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I am pregnant. Can I trust my doctor?

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2015 | Doctor Errors

It might sound like an odd question: “Can I trust my doctor?” One would assume that by making the appointment, putting oneself on the exam table for medical evaluation, and answering extremely personal questions that their doctor has their trust.

Still, it is normal and healthy for the question to linger about whether one’s doctor is providing them with the most honest, up-to-date medical care. Even when patients ask specific medical questions based on skepticism, can they trust what their doctors tell them? Anxiety about patient/doctor trust can be heightened when the patient is pregnant.

Trusting an obstetrician and other medical professionals during one’s pregnancy feels especially crucial. It isn’t just the patient’s health that is at-risk; the health of the fetus and condition of a patient’s overall fertility health are also on the line. A report from The Guardian suggests that a mistrust issue exists between many pregnant patients and their healthcare providers, a mistrust that can jeopardize the health of patients and their pregnancies.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, different fears and concerns keep both pregnant patients and their doctors from having the honest conversations they should have in order for the best medical care to be administered. Patients might be worried to be completely honest about their drug (including over-the-counter medication) and alcohol use out of fear of being shamed or blamed for potential pregnancy problems. Their doctors, according to the ACOG study, are worried about discussing the safety of certain drugs or prescribing drugs due to a lack of studies on many drugs during pregnancy. 

An FDA-approved drug doesn’t mean that the drug is approved for use during pregnancy. Doctors have lists of supposedly safe drugs, drugs that over time have seemed to have little or no negative impact on mother and fetus during a pregnancy. But when it comes to newer drugs, doctors report feeling worried about prescribing them because they worry that something might go wrong and a patient will sue them for medical malpractice. 

More research on drugs during pregnancy would be helpful in providing confidence for pregnant women as well as their doctors. Still, patients today should be able to trust that their doctors prescribe them what is best for their condition, or not prescribe them what is proven to be harmful. If someone has suffered illness, injury, or harm to their fetus or born baby, a medical malpractice lawyer in her area can evaluate whether a doctor’s medication error or other medical mistake is to blame.