UP? how U? - Mothering Forums
Unassisted Childbirth > UP? how U?
NatureMama3's Avatar NatureMama3 11:59 PM 01-16-2005
what are your thoughts on the pregnancy aspect? regular care provider? on-call? none? etc??

Would love to hear everyone's thoughts.

Skim's Avatar Skim 12:22 AM 01-17-2005
Well, for us, I am trying to find a midwife who will do a little prenatal work with me - especially listening to my babe's heartbeat a few times and feeling the position of the baby before it descends. Last time no matter how hard I tried I just couldn't feel exactly what my midwife felt, and I feel more comfortable with another opinion. And I'm not going to buy and learn how to use a fetascope in the next 5-6 months, so to the midwives I go.... But finding one who's willing to do this in my home is proving to be quite difficult.

If I can't find anyone to do it in my home for $$, I will reluctantly go to the dr. for that info. Hopefully he knows how to determine fetal position.

And on a side note, how cool is it that MDC has this awesome resource, a forum of our own???!!! Truly, I am amazed.
DancerMom's Avatar DancerMom 12:32 AM 01-17-2005
I chose to have no one. My reasoning was this: The reason for doing prenatals is so that your care provider knows your body, and your range of normal, and so that you feel comfortable with her at the birth. One reason to see someone might be to get tests done, but many of us refuse the tests anyway. And you can check blood pressure and urine at home, if you really want to (I didn't). So if no one is attending your birth, why bother having someone monitor your pregnancy when you can do it yourself?

I realize that some people may want tests, but that's another story. And another reason for not seeing someone is to avoid the negativity and judgment that comes with telling medical professionals about UC, or the stress of keeping it a secret.

I feel like I didn't articulate this very well, but I have to finish up. One last thing. For me, birthing unassisted was a matter of changing my paradigm of what's normal and believing wholeheartedly in my ability to know my body better than anyone else. It's a wholly different perspective from a regular homebirth, which I had with my first daughter, and also an entirely different way of looking at healthcare in general.

ETA: What difference will it make if there's a problem with the heartbeat? Will you then seek medical help? If so, that's fine. But if not, why do it? For me, I would let my body take care of things even if something were wrong with the baby (unless my body was telling me I needed outside help) so listening to the heartbeat, for instance, wouldn't help me any. Just a thought for you since you're having trouble finding someone.

This is what I mean about changing paradigms. I think many people approach UC as if they must replace the midwife. I didn't want a midwife because I didn't think it was necessary or even wanted, so why would I want to do all the things she did? Does that make sense?

PS I realize that other people may have their own reasons for having prenatals. I'm just trying to put it out there that not doing them is an equally valid option. I think people new to UC don't always realize that. Not directed at anyone in particular!
NatureMama3's Avatar NatureMama3 01:38 AM 01-17-2005
thank you both for your thoughts!

I'm trying to figure out where I stand on it all. I have some tests I feel need to be done, but the only reason I'd contact my midwives for that is because I don't have the "authority" to order them (which could get me off on another whole tangent). I am hypothyroid so need to keep track of how it's functioning in pregnancy and would also feel more secure knowing the placenta was not in the way, etc.

I guess what I'm wondering is if anyone does stuff like that. basically contract with a midwife or doc to order a couple tests? Not go for prenatals, etc, just for the occasional test that is beyond the scope of what one can do at home.

Unfortunately after years of primary and secondary infertility and serious problems with my first pregnancy, I know that I can't always trust my body to do what is best for me or my babies.

As for the heartbeat issue, IF I felt for whatever reason that I needed monitoring, I'd probably rent either a fetoscope or doppler. I don't think I will however, as I hardly EVER used the one I rented with Noah. I didn't even let the midwives check his hearttones in labor since I could feel him and doing so would require my getting out of the pool.
DancerMom's Avatar DancerMom 02:07 AM 01-17-2005
Originally Posted by NatureMamaOR
Unfortunately after years of primary and secondary infertility and serious problems with my first pregnancy, I know that I can't always trust my body to do what is best for me or my babies.
While I can't possibly know what you have been through, and I want to extend my sympathies for whatever your losses were, I want to clarify that I wasn't suggesting that all of our bodies will always do the "right thing." Life is not perfect and sometimes things go wrong with pregnancies and births. I only meant that I trust my body to tell me if something is wrong, but that my view on what constitutes "wrong" is different from many medical professionals, which is why I chose UP.
NatureMama3's Avatar NatureMama3 02:13 AM 01-17-2005
yes, yes, completely agree there! which is why I mainly just want someone on call should I need, KWIM? I may well end up not feeling the u/s is in order, just wondering ahead of time (compulsive planner/controlfreak :LOL).

