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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Terms and Conditions of Pregnancy- Things to know

Photo Cred: Martin Vowel

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 23 seconds. 

My sister is the "researcher" of the family. She's the one who reads all 95 product reviews on Amazon to figure out, not just whether or not to buy a cloth diaper, but which cloth diaper is the best (do I want the bamboo fabric or the natural cotton option???).
But although there's no shortage of lengthy reading materials when it comes to pregnancy and birth, I'm composing a list of what I now consider to be must-know facts about the process- for transparency sake!
(I should note that everyone and every pregnancy is different. These are things I learned via my sister's research or her personal experience, but not everyone's will be the same.)

1) Tearing is a real thing

Babies literally tear you open. Either the doctor cuts you with a scalpel in a procedure called "episiotomy" in which the process is controlled, or the baby does it with its head. Pick your poison. Just be aware that it could tear "up" next to your clit. Yeah, you read that right.
Episiotomy used to be a routine part of childbirth, but now apparently less so according to the Mayo Clinic

2) There is a pregnancy induced condition that makes you throw up for NINE months.

It is called hyperemesis gravidarum aka the fifth circle of hell

3) Pitocin is the drug of choice for Doctor's in hospitals who want to keep you "on schedule".

Pitocin can be used for good. But with great power comes great responsibility. Sometimes it is necessary to administer in order to save a baby or birthing parent from experiencing complications in birth.
Other times it just speeds up the baby's heart rate to the point where the medical team will then suggest an emergency c-section, a physically debilitating and stressful procedure. If you think c-sections are posh, take a look at this video:

(Tw- blood, graphic video of surgical procedure)

They pry the parent open. PRY. With forceps.

4) Placentas, you grow 'em, you birth 'em.

You must give "birth" to your placenta. It's literally an organ you grow while you're gestating which keeps your fetus alive. It's about the size of a human liver or like, three personal sized servings of flan.
Oh, and, like flan, you can eat it:

On a more serious note, birthing or removing the *whole* placenta within a very short period of time is crucial because any remaining tissue from it can cause septicemia.

5) You will likely get a post-partum "mega period"

This is not something you can control with any regular tampons or dainty panty liners. It is not uncommon for birth parents to simply opt for an adult diaper to deal with this because it's that serious.

6) Pregnancy is 40 weeks.

This is not really "news", but in 2013, the American College oObstetricians and Gynecologists decided to officially change the definition of what a "full term" pregnancy is:

That definition aside, I had never thought about just how LONG 40 weeks truly is. There is some debate about how to "count" the amount of months pregnancy lasts. As many people have noted, a month is sometimes said to have four weeks, which isn't really accurate. Most months actually have more than four weeks (4.35 weeks). So, if you're one of those people who is simply turning the pages on your calendar to mark your time, then the 9 month distinction is probably a fine mental goal for you. However, if you (like me) are likely to be counting down the exact days until you can be done with things 1-5 above, then you may want to stick to counting weeks rather than months as it's a little more precise.

7) Breastfeeding is hard and can last longer than pregnancy itself.

Some people are unable to breastfeed or simply don't want to. For those who do wander down the nursing path, it can be a huge learning curve involving lactation consultants, pain, and sleeplessness. But somehow, pregnancy/labor gets ALL the press for being the hard part.

These are just some of the things I now consider every time I get "baby fever". Certainly something to think about rather than getting easily swept up in the flurry of cute baby names and onesies.

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