Posted by: babybumper | October 26, 2010

The Pregnancy Disease

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!



  1. 1.) When we got our first employee insurance, the newest benefit was covering maternity “like any other disease”. (I really thought that was an odd way of putting it.) And it was many more years before ‘health’ (like preventative medicine) was covered.

    2.) The dr broke my water with my first kid. It ramped things up faster than I could handle, so I agreed to an epidural (cutting-edge stuff back then) which seemed to slow things down — too much. We didn’t do any of that the next 4 times. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t the worst thing life offers, either!

    3.) People do ‘treat’ young pregnant women to all the horror stories about birth that they know. Do you suppose it’s the fear of change as much as anything that perpetuates what you’re talking about?

    • I love the recent swing from disease treatment to health prevention and promotion! I suppose our view on pregnancy and childbirth, which have always been a normally healthy condition, may swing in the same direction!

      I believe it is a modern shift from interfering with normal childbirth to the “we can do it better” attitude that is behind many of our interventions. I feel like the change came from “let well enough alone,” to interfering even when things look good.

      I bet women do hear more horror birth stories than wonderful birth stories. Is that because most of our births around here are horrible, or because horrible births make for better stories? If anyone has a wonderful birth story, I would love to feature it on my blog!!

      Thanks for the thoughts and comments!

  2. I had the absolute best birth experience. My water broke at home the day before my due date on Aug. 6th. I was very determined to have a natural experience. I didn’t want to do anything unnatural that might hurt the baby or slow down the labor. My water broke with a loud pop (so weird!) – and after folding some laundry, I headed to the hospital. My contractions were 5 minutes apart from the beginning and I had been dilated to 4 for a week. My L&D was wonderful and very supportive of my plan to go natural. My husband was the only support I needed during labor. I focused on breathing and stared down the clock. After 3 hours at the hospital, the pain was intense, but I was in control. I was dilated to 7cm. My nurse had me in a rocking chair, on a ball, and in different positions in the bed. She gave the best back rubs, too! The last hour, the pain did get really intense and I started to lose control. The next time they checked me I was at 9. Five minutes later, I could feel a lot of pressure, and boom – fully dilated! The urge to push was intense. It was such a relief. I pushed for about 15 minutes and out came my precious boy! I was able to breastfeed right away. He was so alert and nursed for 30 minutes. My husband and I spent nearly an hour with him before our families came in. The nursery nurses were very understanding and let us have a couple hours before they took him for his bath and lab work. I was in labor for only 5 hours and I contribute that to “going natural.” God knew exactly what he was doing in designing our bodies. It seems like when man intereferes to make it better, we just make it worse. I wouldn’t change a thing about my experience – it was perfect!

    • What a great story, Chelsey!! That sounds awesome (I love to heart about great support from a nurse, too!!).

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