I definitely firmly believe in listening to my body (which is how I discovered my loss issues. the docs had no idea).
june'smom's Avatar june'smom 02:36 AM 01-17-2005
I have medwives through medicaid and I don't like going one bit. In 21 wks we have only gone a few times and I felt like they were all a waste of time. I kind of want to not go, but I feel that later on, closer to birth, I will want to know that the position is good, ect... but as far as the heart beat and other tests, I could live without them.

Unfortunately, I feel like we are going to cover up the uc we are planning. I just don't want to deal with the horror stories that my family will tell. But if I had had a complicated first preg, I would maybe want to be more in touch with a midwife.

I am also going partly to make sure that I have backup care that I am comfortable with. I would hate to get stuck with the obs at my hospital. At least one of the midwives will be there with me if I have to go in. They are a lot better than the drs here.

I would think that you could for sure just go in for a few tests and skip the rest if that is what you are comfortable with.

lorijds's Avatar lorijds 01:59 PM 01-17-2005
We've had women come to our birth center for a little care when they had decided upon a UC. One came because she was getting pretty overdue (42+) and was getting nervous about the baby's position. Another wanted Rhogam, but had had 8 previous children, and none of the practitioners in her town would see her because they knew she was doing UCs. Another just wanted our doc to come to the house to do the newborn assessment after the birth. I know there have been others.

Although our midwives were a bit nervous with it, our doc was not; she just had them sign a statement that they would not hold us responsible for anything that did not happen in our facility.

It's interesting to see what different women need during a pregnancy, especially when planning a UC. With the exception of the Rhogam mama, there wasn't any need at all for us to be involved. It was just reassurance; but it was just what they needed.

Maybe you can find a mw or a birth center that would do the care that you feel you need, and leave the rest to you.

Good luck!

NatureMama3's Avatar NatureMama3 02:16 PM 01-17-2005

I've talked with 1 of my midwives already and she indicates that they've done prenatal for UCs before and she's ok with it (but isn't sure if her partner.. ironically the one I LOVE.. would be or not). I suppose I could contract her solely, but they're a team so I'd rather they were both ok with it.

I also have the OB who helps with progesterone and tests early on (beta, etc) but not sure if he'd be ok with later. He knows I plan on going with the midwives once it's "sticky". I've never mentioned UC to him.
FreeRangeMama's Avatar FreeRangeMama 03:04 PM 01-17-2005
I don't do any standard "prenatal care" at home or otherwise, just care for myself and my baby by taking good care of myself. I see a doctor in pregnacy like I do at any other time. If I need a medical opinion or treatment I see a medical professional. I didn't have a need for anything like that with my last UC as I had no health related problems that I would see a dr for, but this time I felt I needed some testing done for a problem I was having that I needed a doc. referral for. It was a challenge to explain to the booking dept. and the nurse that I was NOT there for a prenatal even though I was pg but my doc was mostly okay with it (not that it mattered really, she knows that I am in charge of my healthcare NOT her :LOL). The nurse kept insisting I strip for my first prenatal internal exam (I was 17 weeks) and I refused and told her that was NOT why I was there :LOL. I am NOT taking off my clothes thank you!! I had my dr. order the test I wanted and left and haven't been back since. I don't see why your approach to healthcare NEEDS to change because you are pregnant. If you want certain tests or whatever performed then ask specifically for them and nothing else. It is up to you what you will allow or refuse, not them
liamandpipersmama's Avatar liamandpipersmama 03:44 PM 01-17-2005
This is my first uc and i have just been taking care of myself. I rented a doppler so, more than anything, my family will calm down. I feel the baby daily and know it's doing well and getting strong. I think if your comfortable with out prenatal care other than your own than it's fine. I didn't see paying a midwife logical. I do measure myself and take my weight and bp and write it in a log book so cps can't say anything about neglect later. (god forbid something bad happen).-Laura
MylilTs's Avatar MylilTs 04:21 PM 01-17-2005
Personally, I opted for PNC with my CNM. One, because I was undecided about UC in early pregnancy. Two, I have a hx of mc and wanted my levels checked. Three, because I want to be an established patient if for some reason I end up going to the hospital.

I also feel more comfortable having some of the prenatal tests done just for my reassurance. I have never had a problem during pregnancy, but it's nice to know there's one less thing to worry about, KWIM? In my case, however, I am an L&D nurse and work with my CNM so I absolutely adore her. That might make a big difference. If you don't have a good relationship with your provider, than I can see why you might want to just avoid seeing them for PNC all together. I don't necessarily think PNC is required if you are taking good care of yourself.

Unfortunately, having such a great relationship with my CNM has made it a harder decision for me to go UC.
cottonwood's Avatar cottonwood 06:53 PM 01-17-2005
I approach my health care during pregnancy much the same way I do when not pregnant -- I take care of myself and pay attention to my body's signals, but I don't seek out professional medical monitoring when I'm obviously healthy. I don't believe that pregnancy is bad for the body, I believe it is good for the body, and that it is only under certain conditions in which the body is already weakened that it cannot expend the extra resources needed in order to stay healthy. I know that sometimes problems occur that have nothing to do with how healthy we are, and that we're not always aware that something is wrong. But that goes for non-pregnancy life as well -- I don't see it as essentially a different situation, in terms of when monitoring is appropriate and when it is not.

