Photo by Tahnee of Lemonade Lane.
After you get over the excitement of being pregnant (and then get over the nausea) and actually start thinking about having a baby, it seems that having that baby involves a to do list a mile long!
And everyone wants to add things to your baby to do list.
Your caregivers, your partner, your parents, the well meaning grocery check out woman.
Don’t worry, I am not going to add to your baby to do list.
I am going to share six things you DON’T have to do when you are pregnant!
1. Absorb the opinions of anyone other than those supporting you.
When people see your bump, it is as if they see an invitation to share their experiences with you.
You DO NOT need to take their experiences on board…especially if you perceive their experiences to be negative.
You want to create and maintain a positive mindset about becoming a mother.
And that can be hard if it feels like you are being bombarded with negative pregnancy, birth, and parenting experiences.
So what can you do?
Create a neutralising mantra and when people are sharing traumatic birth stories or parenting woes, repeat it to yourself.
Whenever I heard something about pregnancy, birth, or parenting that wasn’t aligned with my positive mindset, I used to say to myself, “I am sorry that was your experience but it is not going to be mine.”
2. Tell people your due date.
When people know your due date, it puts incredible pressure on that date…and on you produce a baby by that date.
If you can, simply say, “We will have our baby by Christmas,” or “We are hoping to welcome our little one in early September.”
Assure family and friends that of course you will let them know when the baby has arrived…you just don’t want to share what is really just a guess date anyway (a normal range of gestation can be anywhere from 37 to 42 weeks and less than 5 percent of babies arrive on their due date).
3. Consent to a glucose screening test.
It is likely that a glucose screening test is part of your caregiver’s standard prenatal program.
And if you want to undergo the procedure, that is absolutely fine.
When considering antenatal testing, I think it is important to examine a) am I doing this just because my caregiver told me to and b) what will my caregiver and I do with the results of these tests?
The glucose screening test in particular has a 24 percent false positive rate. That means TWENTY FOUR PERCENT of women who take the test will be told they have gestational diabetes when in fact, they do not.
Would you be confident of a positive result (especially in the absence of other risk factors)?
And what is consequence of that positive result? How will that affect your pregnancy, will it place you in a more medical model of care, will it open you up to further interventions, will it limit your birthing options?
It is also important to know that there are other (more accurate) options!
The take aways here – do your own research and remember that the choice to partake in the test or opt out is YOURS.
4. Go to hospital antenatal classes.
Hospital antenatals classes exist primarily to a) make money for the hospital and b) begin to indoctrinate you to the way things are done at that hospital.
The aim is for you to become a good patient, to understand “how we do things around here.”
Despite the classes being held by a medical professional in a medical space, very little anatomy and physiology is covered.
Natural hormones are generally omitted, but policies and procedures are mentioned, and medical interventions are covered.
There will be talk about pain and pain relief options will be discussed…pharmacological options will be present, relaxation strategies, acupressure for labour, and breathing techniques will be absent.
Tools for your birth partner are also not generally mentioned in hospital antenatal classes.
Hospitals are not interested in you seeking personal empowerment through your birth. As an aside, being a parent takes courage and that courage is found during birth…so this empowerment is actually a hugely important part of the process of becoming a mother.
There have been numerous calls to take antenatal education out of hospitals and a recent study has highlighted that independent childbirth education classes that include complementary therapies significantly reduced epidural use and rates of caesarean section.
5. Consent to Group Strep B swabs.
Like with the glucose screening test, it is important to consider why are you consenting to this test and what are the consequences of a positive result.
For example, if you do test positive for Group Strep B, are you going to consent to antibiotics during labour? What are the pros and cons of antibiotics for you and for your baby?
Here are quite a few links so you can start researching and forming your own opinion of the risks.
Group Strep B During Pregnancy
Group Strep B Resources
What You Need To Know About Group Strep B
6. Remain with a caregiver or a model of care that you are not one hundred percent comfortable with.
If you are hoping for a physiological birth, one of the most important factors in your success is a caregiver who fully supports you.
Ask you care giver what is their induction rate, epidural rate, c-section rate?
If you have any doubt, start working on your birth preferences and ask your caregiver about them at your next appointment…what is their view on going over your due date, CTG, vaginal exams, directed pushing, delayed cord clamping, a physiological third stage?
Birth works best when everyone is labouring harmoniously towards the same goal…a beautifully birthing mother and baby.
If you are not feeling the love, jump ship now!
Switching care providers may feel like a hassle, but having to battle for every aspect of your birth plan will feel like way more of a hassle.
A positive birth is one where you have choices, are respected, are cared for as an individual.
You want your memories of your pregnancy and birth to be warm and proud.
I actually am going to give you one thing to do…one thing that will help you cross all six of these items off your pregnancy to do list.
And that is to look into Hypnobirthing Australia classes!
This course will help clarify what you need to do (and what you don’t need to do) to have a positive birth experience!
To book into an upcoming Hypnobirthing Australia class, please visit my website or contact me.