From OB/GYN appointments that assume everyone needs birth control to prevent pregnancy to restrictive ideas about what it means to build a family, the healthcare system can sometimes feel alienating to queer people.
As a queer Black person, it can be especially helpful to see a care team that shares your cultural background, as studies show that seeing Black providers typically leads to better health education and health outcomes for Black patients. Here are some tips to help you navigate the system and advocate for yourself.
Find a provider who gets you
First things first: it’s critical that you find a provider who really understands your position, whether or not they’re queer and Black themselves. Finding a provider that takes the time to correctly pronounce your name and use your pronouns, can go a long way in making you feel comfortable and taken care of. If your provider is consistently misgendering you or mispronouncing your name, this can be a clear sign that they are not a good fit for you.
Don’t be afraid to shop around for a provider that makes you feel comfortable. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, and the OB/GYN your friend loves so much may still not be the right fit for you. Ovia Health’s coaching team can help you find in-network providers who fit your needs across specialities, location, queer-friendliness, racial and ethnic identity, and more. Once you have the list in hand, set up a few appointments and be sure to ask each provider specific questions during your first visit about how you’ll work together towards your reproductive health goals. Learn more about finding the right provider.
Consider alternative options
More and more people are choosing to work with a midwife for their ongoing reproductive care rather than a traditional OB/GYN. Midwives offer most services that OB/GYNs do and focus on taking a whole-health approach to patient care. They can address low-risk to normal-risk conditions, whether around sexual health, pregnancy and birth, or postpartum. They can help with things like STI counseling and testing, common concerns like yeast infections or UTIs, and fertility support. In fact, due to their holistic approach, many midwives focus on making sure that, if you are trying to conceive, you and your body is prepared to have the healthiest pregnancy possible. Ability to prescribe medications can vary by state.
If you already have a provider but aren’t satisfied with their care, or if your goals have changed (perhaps you’re now trying to get pregnant), consider switching providers for one that better fits your needs. Advocate for yourself and find the right fit for you.
Advocate for your needs
During every visit, you have the right to ask as many questions as you want to understand exactly what is going on with your body. Try keeping a list of the concerns that arise in between visits and bringing it to your next appointment (and be sure to talk to an Ovia Coach in the meantime!) Check out these helpful resources on talking to your provider.
You have the right to be seen, heard, and get the care you need.
- “What is a Midwife and Why Might a Woman Want to See One?” Jessica Costa, CNM. Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic. December 12, 2018. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/podcasts/health-essentials/what-is-a-midwife-and-why-might-a-woman-want-to-see-one.
- “Benefits of Using a Midwife.” Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/departments/obgyn-womens-health/depts/obstetrics-family-maternity-center/midwife#benefits-tab.