Staying Low Risk During Preganancy
As I mentioned in this post, Daniel and I have sought out a sort of hybrid style of pre-natal care. I see my OB for half of my appointments and my doula (who is also a midwife) for the other half. I thought I might share a bit of the contrast between the two styles and how I’ve been able to stay low-risk throughout my pregnancy.
(Let me preface by saying I absolutely love my OB and I’m thrilled I get to have him as my doctor. He has been practicing for a long time and is a fan of natural birth.)
When I go to the OB’s office, they do all the typical stuff. They weigh me (that part is depressing), take my blood pressure, ask a series of questions while staring at the computer, do a quick check for the heartbeat, test my pee, and move on to the next patient. There is no conversation about diet, exercise, how I’m feeling, if I feel prepared, if I’m educated, etc. They are in no way rude or mean…but I always leave feeling like a bit of a ‘number’ instead of a first time momma who has never heard of or done ANY of this before.
When I visit my doula, she also checks the same things, however she actually looks me in the eyes and she LISTENS! When I tell her I was a little dizzy that morning and haven’t slept too well, she checks my eyes and sees I’m low on iron. Bam…natural iron supplement added to my daily routine…dizziness, gone! She takes time at each appointment and asks me about my diet, how much protein I’m eating, how much fast food has happened, what is my stress level like, how much have I been working, what my exercise has been like, have I been drinking plenty of water. These aren’t judgemental questions, none of her questions are. They are all geared at keeping me LOW RISK and knowing the areas that I need to pay extra attention to. In order to have an unmedicated birth you have to be low risk. This means a normal blood pressure, no gestational diabetes, minimal swelling, watching for things like dizziness and headaches, low stress, etc.
My Bradley birth class also really emphasized diet and gave specific exercises to implement into my routine…again, all geared toward the goal of staying low risk.
The main contrast between the 2 types of care I’ve seen is that one is reactive (my OB’s office) and one is preventative (my doula and classes). I’m truly glad to have both ends of the spectrum covered but I am PARTICULARLY grateful for the preventative care I’ve received. I’ve had no hospitalizations, no early labor, no high blood pressure, etc. Honestly, this pregnancy has been great and I feel healthy and I really attribute it to the great advice I’ve received and literature shared with me through my doula and Bradley classes.
This article by Midwifery Today neatly summarizes the specific ways to stay low risk while pregnant. Whether you are seeking a natural birth or not, it is great information to know. I will admit I have not followed everything perfectly (Dr. Pepper you are my weakness!), but with the help of Daniel and my puppy who loves to be walked, we have stayed fairly close and the results are wonderful!
I’m sincerely looking forward to a medication-free birth and even if the plan changes, I’m SO grateful for having had a low-risk pregnancy.