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Things have changed since I was last pregnant. There are new practices, screening tests, appointments, things to talk about and all sorts. Having a seven-year gap between pregnancies has been a real eye opener for just how much the medical world has changed. A few other wonderful things that have happened in the last few years is I have changed. I have grown as a person because I’m a mother. I have started to see things differently. I have had more confidence in my opinions, my actions and more reason to justify why I do the things I do. One thing I didn’t even know I had was certain rights about what happens when I’m pregnant.
You see I’m another high risk pregnant woman with a BMI of 45 at booking and having had a previous c-section. My blood pressure is fine, my iron levels are amazing, my platelets and white blood cells are where they need to be and I have no other serious illnesses. I’m simply fat and have an old surgical wound. This has lead to me making a few decisions I didn’t really need to or know about with my first pregnancy. The first being that I really want to try for a VBAC – that is, vaginal birth after caesarean. My midwife is supportive of this which is brilliant. I haven’t met with a consultant yet, I will, but now I know that actually I don’t have to take their advice has given me a new found confidence. Now, before anyone jumps the gun, no I’m not purposely ignoring any advice at the risk of myself or my baby but I am going to alter that advice to suit my needs, my labour and my birth.
You see, when you’re pregnant, part of your body doesn’t really feel like yours. You sort of scare medical professionals a bit and so some doctors can use a lot of terminology to make you feel like you don’t have a choice. Well, you absolutely have a choice. You always have a choice. Always. I’m not going to tell anyone how they should or should not give birth. What I’m saying is every decision you make should be an informed one and sometimes, just hearing what a doctor has to say does not make you informed. You see, midwives and doctors have to say a lot of things to make you aware of potential risks. That’s a good thing, you need to know about these risks but ultimately, you can decide what you feel is best for your body, your pregnancy, your baby and the welfare of your family. I’ve been doing a little extra reading this time around and I really do feel fully informed about all the choices I plan to make, any screenings I plan to reject and I know, with the help of my very lovely Doula, I am going to have a concise birth plan that will suit my needs and cater to every possible birthing outcome or obstacle.
Here is my list of extra reading that I absolutely recommend you take a look at when pregnant:
- AIMS: For a better birth website – full of amazing, useful information. This organisation covers everything you could possibly want to know about birth. Questions are answered and they campaign tirelessly for better maternity services in the UK. This is the best place to start if you have to make some decisions, if you have questions or doubts. The birth information covers frequently asked questions, home birth and maternity rights and benefits.
- Am I Allowed? By AIMS – A brilliant, informative read helping you to make all the decisions you feel you need to make for your pregnancy, labour and birth from screening tests, scans, blood tests and birth choices.
- Birth After Caesarean – By Jenny Lesley – Something very relevant to me. Again, this is free if you have Kindle unlimited and is also available to buy as a hard copy.
- Mindful Hypnobirthing by Sophie Fletcher – You might or might not have an interest in hypnobirthing but studies have shown some really positive things about how hypnobirthing and mindfullness techniques really help during pregnancy, labour and birth. This book is full of useful exercises that you can start from early pregnancy and continue all the way through with the hope of giving you a relaxed, calm and peaceful birth experience.
- Positive Birth Book by Milli Hill – another great read full of information and again focusing on birth as a positive experience.
- Men, Love & Birth by Mark Harris – one for dads but I’ve had a little sneak read myself too. This is written by a dad and male midwife and is really insightful into the dad’s role. Mark is also trained in NLP which does come into play in this book. I got this for Adam to have a read through and it seems to be all about how to support a partner through pregnancy, labour, birth and those early days.
I hope you find this reading educational, informative and overall helps you to make any decisions to enable you to have a happy, positive birth.