Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Information Era

In my quest to get pregnant and during the past several weeks of pregnancy I have been chatting quite a bit with my mom and grandma, and it amazes me how little they knew about their bodies, sex, pregnancy and birth.  I remember my mom telling me about when she gave birth to me.  She had finally pushed me out and felt relieved and exhausted.  Then the doctors told her to keep pushing and she freaked out: "the baby's out! why do I need to push?" and that's when they told her she had to push the placenta out too. Can you imagine not knowing that?! Why the hell didn't her doctor tell her about the stages of childbirth beforehand?

And it's little things like how to get pregnant or how NOT to get pregnant.  After having three boys my grandma told me she wouldn't let my grandpa sleep in the bed until he "got snipped."

Sure, nowadays there are books, blogs, and videos galore that cover every facet of pregnancy and birth.   I started reading books on pregnancy almost an entire year before I even started trying to get pregnant. I'm obsessed with soaking up the information on baby products, breastfeeding, midwifery, organic pregnancy, parenting, etc. OBSESSED.

My new favorite read is one given to me by a friend and fellow feminist called The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth. About a month ago I bought the movie The Business of Being Born.  Hubby and I watched it together it really made him understand why I want to have a midwife assisted home birth. The Thinking Woman's Guide is a great book to piggy back the movie in that it details the different medical interventions that can happen at a hospital during birth, the pros and cons, what your alternatives are, and what questions to ask before getting any of these procedures done.  So far it's been an invaluable resource and has solidified my desire to birth at home.

Women these days are so fortunate--we have all of this crucial information at our fingertips.  However, with cesarean sections and birth inductions at astounding rates in the U.S., not to mention our high maternal mortality rates (1 in 2,100 is among the highest of any industrialized nation),  I wonder how this powerful information can be better distributed and more easily accessible to all women. Knowledge is power and if more women had access to midwifery care and the breakdown of statistics of the unnecessary interventions that take place in hospitals, women will be better for it. 

To me--being pro-choice means more than the right to safe and legal abortion.  It means being informed of all of the choices we have related to our reproductive lives: choices in contraception, choices in birth plans, choices in fertility treatments, etc. 

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