ditching the OB

This was a post that I wrote a little over a year ago for a blog that I ambitiously and naively began at 6 months pregnant. It was quickly abandoned two months later, so I thought I would drag over a few posts….

Yesterday was my first “official” appt with my midwife. I met her a month ago for a consult, particularly to find out if she would attend a home birth (more on that later). She would, and so I have switched my primary prenatal care to her. It is still required that I see my ob for the final ultrasound and in the event anything disturbingly abnormal should come up, but otherwise my days of visiting the cold, clinical, parental, and overly-hysterical ob office are over. And the difference after just this one appointment has been dramatic.

I am not a fan of medical offices and hospitals in the first place–a visit usually prompts an anxiety attack. A long waiting room visit typically involves trying not to puke while cold-sweating and shaking and trying to calm myself down from the growing resentment at having to be at a medical office in the first place. Doctors and medical facilities give me no sense of safety and security, and often I feel more at risk of being harmed from whatever ailment I have being over-treated and “medicalized” than being harmed from the ailment itself. Of course this is not the case 5% of the time, but a normal pregnancy definitely does not fall into this 5% category. And therefore, I have ended up feeling more resentment and rage at being subject to unnecessary tests and an unnecessary number of check-ups than I have feeling any sort of peace of mind.

The half hour before the midwife appt went as usual, with some building anxiety not helped by the half hour drive along winding roads. But once inside, it all disappeared. I felt comfortable. I felt cared for and respected. I felt trusted. I was treated like an adult with feelings and a right to my own autonomy. And there was no hysteria, no scare tactics, no “you must do this test and have this procedure and if you do not then you are a bad person who doesnt care if your baby dies,” etc. The midwife still conducted the very basic tests (urine, measuring the belly, listening to the heartbeat), but nothing with fancy machines and nothing that would be considered overkill. (And no stepping on the scale and analyzing my weight gain to see if I am within the strict “normal” limits—which I also dreaded should I be over and possibly receive a lecture.) I left calm and in a good mood.

The point actually isnt to convince everyone that a midwife is better–all women need to choose their prenatal care according to what makes them feel most secure and cared for, which for some can very well be in a medical office setting. But so few women, particularly in the US, have no experience and no friends with experience with midwife care and many have been actually scared away from it by the medical community. In as much, my point is only to share a positive experience that hopefully will encourage women who are unsatisfied or uncomfortable with their current care to seek out an alternative.


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