Did you just go through pregnancy listening to everything that everyone else told you, from friends and family members to OB/GYN’s and nurses in your provider’s office? Or did you sit down and read various books, medical studies, websites, and learn what you really want before heading to the hospital to meet your little one?
Not just one side of the studies but did you truly look at all the various sources on everything from epidurals to consistent fetal monitoring? Do you know the c-section rate of your hospital? Or what about the epidural percentage? How many first time mothers are induced, the policies about elective deliver before 39 weeks or even eating during labor?
When I was a first time mother, I didn’t bother looking any of these things up. I went by what I was told at all my appointments. I was the picture of a perfect patient, and just ‘yes’ed my provider to death. And that landed me with a crappy delivery, a crappy recovery, and years of emotional impacts from simply not taking charge of my own care as a patient. Of course, when I look back at it, there are a ton of warning signs that should have sent me running from the practice, but knowing I had very few options because of my insurance coverage, it discouraged me to make any moves. Instead I just brought my mother along to my appointments with me as backup while my husband worked long hours and tried to make as many ultrasound appointments as he could.
My thoughts on the subject as a whole got brought back up with the premiere of One Born Every Minute and some of the comments I read about the lone couple in the episode who wanted a natural birth, mostly comments I read on my own Due in May 2011 message board. I must say that looking back, I am sure I was the exact same way, but some first time parents are not only ignorant but cocky. They think it won’t happen to them. I thought it wouldn’t happen to me either. First mistake!
I think as time goes on, we all bite our tongues as parents, but one of my main goals is to help first time parents before they end up with the shitty delivery I did with my oldest.
Some of the things you should be thinking about even before getting pregnant or picking a prenatal care provider should really be your own thoughts on childbirth and what kind of birth you want. Clearly, if an epidural is your first priority you shouldn’t be looking into a midwife delivery at a birth center. But something you should look into is the risks verses benefits of epidurals in general. Childbirth as a whole is not fully risk free, so assess the risk of certain procedures.
You should look into the statistics of your local hospital, check out The Birth Survey, and see what other mothers who have been there and done that have to say about the hospital and the providers that you may choose for your delivery.
Being prepared before the fact is what is most important, not just showing up and going through the motions. Your delivery can and may impact you every day for the rest of your life. Making sure you can avoid things that may not sit well with you is important.
Take the time to become educated. This is after all your health and the health of your baby!