Although I’m done birthing babies, I still absolutely LOVE all things pregnancy and birth. My crunchy journey jump started when I switched to a midwife-led freestanding birth center from a standard OB/GYN practice during the second trimester of my first pregnancy. I switched because I could no longer stomach paying $500 per visit for a three minute appointment with a doctor that couldn’t even address me by name. I wanted something more personal and less debt-inducing. I’ll admit I was skeptical… Midwives? Do they even know what they’re doing or do they just wave around ribbons and fan incense? OH, how wrong I was.
My husband and I attended the birth center’s weekly orientation to check it out. The two hours spent there listening to a Certified Nurse Midwife (with multiple degrees and decades of experience) absolutely changed everything in my soon-to-be-a-mommy world.
Did you know…
- …states with midwife friendly laws have better birth outcomes? Less cesareans, less stillbirths, more evidence based medicine, more family centered care.
- …the maternal death rate in the Unites States is RISING? In 1990, the US was ranked #22 out of 180 countries. In 2014, the US had fallen to #60. Mom’s today are twice as likely to die in childbirth than their own mothers were.
- …having a doctor *think* your baby is “big” is more dangerous than actually birthing a big baby? The assumptions and prophylactic measures create unnecessary danger.
- …being on your back is one of the worst positions for giving birth? The baby has to travel parallel to the birth canal and then UPWARDS to exit.
- …full term is 39 weeks? Who thought it was 36-37?? Some in the medical field still don’t know when full term is.
- …you are not overdue until you are over 42 weeks? A due date is not an expiration date. Most first time mothers will go into labor naturally between 41 and 42 weeks.
- …the “no food or drink” rule is based on an observation of women under general anesthesia for a cesarean in 1949? The risk of a woman asprirating on her own vomit is negligible with today’s anesthesia methods. How many other days during pregnancy are women advised to abstain from all food and liquid?
- …the eye antibiotic applied to babies immediately after birth is to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted disease from mom to baby? If you don’t have an STD, your baby does not need the ointment.
- …one in ten mothers come away from birth meeting the criteria for post traumatic stress disorder? Recurring nightmares, flashbacks, blackouts, anxiety attacks, etc.
- …many care providers in the US do not follow current best practices and instead follow traditional, outdated, INCORRECT guidelines? Continuous electronic fetal monitoring, late term ultrasounds, cervical checks before labor, routine episiotomies… All in contradiction to the recommendations of (inter)national research and medical bodies.
I’m not being preachy, I promise. I’m just desperate to share with others so that they too might have that lightbulb moment and realize it’s okay to learn about what’s happening to you. No matter HOW you birth, knowledge is your ally. Being informed about your body, your baby, your options, your provider, your legal rights, and modern medicine does not make you a control freak. And it doesn’t mean you think you know better than a medical professional. Having a birth plan does not make you selfish and naive. It means you are planning the safest route earthside for your baby and are educated about the possible outcomes and your alternatives.
Birth plans are about wellness and safety.
Let’s get that straight.
I’ve seen so many moms-to-be say, “My doctor has been to medical school. I trust him more than someone rambling on the interwebs.”
Trust is great! Trust is one of the top priorities when choosing a provider. But do you trust them because you think they know best? Or do you trust them because you know they know best?
This is the 21st century. We have legitimate medical research at our fingertips. I’m not saying we should think we know it all because we read a research paper, but I’m saying we need to be active, educated participants in our care. Make decisions with your care provider. With access to so much information in this generation, and with the birth statistics going downhill so quickly, we just can’t afford not to educate ourselves.
Evidence Based Birth is a real resource, founded and ran by Rebecca Dekker, a nurse researcher, professor, PhD, and mother. These articles are based on the same medical information and resources that any other doctor would use. All her references are clearly cited and her articles are thorough and well-written. If you are an evidencebasedbirth.com virgin, I promise you, this site will change everything you think you know about pregnancy, birth, and medical care in the United States.
And for the love of all things precious and new… PLEASE never ever ever tell a woman, “well, all that matters is a healthy baby.” A mother’s health matters too. And… A baby born to a certifiably traumatized, clinically depressed, and/or physically injured mother is NOT in any way part of a “healthy” situation.