Friday, 26 April 2013

Pregnancy Diary: Week 8 - Books But No Booking In

This week I have dug my old, well-thumbed pregnancy and birth books out and embarked on some major reading sessions - great excuse for a lie down!  It's remarkable how this collection of books charts the evolution of my thinking and beliefs over the past four years.  From going in to Lara's pregnancy with some slightly alternative ideas, but a trust in all things medical, to coming out the other side of it completely changed, and that change continuing and evolving throughout Lara's babyhood, Sophia's pregnancy, and beyond.

The medical 'what to expect' type books are long gone, mostly, and the natural pregnancy and natural birth ones are very much to the fore.  Some that would be classed in the very 'hippy dippy' category, some that are rather more mainstream.  But all are now read by someone with a very changed mindset from four years ago, and the information taken from them is what is required by me and my baby, not what outsiders believe I should do or know.

It is my intention to profile the books as we go through this pregnancy, so more on those later, but for now suffice to say, I'm reading the good stuff!  Which brings me to the 'booking in' which is expected around this stage of pregnancy.  This is a lengthy appointment with a midwife to take medical history, and record previous pregnancies and births etc.  Seemingly inoccuous in itself, and considered essential by many, even a rite of passage at the beginning of a pregnancy.  The problem for us is that this starts the medicalisation of pregnancy and birth, which is something we consider ridiculous and unnecessary.

It is only in the past couple of hundred years that pregnancy and birth have been viewed as medical conditions.  They are not.  This false view of a natural process came about when 17th and 18th century doctors began to exert their power over upper class women, convincing them of the necessity of medical monitoring and intervention, and actually causing a huge spike in maternal and infant mortality in the process!  Unfortunately this practice was gradually rolled out across the population and pregnancy and birth became medicalised.

Prior to that the only attendants at birth would have been other, usually older and wiser and/or more experienced women.  These were not medical professionals, rather they were women who had attended and experienced many births and knew what to do to help both mother and baby.  They were literally there to stand by and assist only when needed.  Hence the term 'mid wife', literally with woman.  Alas even these wonderful and wise women have been superceded by those who worship at the altar of medicine and technology, at the expense of mothers and their babies.

Even our own lovely midwife of the past two pregnancies is by her own admission part of this medical machine, because she has no choice.  It would be wonderful to be able to employ an independent midwife, but even they, unless carefully chosen, are not immune to viewing pregnancy and birth as medical conditions, and anyway the cost is too prohibitive for us.

Of course, there have been some amazing medical advances which do indeed save the lives of mothers and babies every day; some diagnostic tests which are worth the outcomes they predict; some procedures which enable healthy babies to survive when they might not otherwise have done.  But there are also disasters and errors day after day, and moreover there is a determination to find something wrong with every pregnant woman in order for the medical staff to be seen to be doing something.  This is what their continual prodding and poking, their (potentially dangerous*) scans, their urine and blood tests, and their doom-mongering is for.

Michel Odent, renowned obstetrician and natural birth god, describes the 'nocebo' effect of routine obstetrician and midwife visits, where the continual talk of what could go wrong, and the endless search for problems, actually creates those problems itself.  The stress experienced by the tested, prodded and poked mother may actually be harming her and her baby, physically, psychologically and in terms of future attachment.  Potentially another reason our messed up culture has the most ridiculously low rates of successful breastfeeding to term.

So we will not be going for any 'booking in', we will not be notifying anyone of our pregnancy as yet, and we will not be booking any scans.  We will continue as nature intends, minding the messages from baby and body, and enjoying the wonders of this miracle of new life growing inside me.  That is not to say we won't seek medical 'care' further down the line, although it is highly unlikely that we will allow the continual testing and doom-mongering to feature in this pregnancy.  Of course, this isn't for everyone, but if you are interested in free pregnancy and birth, do let me know, it would be great to chat!

In the meantime, our little cell cluster is now the proper curled foetus-type shape, although it is still technically an embryo.  It is just over a centimetre or so long from head to bottom, and squirreling away as much energy as it can to continue this exponential growth.  As for me, well hello nausea!  So nice to see feel you again, I'm sure...  Not every day thankfully, but just enough to let me know it's there!  Oh, and I've been eating some weird combinations - jelly snakes and salt & vinegar Pringles anyone??  Yep, together.  Mmm...  And the only other thing of note, the smell of Branston pickle, unfortunately Lara's favourite, is sending me running for the hills.  Could be worse, it was washing powder and cleaning stuff in my first pregnancy, although that did mean I got out of housework, so not all bad!!

Until next week, Lx

* More on this at a later date.


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5 comments :

  1. Wow good for you! Each to their own I suppose, I have no choice but to be poked and prodded with needles and blood tests, due to having a medical condition and prev premature labour and now a low lying placenta. I really hope all goes well for you and look forward to reading more.xx

    http://emilysmummyandbeautyblog.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Thanks Emily. As I say, there are many reasons why medical intervention/care is useful and necessary, but there are also many times it is not. Unfortunately, worshipping technology and medicine as the West tends to do, means that there is a one size fits all approach which is expensive, unnecessary and potentially damaging. Best of luck with yours too! Lx

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    2. I wish I had no medical problems and could do it how you are, I bet you feel more relaxed with this pregnancy. I really hope it all goes well for you and I will be following your updates :)

      Check my blog if you get a mo, most of my posts at the moment are pregnancy related and reviewing various products to do with pregnancy or baby bits, and bump watch every 2 weeks I love keeping a bump journal to be able to look back on :) And Beauty stuff!

      http://emilysmummyandbeautyblog.blogspot.co.uk/

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  2. Good for you, I have said throughout all of my pregnancies that it is not an illness, I look forward to reading about your journey xxx

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  3. After a near-disastrous first delivery which ended with an emergency c-section, I opted for a planned one the second time around. You're a brave girl, and I have a huge respect for those ladies who do home births etc but it's not for me, I'm afraid. I don't worship the doctors, as you might know, and I think they pretty messed up with me the first time around. But I cannot fault the second op, for me this was the only possible option, I didn't want to take any chances. Love to you and your centimeter.

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