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This 31-Weeks-Pregnant Reddit User Says No Doctors Will Take Her—Here's Why

Women's Health logo Women's Health 21/06/2017 Korin Miller

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When you’re pregnant, you assume that you’ll not only receive prenatal care—you’ll receive good prenatal care. But one woman says on Reddit that no doctor will treat her because she discovered her pregnancy in her third trimester.

Reddit user 29weekspregnant-wtf says in her post that she discovered she was pregnant at 29 weeks, which she called a “total shocker” that sent her into a “full-on panic.” Then, she says, she called every obstetrician she could within a 60-mile radius, but no one would take her on as a patient. “A lot of them told me they could not take me on as their patient because I was past 24 weeks and it was a liability they were unable to take. Sucked but I kept trying,” she writes. “I even called a midwife in my area but never heard back from her.”

She finally found a practice that would take her but she’s struggling with health insurance issues. “I'm currently 31 weeks pregnant and I'm really, really terrified that something will go wrong and I won't know WTF to do,” she writes. “I'm scared I won't go into labor naturally and have to be induced…but how the frick will I know if I need to be induced or need a C-section or anything like that if I don't have a freaking doctor?!”

She added, “Even my S.O. has said they're jerking me around like a f------ rag doll because no one wants to take on a patient so far along. I get it, it's a risk and possibly a liability for whoever will take me on, but it's absolute horses— that I can't find someone to give me some sort of care in the last two months of my pregnancy.” (Women's Health's reached out to this Reddit user to find out more about her story, but she didn't respond before our publication deadline.)

So how common is it for a woman who discovers a pregnancy late to run into these types of health care issues? 

Well, Lauren Streicher, M.D., an associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine admits that it “can be a challenge” to find a doctor when you’re that far along if you don’t already have one. But the reason doctors might turn someone away typically isn’t because it’s a liability.

According to Streicher, it’s not uncommon for women to call up a doctor’s office late in pregnancy and be told she can’t be seen simply because the practice is full. Practices can only handle so many women giving birth at the same time, and once they reach their limit, it’s hard to take on someone else, she explains.

There are also people who do what Streicher calls “ob-hopping,” meaning, they jump around from doctor to doctor, don’t pay their bills, and don’t listen to medical advice. “Sometimes they show up on your doorstep a month before their due date and we don’t want to get involved,” she says.

Of course, women who wait until the third trimester to seek care can be a liability—women with no prenatal care are at a higher risk of having pregnancy complications than those who did have care—but Streicher says doctors “would never turn someone down just for that reason.” As long as doctors document all of the things they would have done for prenatal screening and note that the patient came to them too late to do certain procedures, Streicher says they should be protected legally.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, Streicher recommends going to a major medical center or someplace with a university tie-in. They typically have a doctor referral department that can find a doctor for you.

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