Midwives And Girls

10.11. 12 Why they matter to you


It’s a big week for mothers, children and midwives. That’s because two events are coinciding this week that celebrate girls and women: International Day Of The Girl is a global event created by the United Nations is celebrating the potential and promise present in every adolescent girl. This year’s theme is Preventing Child Marriage and a wealth of humanitarian organizations including one of my personal favorites, CARE, is spotlighting this issue through activities, events and information you can access on their website. Don’t think that applies to you? Think again. Every woman alive is part of a global community. Every mother is part of a secret society collaborating to raise the next generation of humans in this ever increasingly connected world. And every girl deserves the chance to be educated, healthy, skilled and supported before she embarks on motherhood. If you’re currently pregnant or recently had a baby, you’re part of that community and secret society. You’re raising the next generation and now that you’re one of us, you totally get how important it is to be a mother. Log on to CARE’s webpage and learn more about how to claim your membership in the biggest women’s group on earth – the global group of all mothers. National Midwifery Week is happening right from October 7th to the 13th. Sponsored by the American College of Nurse Midwives, it’s a weeklong event that celebrates the contributions and care midwives provide here in the United States. They’re asking people to log on, learn about what midwives do and get involved in their Daily Action Plan and Our Moment of Truth campaigns. Why is this important to you? Because midwifery is the healthcare of the future. We’re in a national tidal wave of action trying to improve maternal health here in the US, which has been ranked as having the worst maternal health outcomes in the developed world. Despite spending more money on healthcare than any other country and despite spending more specifically on pregnancy, our maternal mortality rate has doubled in recent years. On the other end of the spectrum, the countries where mothers are the healthiest, happiest, best supported and most likely to survive childbirth all have midwives on the frontlines delivering most babies. In these countries, obstetricians take care of the high-risk mothers, but since most mothers are absolutely normal, they see no need to treat most women like there’s something wrong and bombard them with interventions. Midwives are the experts in normal physiologic birth, whether that’s an all-natural delivery or one that includes pain management. They know how to let the body do her thing without a lot of bells and whistles, interventions and technologies. They’re all about safety and they’re not messing around if someone develops complications, but most women don’t fall into that category. If you want to be part of the change that’s happening in the world of mothers and bump up your chances for having a normal birth, hire a midwife to care for you and your baby. Now that we’ve taken care of this week’s celebrations, let’s talk about something that’s currently very near and dear to my heart. I have a friend who’s breathing down the neck on her due date. She’s 38 weeks and at that achy, cranky, overwhelmed and exhausted stage of pregnancy – the one that makes labor seem like a good idea. I remember this time as when I needed an intervention and ancillary support services just to roll over in bed. I also remember thinking – only two weeks to go. My doctors and midwives started setting the stage for my “any day now” delivery by announcing how dilated my cervix was, how effaced and “ready to go” it was. At 39 weeks we were all surprised that I hadn’t popped yet. By 40 weeks (which is the date that actually aligns with your due date), I was thinking something was wrong because my baby hadn’t been born yet. I got a little crazy with that first baby and convinced myself that since I hadn’t delivered yet, I never would. I’d be the first woman to be pregnant forever. I know, weird, right? Whatever…pregnancy’s weird. By 41 weeks I was desperate to have this thing over with and the pressure was on because my doctors and midwives were looking at me funny. But then, stuff started happening – gross, messy, crampy stuff that announced we were getting this show on the road. And sooner or later my babies were born, right when they were supposed to be – neither too early nor too late. Right on time. I don’t know what the rest of us were thinking, but these babies knew when their birthday was supposed to be. 38 weeks isn’t your due date. It’s 40 weeks and even then, that’s just a guesstimate. Some babies just need more time. Here’s my advice for getting through those last challenging weeks before and after your due date. Remember that your baby knows when he should be born better than you do. Lots of valuable development and growth happens in the uterus for your baby during the last weeks and even days before your due date. Consider that time the finishing touches that make your creation a masterpiece. Unless there’s a really compelling medical reason, don’t shortchange your pregnancy with induction. Reward yourself for every day that goes by with a special treat. Go to a movie, get a massage, soak in a warm tub, take an extra nap, download every episode of a TV show you want to watch, read a novel, buy new socks…. And when you’re looking at your due date in the rear view mirror and still haven’t delivered, don’t worry too much about it. There’s not a chance in hell you’ll be the only woman to be pregnant forever. Not gonna happen. You will have that baby,

Jeanne Faulkner, R.N., lives in Portland, Ore., with her husband and five children. Got a question for Jeanne? Email it to labornurse@fitpregnancy.com and it may be answered in a future blog post.

This Fit Pregnancy blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice from your physician. Before initiating any exercise program, diet or treatment provided by Fit Pregnancy, you should seek medical advice from your primary caregiver.

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