42 Weeks to an Informed Pregnancy

 

I wanted to let you in on a little project that you may have heard about here and there, but mostly I’ve kept it under wraps.  I’m writing a pregnancy book!  I’m not the only one who thinks that there’s a need for this sort of thing, Kristen and Heather and Sally Fallon and Nina Planck all have books on real food, healthy babies, and making informed choices.  They’re all fantastic resources that I recommend you check out, I own all these books and love them.

But mine’s a little different, I really like breaking down overwhelming processes like the GAPS diet, GAPS intro, or freezer cooking in day-by-day, meal-by-meal instruction.

So that’s what my book is, a 5-day-a-week workbook that mothers-to-be can read through for 5 minutes every morning or evening and when doing so, they cover important topics that a lot of women don’t realize they can or should question.

I’m also making this as ‘mainstream friendly’ as I can, working to not alienate women who have only heard What to Expect’s opinion on things like vaccination, home birth, epidurals, co-sleeping, and baby’s first foods.  I am writing to plant a seed of questioning, and links to additional resources.

Is this right for your family? Is it what you want to do, or is it just what you think everyone does?

Why am I writing this?

I’m writing this because I come across so many mothers who say,

‘I wouldn’t have circumcised, I just didn’t know that anyone did any differently’.

“I supplemented with formula because that’s what the doctor said to do, I didn’t realize how important drinking water and getting enough sleep was for my milk production”.

“I thought my only concern with first foods was to prevent choking, I didn’t know about the gut flora still being established”

As I see first time moms making decisions, I’ve become more outspoken with advice. Before, I thought that it really was unsolicited and unwanted, but these moms are HUNGRY for someone to have some opinions other than ‘talk to your doctor’.

That’s what this book is for.

I don’t want to push my agenda on anyone, or shame anyone who doesn’t do things how I did them, I just want to present more information to expecting and new moms than the 10-minute prenatal appointment or well baby visit where a quick pro-and-con speech is delivered, and then a decision has to be made right there.

This book is to bridge the gap between What to Expect when You’re Expecting and The Ina May Guide to Childbirth.  It’s for moms who choose home birth, or moms who choose an epidural in a hospital, but in either way they are making an informed choice that is their own.

This book is sisterly advice to all the women who want to understand what’s going on, but they don’t know where to start.

I want your input

I know my readers are pretty natural minded.  What would you want your sister, your neighbor, your co-worker to know they can question and have more information about, without actually having that awkward conversation? I’d love your comments below, or feel free to use the contact form to email me.

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An excerpt

Here are some questions that I encourage families to ask before choosing a care provider.   This is from page 17:

Interviewing practitioners can be stressful for natural-minded mamas! We often have researched a ton, and have a very clear idea about what we want done for a normal childbirth and normal newborn care. When choosing a practitioner, here are some tips to help you choose someone who will support you in having the healthy pregnancy and birth that you desire.

Most practitioners don’t see pregnant women until they are 8 weeks along, some wait all the way til 14 weeks, and some doctors see you for a blood draw pregnancy confirmation and early ultrasound as early as 5 weeks (1 week after your missed period).

When choosing a practitioner, not only are you choosing someone who you feel comfortable with, but you also are choosing someone who respects you as a person, you feel will honor your wishes, and most importantly, someone that you feel is competent in their ability to safely help you deliver your baby!

Just being ‘certified’ by your state or country doesn’t mean that all practitioners are equally competent. I had to interview half a dozen midwives before I found one I was comfortable with using, I need a very hands off approach, and I needed them to demonstrate that they knew exactly what they would do and why, along with the science that backed it up, in unlikely birth emergencies. The combination of those two things would allow me to relax and focus on labor, not on defending my rights as a mother or rejecting their interventions that are not evidence based.

These questions are written for you to not only assess the practitioner’s competence, but also to see how they react to ideas that may challenge their own beliefs. Note any defensiveness, also note if they flounder and can’t provide an answer for what they would do in a certain situation, or if they state something as fact that your own research has shown not to be.

Use this list as a jumping off point- choose the questions that you want to ask.

You also need to pay attention to the provider’s reactions. If they downplay things important to you, pull the “dead baby” card. If they don’t want to reveal their induction or cesarean rate, that’s not a good sign. Phrase questions in a way to make sure that they are ok with you being in control of your own birth. “Do you allow laboring upright” would often be answered ‘sure’ and then when the time came they may change their mind. Phrasing the same question as “I’m planning on birthing upright, are you comfortable with this” will show more if their answer is floundering around ‘well, unless I need to see better’ is not an answer that shows respect for you.

 

  • How do you feel about kangaroo care?
  • How often do you do vaginal exams?
  • How do you feel about no vaginal exams or only one when I first get to the hospital?
  • Do you want women to progress at a certain rate?
  • What do you require for monitoring? (continuous or intermittent Doppler, etc)
  • What is your cesarean section rate?
  • What is your VBAC rate?
  • How far past my due date will you be comfortable with me going?
  • What is your epidural rate?
  • What is your episiotomy rate?
  • What is your induction rate?
  • Do you have vacations or special events planned around my due date?
  • Do you attend all your births or do I just get whoever is on-call?
  • How do you feel about me eating and drinking in labor?
  • What different positions have your patients/clients delivered in?
  • What is the most common position (for the mother) they deliver in?
  • Do you do waterbirths?
  • How do you feel about me having a doula?
  • How do you feel about birth plans?
  • How do you feel about allowing a cord to pulse? (honestly, you find the most out about a doc here- some will say baby has to be lower so the gravity makes sure the blood goes to the baby otherwise blood will run the other way, taking all the baby’s blood, some will say if you leave the cord too long it will start draining mom’s blood, or it only benefits preemies, statistically the differences aren’t a big deal if babe is full term.)
  • How do you feel about circumcision?
  • I don’t want the baby roughed up… will the nurses leave us alone as long as baby is alert?
  • How do you feel about allowing my body to expel the placenta on it’s own, without using cord traction?
  • How do you feel about no augmentation after birth?
  • Do you suction the baby?
  • If yes, do you suction on the perineum?
  • Do you give mothers oxygen during birth?
  • Do you give babies oxygen?

 

42 weeks to an Informed Pregnancy is to help you make informed decisions that work for your family for the pregnancy/birth/and first year of having a baby. Weekly research prompts are given to you, along with recipes for nourishing foods, an online resource page, and fun activities like tips for pregnancy photo shoots, and journal prompts for your pregnancy journal. Sign up for the newsletter here to learn more!