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Your obstetrician/gynecologist can be a powerful ally who sees you through some of the most important and intimate medical issues in your life, but if your OBGYN sucks, it's time to find another. Look out for these warning signs.

Being able to trust in the skill and judgment of a healthcare provider is always essential. Obstetricians/gynecologists, in particular, help us care for one of the most intimate parts of our bodies: the reproductive system. Your OBGYN may see you through PAP smears, menstrual problems, miscarriages, sexually transmitted diseases, birth control choices, cervical cancer scares, unexplained abdominal pain, menopause symptoms that are wrecking your life, discomfort during sex, prenatal care and the birth of your babies. They may, in other words, be there for many of the most important events of your life. An OBGYN you trust is worth their weight in gold.

Not all OBGYNs are good doctors, however. Like everyone else, they may be overworked, burned out, or simply not very nice people. Though many people see doctors as authority figures — and it is true that they may be in the position to save your life or make the difference between health and illness — we have every right to remember that doctors are, essentially, public servants. A good OBGYN is an ally in reproductive care, not someone who expects you to do as they suggest without understanding why. 

If your OBGYN sucks, it is time to ditch them. Here are red flags to watch out for. 

1. Your OBGYN Has No Bedside Manners

If you need to go to the Emergency Room, you can expect to be seen by a variety of doctors, nurses and other staff you do not personally know — and if you are in a (potentially) life-threatening situation, action may well take precedence over politeness. Women who are seeing an OBGYN for preventative care such as PAP smears and pelvic exams, for birth control services, for prenatal visits and for a wide range of other issues that are not immediate emergencies deserve more personal care. 

A good OBGYN should always take the time to become intimately familiar with your medical history, encourage you to ask questions, and explain any medical issues and treatments you are receiving in a way that is understandable to you.

They should neither bathe their sentences in medical jargon that you can't comprehend, nor oversimplify explanations, treating you like you don't have a brain. They should be non-judgmental, treating you with respect and refraining from making irrelevant comments about your sex life. 

If your OBGYN is rude to you, dismisses your symptoms as "emotional" or "all in the head", doesn't take the time to answer your questions or does so in a way that makes no sense to you, or neglects to explain the advantages and risks of any treatment they recommend to you, those are huge red flags. If you do not feel comfortable with your OBGYN, or if — even worse — you feel intimidated or afraid of them, you should feel completely justified in looking for another doctor, one who treats you with respect and ensures your right to informed consent is met by providing you with information

2. Your OBGYN Doesn't Listen To You

Though your OBGYN went to medical school, you live with your body every day. In not taking the time to listen what you have to say about your symptoms, your OBGYN isn't simply being rude — they could be putting your health at risk. Examples include dismissing your complaints about heavy menstrual cramping, telling you not to worry about the headaches you started getting when you went on the birth control pill, or telling you your all-day morning sickness and vomiting is completely normal without considering the possibility you might be suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum. 

A good OBGYN will listen to what you have to say, spending more time asking you questions about your symptoms than telling you what to do or lecturing you. 
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