What’s Luck Got to Do With Healthy Pregnancy?
Women today are given the impression that a healthy pregnancy is all about luck…
…that they're just lucky if they don't have any pregnancy complications, that they're just lucky if their babies aren't premature, and that they're just lucky if they don't need to have interventions during their baby's births.
But is that the truth?
Pregnancy and Childbirth: Dangerous Adventures?
Here's the truth – pregnancy is a huge deal. As much as I love being pregnant myself (I've had 8 babies), I know that it's not always easy.
Pregnancy changes every system in your body – it affects all of you. Plus there's a growing baby inside of you who comes with his or her own accessories (placenta and amniotic fluid, anyone?).
There's definitely a level of change and even stress to the body.
And childbirth takes a lot, too. It's like a marathon (only the reward is much sweeter <3)
I don't want to downplay the fact that pregnancy and birth are a really big deal in a woman's life (and I'm only talking physically right now – they have a huge mental and emotional component, and for many women, a spiritual component, too).
But pregnancy is something that is supposed to happen to women – our bodies were literally made for this.
Do You Need A Savior?
Today most women are told to start prenatal care right away, as if stepping foot in the OB or midwife's office is some sort of magic dance that will keep you and your baby safe.
I strongly feel that a good midwife or OB is important and I am a big believer in prenatal appointments (which I'll discuss more shortly).
However, there is a mythos around prenatal care and around OB's and midwives that needs to be dispelled…
Your care provider is not your savior.
Your care provider is not there to swoop and save your baby from all the things that can go wrong during pregnancy.
That's the popular perception. That's why most moms go to a care provider.
But this position totally short-changes mothers and their power. It also undermines the growth and maturity that moms-to-be should have during pregnancy.
The Role of Advisor
Your care provider should be your advisor.
He or she does bring something to the table. Your care provider has experience and wisdom, and I sincerely hope that he or she is enthusiastic about keeping up with the latest research on pregnancy, birth, and the newborn.
That's not something simply dismiss outright… in fact, it's something to celebrate and a resource to use.
But you have to have someone who is willing to step into that position. If you see an OB for 5 minutes at your appointments, it's likely that your OB is playing the part of a savior – there in case anything goes wrong (maybe they're thinking “when” something goes wrong). But your care provider doesn't see that they have a role in empowering you to make a difference in your own pregnancy.
A care provider who realizes that role will take time with you, answer your questions, offer you knowledge, teach you things you didn't know, help you research concerns that they're not familiar with, and more.
You don't need a savior – you need a partner who is willing to bring wisdom and experience to the team.
There are times when things do go wrong – sometimes there are just “unlucky” circumstances. Sometimes a care provider's knowledge and skill DO come in an “save the day.”
I'm not downplaying any of that.
Honestly, I think we all know that. Everybody realizes that sometimes you do need life-saving skills, and dismissing a broken system (the current maternity care system) because sometimes we do need them isn't helpful. It doesn't help fix the system. It just enables people to treat women like children and pregnancy and birth like a game of chance.
Call it a “Hollywood phenomenon” – there's such a love for the dramatic, that we've chosen to ignore the everyday power of mothers.
Fixing the system involves empowering you, the mama, and giving you the knowledge that you need. It means honoring the wisdom and power you have…
Let's re-write that script…
The Power of a Mother
Women are powerful. Mothers are powerful.
You can do so much for your body, for your pregnancy, and for your baby.
Seek a care provider who honors what you already know, the deep wisdom that is in every woman's body.
Seek a care provider who honors that wisdom, and is willing to teach you what more you want to know.
Be open, teachable, hungry for more knowledge.
Pregnancy and birth are sacred and there are mysteries we will perhaps never unravel within them – but much of what you need to know about healthy pregnancy, natural birth, and healthy babies is straightforward and practical.
Take the time to listen to your body and honor that inborn wisdom – and take the time to seek the knowledge that you need to take practical, every day steps.
You and your baby can do this, gentle mama – and do it well!
For More Information
Do you feel frustrated that pregnancy seems to be all about “luck” and nobody gives you solid information how to feel great and grow a healthy baby? I'm thrilled to share Great Pregnancy – packed with videos, handouts, and materials to walk you through everything you need to know to eat well, exercise safely, position your baby well, and prevent pregnancy and birth complications. You'll also get materials that bring clarity and wisdom on topics like gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, group b strep, and more. Click here to get full details on Great Pregnancy!