I feel like it’s raining babies in my personal life, and that’s not just because I’m a doula and I’m surrounded by pregnant women all the time. So many of my friends are expecting and it’s fun to go through this season of life with people I care about. One thing that always strikes me with every expectant mom is how she chooses to receive care during her pregnancy and birth. Because I’m deciding these things for myself now, I thought it might be interesting to hear about my prenatal care and birth plans, and why I’ve chosen this route.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and this post is not to be confused with medical advice. Please always consider the advice of your own health care provider when making decisions.
I realize that every person, situation, and pregnancy is different in a variety of ways. There are a lot of reasons women choose the care they do, but I believe a lot of times women don’t feel like they have a choice. So many women (people in general, really) never ask questions about the care they receive from medical professionals. They just take it as “doctor knows best” and while I’m thankful for physicians and the much needed care they provide us when it’s called for, I don’t believe that anyone can make decisions for me.
Ever heard of the phrase “there’s more than one way to skin a cat”? Wipe the grimace off your face, I know it’s a terrible analogy, but the gist is true for pretty much all things, especially pregnancy and birth. There is more than 1 (or 100) ways to birth and not a single one is right for all women. It’s up to each of us who are on this journey to find the path that’s truly best for us, individually. Consider this my “power to the people” soap box.
I was raised in a household that did this when it came to our general health. Growing up, I was hardly ever ill, and when I was, my mom used at-home remedies much of the time. When it was clear that an illness needed medical care, we went to the doctor, but that wasn’t the first thing we jumped to. We only went when we felt it was in our best interest. I find myself doing this now. I’m not against medical help, but I don’t believe I need to run to the doctor’s office every time I have a sniffle or sneeze… so I don’t.
What Prenatal Care is Best for Me?
So, when I got pregnant, I came to face to face with many decisions, but one of the first was how do I want to go about my prenatal care? Because I’ve been interested in this for years and years, I already kind of had a game plan, but I still thought it all over and decided I wanted to use Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) that were not under the umbrella of a hospital for my prenatal care.
Isn’t that dangerous? Wouldn’t you feel more comfortable with a doctor? Is that legal?
First of all, no, no, and most of the time, yes. Pregnancy in general is not dangerous, although everyone is different and it definitely can be in a variety of situations. However, for the majority of women, pregnancy is not an illness… it’s just part of life. I feel really comfortable with CNMs because they’re registered nurses with master’s degrees on top of that – they’re more than qualified to advise pregnant women for prenatal care, and to assist in most births. As far as legality, check the laws in your state because they vary. In my state of New Mexico and my home state of Texas, midwives are completely legal.
Planning for the Pregnancy I Want
Generally speaking, CNMs take more of a holistic, “natural” stance on pregnancy and birth (and I’m not entirely talking about drug-free births). For me, it seemed odd to choose an OB/GYN for care – a trained surgeon – when I’m a healthy woman who doesn’t plan on an over-medicalized or surgical birth. My CNMs take low risk pregnancies, and will transfer my care to a well regarded high-risk doctor if needed during pregnancy or birth. So, why not set out for the pregnancy and birth experience I wish for and understand that my care will be transferred to a hospital/doctor if the medical need arises?
The Choice is Yours
I write this post not to say women shouldn’t seek pregnancy care from a doctor. I write this post to say that you have a choice. You can choose – even with unexpected medical issues that may arise – you always have a choice in how you want to handle things. It’s your body. It’s your pregnancy. You have autonomy here. I know sometimes it may feel like you don’t have a choice, but truly… you do. That’s what I hope you take from this. Doctor/Midwife, medicated/unmedicated… You choose.