to make a new plan.

Understanding what to do when your doctor disagrees with your birth plan should help you share your wishes with your delivery team without fear or embarrassment. In most situations, your health-care team will gladly work with you, not against you, to make this process safe, easy, and enjoyable for everyone.

Knowing that doctors sometimes ask for changes should only encourage you to spend more time reflecting on your ideal plan. Work on it with your family and your delivery team until you are confident in your reasoning behind every request and avoid the birth plan mistakes that might give your physicians reasons to doubt it.


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