I asked a woman the other day how she was feeling about her pregnancy and she replied, “Well my doctor says were doing fine, so I guess everything is good.” What amused me was not her response but that I still get surprised when I hear this type of reply!
Life caught me off guard.
You see, just like we all do at times, I was momentarily viewing the world from my perspective. This woman had previously been a nurse and her approach to pregnancy made perfect sense, she found great comfort with medical management. As we all know our “belief systems” create our world and her life to date had revolved around providing care within the medical paradigm and her response was congruent with her philosophy. My “surprise” was also authentic as I was raised in a household where pregnancy is viewed as a perfectly natural process governed by Mother Nature or Innate Intelligence rather than a physician.
There are many approaches we can take in preparation for birth and there are no right or wrongs as long as the couple involved investigate all their options and their needs are honoured.
Many couples today choose to have their babies at a later age and prospective parents are often encouraged to have their pregnancy ‘managed’ by a specialist. Most “pregnancy guides” or books tell us that although pregnancy and childbirth are normal events in a woman’s life, they can be ‘enhanced’ by the expertise of maternity care providers. There are however, literally hundreds of tests and procedures couples can have prior to conception and then during pregnancy; yet I can’t help wondering just how much ‘enhancing’ nature really needs?
For most women, pregnancy needn’t be a ‘medical process’. Women are not sick or broken, nor do we need to be poked and prodded every few weeks. Since the beginning of time, pregnancy has been and still remains a natural phenomenon. In most cases it is not a medical event—it is not an illness.
Certainly I would agree that parents want to give their unborn child the healthiest start in life and invasive tests and intervention may provide valuable information regarding their baby’s progress; the tests are not, however, without risk, nor are they the best way to “build” maternal or foetal health.
I am not suggesting that we dispense with all antenatal tests—this would be foolish. But Western culture tends to forget that women across the globe give birth every day to healthy children without having a multitude of tests and scans. Statistics indicate that 95% of births across the globe are uncomplicated.
It is important for women to remember that the health and vitality they experience during pregnancy and post-birth depends upon the proactive steps they take towards wellness, not on the number of antenatal tests they complete.
Some couples seek the advice of an obstetrician before conceiving, and their doctor may wish to perform certain tests. For the most part, these procedures are screenings which indicate that the mother is free from infections or disorders. These tests will tell couples that they are within the ‘normal’ range of health, but they do not indicate how mothers can be healthier.
I believe the objective of prenatal care should be to arm parents with knowledge and confidence on how to strengthen their health, enabling them to better nurture their unborn child.
Please see the blog 10 Steps To A Healthier Pregnancy!