Pregnancy is not a disease that overtakes a woman for 9 months which she is finally freed of with much outside interference through birth.
Pregnancy is normal. Pregnancy is healthy. Pregnancy is a natural function of the body, which performs its job beautifully most of the time!
Why do we receive medical care for pregnancy? The bulk of good prenatal care is education for health promotion and screening to ensure the pregnancy is staying normal. When a pregnancy deviates from the norm, it can become more similar to a disease process, and may require more medical intervention.
The end of the pregnancy, birth, is also normal! Birth is healthy! Normal birth is not a medical event! Why do we receive medical care for delivery? Although normal and healthy, it is helpful to have an expert who observes to ensure the labor and delivery stays within normal limits. When a delivery deviates from the wide range of normal, birth may require more medical intervention.
The female body is designed to give birth! Normal birth is NOT surgery! When mothers and babies are healthy, we do NOT make them healthier by interfering! When we try to unnecessarily help we subject both mom and baby to unnecessary hazards. Interventions are helpful when needed, and dangerous when not needed. America intrudes in childbirth much more than other countries. Have we made it better to give birth? Do we have healthier moms and babies? No. A higher percent of babies die in the US then in 32 other countries! US women are more likely to die in childbirth than 40 other countries, 5 times more likely than Greece, and 4 times more likely than Germany.
Viewing pregnancy as normal and healthy raises many questions about our Routine Care during Labor and Delivery.
A few of my pet peeves:
- Why be induced if your pregnancy is still healthy?
- Why let the doc “break your water” if your cervix is changing?
- Why accept Pitocin if your cervix is changing?
- Why be monitored continuously if your baby’s heart rate is reassuring?
Do we expect things to go right, or expect things to go wrong?
Do you think in our culture pregnancy and childbirth is feared like a disease process, or viewed as a healthy state? What experiences have you had that lead to a fear of childbirth? Did you grow up with a positive or apprehensive view of birth? How can we change mindsets toward health promotion in pregnancy, not just risk management? I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic!