“You are constructing your own reality with the choices you make…or don’t make. If you really want a healthy pregnancy and joyful birth, and you truly understand that you are the one in control, then you must examine what you have or haven’t done so far to create the outcome you want.” –Kim Wildner-Mother’s Intention: How Belief Shapes Birth
This quote is very much the truth. Whatever we believe about ourselves so often becomes our reality. If we don’t feel like we have much to offer a situation, what will motivate us to try to accomplish anything within it? We give up before we try.
Carrying out what Wildner challenges you to do in this statement as someone who is planning to conceive, or someone who is already expecting begins with deciding how you feel about pregnancy and birth and your part in the process. Are you intimidated or scared? Is pregnancy and birth like a normal process to you, or does it feel more like a condition to be managed? Do you feel like you have anything to offer your pregnancy and birth? Is there any part of it you are in control of?
The answers to these questions matter, and depending on how you answer them, they could greatly impact your pregnancy and birth. There are a great many things we cannot control in childbearing, but there are also a great many that we can. Once we are aware of what we can do to make childbearing as low-risk, healthy, and safe as possible for ourselves and our babies, what do we do with that information? Do we actively participate in our healthcare? Do we make lifestyle changes and decisions that will put us on the path of the pregnancy and birth experience and outcome we know could be possible for us?
Being that birth in most instances is a normal, natural life event, how we conduct ourselves during pregnancy, and the choices we make about our birth will either contribute to a positive and healthy outcome, or will be a detriment to our health and that of our babies’. Sure, there are times when we aren’t aware of some simple things that could make huge differences. Those times happen to all of us, and we can only learn from our experiences and remember them when a time to use what we learned comes around again. It will happen to many of us during pregnancy and birth. It happened to me. But, once we are made aware, it is our choice to act on that awareness or not to act that we must take responsibility for. Doing all we can to keep our pregnancies and births low-risk, healthy, and safe, will also do a great deal to keep away the what-if, sad, and/or guilty feelings that no mother should ever endure surrounding her pregnancy and birth experience. The peace that comes with knowing you did all that was within your ability to create the best possible outcome, is true satisfaction.
The first thing that I recommend that anyone planning a pregnancy or already expecting do, is inform yourself about healthy pregnancy and birth. Get informed so you have something to work with… so that you know the choices that are yours to make.
If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any. -Diana Korte and Roberta Scaer, authors of A Good Birth, A Safe Birth: Choosing and Having the Childbirth Experience You Want
If there is ever a time when I know for certain that ignorance is not bliss, it is during pregnancy and birth. Assumptions cannot be relied upon, and simple beliefs can often let us down. There is a huge responsibility placed on the pregnant woman in our culture to be aware of, or to seek out on her own the information she needs to be an informed decision maker in her maternity care. It is in many situations that or to depend upon her care provider to inform her. In the United States the average OB visit is 6 minutes in length (in time actually with the doctor), the average certified nurse midwife visit in hospital or clinic setting is 15 minutes. After the essential care is performed, how much time does that leave for informing and questions? Many insurances won’t pay a doctor if the visit lasts much over the average visit length. It is up to mamas to pick up the slack, and to ask as many questions as you need answers for from your care provider.
How do I get informed?
- Check out from the library or buy some good pregnancy books. Sure, What to Expect When You’re Expecting is a fine book, but I’d recommend you take a look at several more, especially if you are planning a natural childbirth. I have several great books listed at the bottom of the Cesarean Awareness Radio Documentary page.
- Utilize the multitude of information you can find online, but beware of unreliable websites. Check out my post on reliable online pregnancy and birth websites.
- Watch some of the many movies out there for pregnant mamas such as The Business of Being Born, Pregnant in America, and Orgasmic Birth all of which are available from Netflix.
- Take a childbirth education class, or several.
Eat a Healthy Diet…
Yes, this is highly important. I could link you to all the recent studies that have proven that this or that related to what a pregnant woman eats can reduce or raise the risks of so many awful health conditions for both mothers and babies. You can find nutrition information from a variety of sources for pregnancy. I recommend looking at the March of Dimes website and The Brewer Pregnancy Diet. The book Real Food for Mother and Baby by Nina Planck is also a great resource. In the Birth True class Setting the Stage for a Healthy Pregnancy and birth, this topic is covered as well as other mentioned in this post. I now offer this class online as well for mothers not in my general area of the states.
Moving your body is important in pregnancy. It has so many benefits it would take me a long time to mention them all here. But, I have written about pregnancy exercise a few times here, so I’ll link you to those posts. Prenatal Yoga and general exercise and Yoga for Motherhood
Learn about the Lamaze 6 Healthy Birth Practices…
Explore Mother’s Advocate to learn more about these birth practices and choosing the care provider and birth setting that will best support your choices. This is an amazing website with video and written information on so many birth related topics.
If you do these simple activities, you will have done so much for yourself and your baby. But, I must say, that above all these – trust your body and your baby. Trust that your body was made for birth, and both it and your baby know what to do throughout pregnancy and on that big day. Trust it, because it is true.
Many blessings to you and yours,