3 Things Your OB/GYN Should Never Say to You (According to an OB/GYN)

We’re going to be honest: Going to the OB/GYN is not something we necessarily look forward to. It can be painful (hello, pap smears), awkward (ever frantically tried to hide your underwear before the doctor comes in?) and just generally not that fun—and that’s without your doctor dismissing your concerns or treating you like a child. To ensure that doesn’t happen, we checked in with Dr. Nicole Rankins, MD, for three things your gynecologist should never say to you during your appointment.  

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illustration of a woman at the doctor
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1. “I Don’t Allow You to Do XYZ During Labor and Birth.”

Allow implies that the doctor has control over what you do,” Dr. Rankins stresses. “Not true! They are your doctor, not your parents. You’re a grown woman, not a child. You don’t need permission.” She tells us that instead of saying, for example, that they won’t allow you to go past your due date, doctors should be providing guidance and explanations for that guidance (specifically risks, benefits and alternatives), not ‘allowing.’

2. “There’s No Way You’ll Be Able to Get Pregnant.”

Dr. Rankins tells us she’s heard of this in the context of endometriosis or having pelvic scar tissue from surgery. “The only way someone definitely won’t get pregnant is if they are not having sex, don’t have a uterus or are in menopause,” she says. “Otherwise, it’s possible.” It could definitely be more difficult, but she explains that she’s seen many instances where someone with endometriosis was told they couldn’t get pregnant and then did.

3. “There’s Nothing Wrong with You.”

“This happens too frequently in the context of having pain,” Dr. Rankins says. “It can be frustrating and hard to figure out why someone is having pain, but you never want to hear anyone dismiss your symptoms.” If a doctor is dismissing your symptoms and making you doubt yourself, you could be dealing with medical gaslighting, which you can learn more about right here—including how to make sure you get the care you deserve.

sarah stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...