over the past few months i have learned a lot about pregnancy. i didn't expect to be so surprised by what i learned!
it turns out that there are two major schools of thought. one is that birth is natural and that women's bodies know what they are doing (much like mothers in the rest of the animal kingdom), and that people should get out of the way and let nature do its thing. the other places more trust in science, advances in pain management, and medicine's ability to intervene to help things along. call me naive, but before becoming pregnant i had no idea things were so divided.
in trying to determine the right course for me, here are some resources i've found really useful:
pregtastic podcast: a weekly radio show where an ever-changing cast of pregnant women talk cheerfully about the ups and downs of their pregnancies, and expert guests address a wide gamut of topics. because it is descriptive rather than prescriptive, this show gives a pretty balanced and accepting point of view on the different choices expecting parents make. my favorite episodes are the birth stories, where former podcasters come back and talk about their labors and birth experiences.
our bodies, ourselves: pregnancy and birth: a friend sent me this book when she learned i was expecting, and reading it gave me the courage to switch from an OB to a midwife. it aims to inform and empower women to make choices that are right for them, rather than relying on their doctor's lead or a hospital's standard procedures.
mayo clinic guide to a healthy pregnancy: this book has a really great breakdown of what's happening from week to week in terms of baby development and mom's body. i look forward to reading what's going on developmentally every single week. there is also a lot of information on dealing with symptoms, knowing when to call the doctor, and preparing for a hospital birth.
hypnobirthing: the mongan method: the main idea here is that fear and tension cause pain, so knowledge and relaxation techniques can be used to make labor less painful. the techniques include guided meditation and breathing, and bring you into a state not unlike shivasana in yoga. you can take birth preparation classes that focus on this technique.
consumer reports best baby products: a great guide to what you need and what you don't, what you can acquire used versus what you should buy new, with detailed ratings of different products on the market. baby bargains is another helpful reference on this topic.
of course, we can't know what our baby's birth will be like, but these resources have been a huge help in preparing to the extent that we can.
we are so excited for our baby to come!