Healthy and Informed Pregnancy: Building Confidence
With all of the solicited and un-solicited advice that I have received throughout my pregnancy from everyone (including the woman at the checkout in the grocery store!), it’s hard to know who and what to listen to. This is why I chose to dedicate my next series of blog posts to the most unbiased information that I can to help you build confidence and make informed decisions that are right for you and your family.
1. The choices you have made for your care are right
Whether you seek care from a midwife, nurse practitioner, OB, or “all of the above”, you have made the right decision. Both home-birth and hospital-birth are completely valid options. Chances are, if you are reading this post, you have put (or are putting) a lot of time and energy into researching your options for your healthcare during pregnancy.
No matter what choices you make in planning your birth, you will always find someone on the other side of the spectrum who (with good intentions, of course) will try to convince you that you are making the wrong decision. You’re not. Listen to your heart. Only you can know what type of birth and careproviders are right for you. Here are a few questions you may find helpful in making your pre-natal care and birth plan decisions:
1. Do I trust my healthcare providers? Are they giving me unbiased information and allowing me to make my own decisions?
2. Do I feel more comfortable and secure in my home, a birthing center, or in a hospital?
3. Do the people giving me advise have actual first hand knowledge and experience with both hospital and home birth?
4. Have I found the right birth assistants to surround me and guide me during my birth? Do these people ease or create anxiety for me?
I also need to point out that at any time (even down to a few weeks before your due date) you have every right, without judgement, to change your birth plan. You should never feel stuck with a certain healthcare provider or birth plan decision.
2. Social Pressure to “work through it”
As a pregnant woman, your number one job is to grow a baby. Whether you are a CEO of a fortune 500, or a part-time dog walker, growing a healthy baby is now your top priority... Lucky you! When else in your life is it really “all about you”? Take this time and treasure it. Nourish yourself both physically and mentally.
That being said, pregnancy treats different women very differently. Some women have no morning sickness, and others are very queasy for their entire pregnancy. Some women prefer to keep their pregnancy quiet, while others want to shout it from the facebook rooftop as soon as they test positive. In addition, all women have different pressures from their personal lives that they need to juggle. There is a lot of pressure from society to treat pregnancy like a normal occurrence in our life. Women are encouraged to keep working and ignore and symptoms they are dealing with.
However, pregnancy is a medical condition that requires a lot of extra attention. While some women get bursts of energy and are able to work full time, it is also normal for women to tire easily and require cutting back. Just because your co-worker’s cousin’s friend was able to work full time and had no morning sickness, does not mean that this will or should be your experience. If you need to cut back and work less, or not at all, this is completely normal and should be honored.
Listen to your body and do what works for you. Know that no matter where you fall on the energy level spectrum, it is normal. Your experiences while pregnant are unlike anyone else’s, so just take care of yourself, don’t compare yourself to others, and don’t put your health on the back burner. Get all the rest you can now, because once the baby comes...
3. Your Body, Your Birth, Your Business
One of the greatest pieces of advice I have received lately is, “smile, nod, say thank you, and then go and do whatever you want”. It is not your duty to change people’s mind surrounding how they feel pregnancy and birth should be handled, and as I said earlier, you are already making the the right decisions for you. What works for one mama to be, may not work for another. Your experience is your own.
Whether during your pregnancy or actual birth, this time is about you and your process in becoming a new Mama. You have every right to listen to the advice that makes sense to you, and make decisions that are right for your own personal situation. You have the right to decide how and where you want to plan your birth, who will be in your birth room, and who can visit you during your first few days of parenthood.
Now is the time to open clear lines of communication with your loved ones and ask for what and when you need from them. It is important that your loved ones acknowledge and respect your decisions surrounding your pregnancy and birth so that they are able to enjoy this time as much as you are, and feelings are not hurt if you decide that you need more or less space surrounding your pregnancy and birth.
4. Who to listen to/Resources
Here are a few resources that I have found to be helpful in my journey through pregnancy thus far. I will go deeper into more medically-based information in the next installments of this blog topic, but for now, you may find these books helpful:
“From the Hips” by Rebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris “Birthing from Within” by Pam England and Rob Horowitz “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” by Ina May Gaskin