So I knew that the role that any other health care providers had to play in my UC pregnancies would be very minimal, as long as I remained healthy; and I did, so for the most part they were UP. The one thing that I don't intellectually believe was necessary in my case, but that I felt emotionally attached to for some reason, was knowing the position of the baby and placenta. Both times I was pretty sure, but wanted to know what a midwife friend thought.
DancerMom's Avatar DancerMom 12:19 AM 01-18-2005
Blueviolet, thank you for articulating that so clearly. I seem to have trouble saying what I think on line...not such a problem in real life!
laurata's Avatar laurata 06:44 AM 01-23-2005
I have mixed feelings on this. My first UC, I had two prenatals, both before I decided to go UC. I "did" my own prenatal care. I had one gyn appointment while pregnant this second UC, because I was worried that I would have problems with a persistent large ovarian cyst. Turned out my cyst was gone after all! I went UP after that.

It was hard on me in many ways. I had lots and lots of fears to work through, and there were many times that I wished I had someone to talk them through with. It was a lot more work for me to find the answers to my concerns on my own. Sometimes I had to work through them in DISPAIR! I do think it was a growing experience for me. But I totally understand women who opt to go another path. Going unassisted is not for the faint of heart. (not that pregnancy or birthing ever is, but ykwim, right?)
lizzie's Avatar lizzie 01:43 AM 01-24-2005
Just wanted to thank everyone for talking about their experiences! I guess the whole idea behind UC/P isn't so much going 'hardcore' unassisted as doing only what you feel is required for your own comfort and peace of mind?

Quickening's Avatar Quickening 06:31 PM 01-24-2005
Just wanted to add this great link:


According to a meta-analysis of 50 studies involving 669,876 women, prenatal care has not been demonstrated to improve birth outcomes conclusively.

Fiscella K, Does prenatal care improve birth outcomes? A critical review, Obstet Gynecol 1995 Mar; 85(3): 468-79. PMID: 7862395
Then why do doctors insist you are putting your health and your baby's life at risk if you don't get prenatal care? First, because if you decide not to get prenatal care, the doctor loses a lot of income. Second, if you realize that prenatal care is not necessary, it's not much of a stretch to decide that the presence of the doctor is not necessary at the birth either.

True prenatal care consists of eating a healthy and robust diet, getting a moderate amount of exercise daily, thinking positive thoughts and reducing stress to you and your baby. However, if it will make you feel better to do your own prenatal care, do so, by all means.

lizzie's Avatar lizzie 03:22 AM 01-25-2005
Brilliant link, Quickening!!!

That's the kind of thing that will convince my dh that we can do this!!

Saramomofmany's Avatar Saramomofmany 05:06 AM 02-04-2005
For my last pregnancy, I had a totally unassisted from any kind of formal medical care. I kept trusting in my body to let me know if I needed to get in. I kept track of my weight, when I felt the baby move, my fundal height, my bp(took it at the store occasionally). I did most of those things just in case I needed to prove anything for getting a birth certificate, and also just for my own records. I never went into a doctor/midwife and after the birth, I have not been in either. It's so great to not have a stranger between my legs.
MamaGaia's Avatar MamaGaia 11:16 AM 02-04-2005
Thanks for the link,Quickening!

This pregnancy I have done complete self-care and feel like this pregnancy has gone very smootly so far, without any worries. My last pregnancy I had pre-natal care with an EXCELLENT Ob-GYN (who quit practicing because our hospital enforced the "No Vbac" policy) and I went very sporadically to appointments,which she was very cool with and just said,"Hey, you know your body"

The pregnancy with the twins...I might as well not have gone to any pre-natal visits. I was 33 weeks before they believed me that I was carrying twins.They kept yelling at me for gaining too much weight and I kept insisting I was having twins and ate accordingly... and they kept insisting I was NOT. U/s revealed that I was right,of course...

My first pregnancy I was a teenager who was very scared and alone and didn't get any prenatal care until at some point in the 7th month when I decided to give the baby up for adoption and the adoptive parents of course insisted.Up until that point,I used common sense ...ate right,took care of myself,etc. Baby was born completely healthy and happy (And no,I didn't go through with the adoption ).

Funny enough,the few times I have turned on the TV lately,we're bombarded with these public health ads demanding women see their doctor IMMEDIATELY (because there is SO much a doctor can do for you in that first trimester! ) as soon as they find out they're pregnant and go to their appointments as scheduled. I just found them humorous. I know..strange sense of humor.