Things to Do After A Positive Pregnancy Test: Part Two
In Things to Do After A Positive Pregnancy Test: Part One, I discussed what I think are the first, most important steps to take after you find out you’re pregnant- find a care provider who practices evidence-based medicine in an environment in which you are comfortable, giving you the best opportunity for the birth experience you want.
As I broke it down, I realized that for many moms, especially first-time moms, defining “the birth experience you want” is actually a pretty complicated feat! How do you know what you want in a birth experience? Well, you could start by examining your own experiences and beliefs about birth. What has your exposure to birth been? Have you actually been at a birth? Or have you only watched A Baby Story and Deliver Me and countless other Hollywood movies/TV shows? Do you have friends who have had babies? What were their births like? Has a well-meaning older lady told you horror stories about her birth? Do you believe birth is a natural process by which your body was made to reproduce, or you do believe that you’ll need to be “delivered” from this baby who has been mooching off of your body for 9 months?
What do you believe about birth?
I would like to encourage you to take some time to really think about this, because it can help you figure out your next step. Education. It’s time for women to really learn about what birth is, how our bodies were made, what to actually expect during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum. Facts- indisputable, biological facts, and not just what you learned in sex-ed! We all know how the baby gets in there- now how to we get him out?
One of my favorite pregnancy books is Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide. It is one of those books that has a lot of information about a lot of
For detailed information on common birth interventions, purchase (or borrow from me!) The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth. This should be a must-read for all pregnant moms… And not at the end of pregnancy, but toward the beginning! Why? Because education in the beginning of pregnancy about birth interventions is critical when deciphering whether or not you’ve chosen the right care provider and birth location for the birth you want. It’s not impossible to change these things toward the end of pregnancy, but it’s not easy either! And many parents become emotionally attached to their care provider and feel guilty about switching care (despite realizing that he/she isn’t the best care provider for them anymore!) or don’t want to deal with insurance changes in the last few weeks of pregnancy. I have personally seen this several times, and it could be helped by education about birth choices and options earlier in pregnancy.
There are many online resources too, of course it seems everyone these days has a blog or Facebook page- myself included! There’s message boards or private Facebook groups, each one with the intention of educating or entertaining. If you choose to follow a blog, site, or page, please be careful that you’re surrounding yourself with someone who is educated and positive! I feel like there are enough negative, scary images of birth in our culture… Moms don’t need to be inundated with these negative messages while they’re growing a child and preparing for a positive birth experience!
In the Houston area, there are ample opportunities to get together with like-minded pregnant moms, whether for social reasons or for educational opportunities. Doulas, birth centers, and organizations such as Improving Birth or ICAN are always hosting movie screenings, birth education classes, or new mom meetups.
To summarize, the second thing to do after finding out your pregnant is to explore your feelings about birth and educate yourself about what birth really is about. We are blessed to have books, websites, and educated people at the click of a keyboard, but be sure to check your references and make sure that what you’re reading is positive and accurate. Start learning about your birth options to help you define the kind of birth you’d like!
In Part Three, I’ll take about what I think the third step should be… childbirth education courses!