“I said: ‘Attached?! What do you you mean?’"
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Birth is the most common reason that Canadian women are hospitalized each year.
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We can laugh and joke about pre-wedding jitters, but what about pre-baby jitters? While some anxiety over the anticipated life changes are normal, some individuals have bigger concerns and fears around the process of birth and becoming a parent.
One of the most common words that comes up when expectant parents are planning for their birth is "advocate." There is an idea in our culture that birth is frightening, overwhelming, and even that medical providers do not always have the best interests of parents and babies at heart.
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The impact of a fistula can be nothing short of devastating. Women are unable to control their flow of urine or feces, sometimes, both. A woman is aware of the resulting odour, and she feels ashamed -- often to the point of denying herself food and water to stem the flow. Malnutrition and dehydration can result.
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If you tell someone you are planning an unmedicated birth, you are met with a grin and nod in that "uh-huh, you are going to be begging for an epidural" kind of way. If you say you are planning an epidural, they wax poetic about the joys of unmedicated birth. Everyone has an opinion on your birth, and it is almost always going to be the opposite of yours.
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When we are talking about the details of your birthing vision, there are important choices to be made. You may decide that some choices should be adhered to, like delayed cord clamping, because of the benefits for your baby. Other choices will be greatly influenced by factors beyond your control, and your birthing process may require a shift in thinking about how to ascend That Mountain.
Although many parents today fear taking home the wrong baby, it is thankfully an unfounded fear. In reality, it is exceedingly rare for infants to be switched in the hospital and it becomes even more rare as time goes on. Extensive measures have been put in place in modern hospitals in order to prevent such mix-ups.
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My thumb covered his entire hand. There he was, my brand new nephew -- yet it was heartbreaking to see him for the first time. Tubes and wires surrounded Aidan's tiny body as he lay in his incubator. Weighing only 1.96 pounds, he was fighting for his life.
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Every day approximately 830 mothers around the world die due to pregnancy and childbirth complications. Most of these are preventable deaths. That's why improving childbirth outcomes was a critical issue at the recent G7 Health Ministers meeting attended by Canada.
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Confident, successful and amazing 20- to 40-something women can all that agree when it comes to having babies, we're all wondering the same things. Having babies earlier, or waiting a bit later -- what's best?
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Wouldn't that be nice? I don't remember being given the option. I do remember getting a weird look, being brushed off, handed a script and sent home. I can only imagine (fantasize) what rehab for postpartum depression looks like. A limo arrives at my doorstep and out steps Ryan Gosling. "Hey girl," he says. "We're going to PPD rehab."
Postpartum pre-eclampsia isn't spoken about as much as regular pre-eclampsia. We're led to believe that we have our babies, then we're supposed to be in this land of happiness where everything is sunshine and roses. I'm told that eclamptic seizures often cause coma and death.
I think we do all women a disservice when we don't challenge the "Disneyfication" of our reproductive experience. Pregnancy is glorified as transcendent despite its many dark elements. Birth is similarly idealized. But miscarriages resist beatification; at best, they are an extremely efficient expulsion of expired reproductive material by one's own body.