Nov 12, 2010

Mistakes in Pregnancy

I had a nice sobering wake-up call this week that has really rocked my world and shaken me to the core. I am not ready to post the entire story yet, because it is still playing out, but I would like to talk about things I have learned in my pregnancies

You are the boss! Did you know that your caregiver is your employee? They work for you, and if you feel mistreated, unappreciated, or not taken seriously, YOU have the right to fire them and find someone new!
Why this is important to know: Sometimes we forget that we have the power to be treated the way we want to be treated, and will take the abuse of someone in power because we tell ourselves they know best.

Anecdotal evidence: I fired a midwife in Sophie's pregnancy because she was down right fear-mongering. She told me because I was not at my ideal body weight at the start of pregnancy I WOULD (not could) have gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and likely end up with a cesarean section. The other midwife in the practice told me several times she thought I was going to miscarry because I had some minor bleeding in pregnancy and she thought my hCG (the hormone in pregnancy that increases as the baby grows and is what pregnancy tests test for) was too low (it wasn't). After my 12 week visit, I followed my gut and I fired the practice and found a new group. With just a few weeks left, when my new midwife wanted to transfer my care to her partner (and OB I did not like), I left their practice too and found a home birth midwife. It is never too late!

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You don't have to take any test you don't agree with! Did you know that you have the power to waive any procedure or test? You may have to sign a waiver, but if you don't agree with the test, decline!
Why this is important to know: There are some tests that can cause unnecessary worry or inaccurate results in pregnancy. I personally will not get a pap smear in pregnancy, even if I am due for one, because I have never had an abnormal pap and there is a higher chance of bleeding, infection, and inaccurate results in pregnancy. I will wait until I am six weeks and have no problem declining the test. I also do not do the 15 week tests that check for birth defects (triple screen, AFP, nuchal fold, etc) because I decided it would not change the outcome of the pregnancy as I would not abort over elevated/irregular results.

Anecdotal evidence: I have known more than one woman who had irregular results and the stress that it created for the woman over a test that ended up being normal in the end was harder on the woman than need be. We have all stressed over test results unnecessarily, but so the research and ask yourself "Do I believe this test has a high accuracy rate?", "Do I agree with how this test is taken?" (ie Gestational Diabetes, not every lab has the same rules for fasting vs. non fasting, cutoffs, etc), "Would these results change my pregnancy?" (genetic tests are taken early so you can chose to abort or not, if they showed an anomaly, would you abort?) "If this test is positive, would I agree to more invasive tests for higher accuracy?"

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You don't just have to suck it up and take it when it comes to the symptoms of pregnancy! Almost every symptom of pregnancy can be eased or relieved with supplementation, medical, or alternative therapy.
Why this is important to know: Sometimes we just deal with it because we think we have to. There are remedies for leg cramps, swelling, morning sickness, aches, headaches, etc.

Anecdotal evidence: For morning sickness things to try include eating small, frequent, high protein snacks, wearing sea bands, avoiding fried fatty foods, and wearing Sea-Bands can help ease nausea and vomiting. Heartburn can be helped with papaya enzymes, and liquid calcium/magnesium. Swelling can be eased by swimming in a pool and making sure you are getting a good balance of electrolytes. Back pain can be aided with the help of a chiropractor. Calcium/magnesium before bed can prevent charlie horses. If you talk to your caregiver, friends, family, search the internet, talk to a naturopath, you may find all sort of ways to make your pregnancy more comfortable. Some symptoms can only be eased, but some can be avoided all together!

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You are not alone! Pregnancy is tough, seek out support and friends. There are so many Due Date Clubs, forums, local playgroups, groups, etc.
Why this is important to know: Pregnancy and postpartum can feel socially isolating. When you are too tired with a newborn to shower, or too weak to take your other kids to the park because of an all day marathon of hugging the toilet, there is a lot of guilt that comes with it. Knowing you are not alone can make a world of difference!

Anecdotal evidence: When I had my first son I felt so isolated and alone. I had problems with breastfeeding and I never knew the problems I was experiencing were NOT normal because I didn't have anyone to compare notes with. By the time I had my 6 week checkup I found we had a case of thrush that lasted FIVE MONTHS and eventually caused us to switch from breastfeeding to bottle feeding.

Stay tuned for my next post where I will discuss Mistakes in Labor.

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