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1. In our state, having a home birth is difficult to come by. LPMs/CPMs are not legally allowed to practice here. (Here’s where you can check the laws in your state.)
2. Following my body in pregnancy and birth is paramount to have the most natural/normal birth I can.
3. Feeling as though we’re pushed into a decision, fear-mongered into interventions or unnecessary testing/procedures is not fun. In our state, the trend towards this treatment is high. We believe that you should always have a choice when it comes to your health and health care decisions, pregnancy is no different. I also don’t have much patience in “defending” or “explaining” our choices and decisions with doubtful health care providers.
4. A safe and supportive environment, without explanation or “fighting” aids in our bonding experience during labor/birth and directly following. In most hospitals, and definitely those closest to us, this is almost a guarantee. This includes being able to birth for as long as I can on my own without a ‘clock’ or ‘timetable’ to adhere to, using whatever methods seem appropriate for me at any given moment, and not having to be still if that isn’t suiting me.
Here are some additional things we believe when it comes to pregnancy and birth:
Women/families need education – It is important to receive accurate and non fear-based education and information regarding pregnancy, labor, and birth. This holds true for breastfeeding as well.
Women/families need to know that having a choice and making whatever choice they make is ok. Those choices should all be fully informed.
Today’s medical model does not offer or even support this idea in many ways/areas. Respect for one’s health care choices, as being personal/familial is important. This is also something our modern society and medical model does not readily support, especially when it comes to pregnancy and birth.
It is true that natural/normal pregnancy, labor, and birth are often less traumatic for both the woman and the baby.
Natural/Normal pregnancy, labor, and birth can be a huge confidence booster for the woman and family as they transition with a new baby.
Natural/Normal pregnancy, labor, and birth usually require less time in recovery and is easier in many ways.
Repeatedly telling strangers we don’t find out the gender of our children prior to birth and chalking it up to surprise, is one thing.
To need to defend or explain that the evidence of harm in having ultrasounds is clear enough to us not to risk it, to a health care provider is another thing altogether.
Does this mean we aren’t curious, no? Does it mean we can’t be “at risk” for some abnormality or that the placement of our placenta could become a concern, no?
It simply means that, for us, our research and understanding of an ultrasound procedure is an unnecessary risk. At the same time, if something were to happen or a definite concern arises, we would consider having an ultrasound to ensure Baby is OK. Until then, we’ll continue to opt out.
As for “dating” and checking for growth, or even, amniotic fluid levels, we still believe the risk outweighs the benefit. Besides, I keep decent track of my cycles and know my body’s signals, so if we’re off when it comes to an actual conception date, no big deal. Palpation of my abdomen can be used to determine the amniotic fluid levels. Same with growth and positioning, palpitations and fundal height measurements are good enough determinations for us. Knowing an more “exact guess” from a machine isn’t important or necessary. (This is a great site that helps to understand palpation.)
We do opt to listen to the Baby’s heartbeat via doppler during each visit. And though I don’t keep a kick chart (.pdf if you want it), I have a pretty general and basic understanding and awareness of Baby’s movements. If I’m busy or haven’t much noticed Turtle Baby move as frequently as before, I’ll sit and rest, maybe have some juice, and wait for a bit to check on Turtle Baby. Generally speaking, if Baby moves at least 10 times in 30 minutes, there’s no cause for concern.
And all that other testing (glucose, etc.), also largely unnecessary.
Plus, their efficacy rates are low.
At the start of each visit, our midwife checks my weight, blood pressure, and urine. The dip stick urinalysis gives a good indication of whether we need to pay attention to anything, shows a pattern, or the need for further testing. This testing looks for evidence of leukocytes, protein, glucose, and nitrates present in my urine.
If my blood pressure starts getting too high or is abnormal, we can check again, monitor, look at diet, or go for further testing.
Same with my weight gain. I’m aware there’s a “recommended” amount of weight gain. In fact, this is actually more of a range. Different women gain weight differently. So, as long as there aren’t sudden increases or my health otherwise isn’t negatively affected, there’s likely no cause for concern.
Further, baby’s weight gain is in proportion to my weight gain. In other words, if the average weight of the placenta, extra blood volume, amniotic fluid, expected fluid retention, etc. is 20 or so lbs, the rest is mostly baby.
I gained about 60lbs during pregnancy with Monkey Boy; he was born at nearly 9lbs (8lb 14ozs). Yes, he was delivered vaginally. No, I didn’t have any serious tears. And, no, I wasn’t in extreme pain during delivery. (This is his birth story.) It was also determined that my placenta was quite large and healthy and that I had quite a bit of amniotic fluid.
Our midwife also does 2-3 blood tests to check my platelet counts and iron levels, as well as my Rh factor. Except for the Rh factor (which, thankfully isn’t an issue for us, since I’m positive), my iron and platelet counts can largely be addressed through diet and supplementation. Of course, if I dipped too low and diet and supplementation weren’t working, then we’d look at alternatives.
And that’s about it for us! We are very low intervention when it comes to pregnancy, as you can see. Opting to trust in the process with a full understanding of what that process is, takes faith. We watch for problems or symptoms regarding my health and subsequently that of baby’s.
What are the birth laws in your state? Have you ever considered having a home birth? If you couldn’t have a home birth in your state, would you go out of state to achieve one? Would you ever consider a low intervention pregnancy and birth?