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12 Mainstream Pregnancy Lies You Likely Believe

admin July 7, 2015

I’ve gotten some questions and heard some stories from women lately about their mainstream pregnancy experiences that I’ve found, honestly, extremely disturbing.

In one story, a mama showed up at the hospital dilated to 10 cm with baby crowning…and the staff put her under and performed a c-section because “we don’t do VBACs.”  That is unbelievable.

Another mama was told her baby was “too small” during a 32-week ultrasound (who even does 32-week ultrasounds routinely?) and that she needed ultrasounds every five days for the remainder of her pregnancy.  Oh, and she should eat lots of junk food to help herself and the baby gain weight.

These stories aren’t anomalies.  They aren’t rare.  I hear stories like these — and more — all the time.  And frankly, it’s driving me crazy.

Mamas.  You have choices in pregnancy and birth.  You have the right to accurate information, bodily autonomy (meaning you own your body and have the right to make decisions for it), and informed consent.  You have the right to refuse things if you do not want them.

Some common themes keep coming up in pregnancy and birth that I need to address — some of the most common lies, which you’ve likely heard and even believe.  It is so important to get this information out there.

Pregnancy Lies You Likely Believe

1. Internal Exams are Beneficial and Necessary

It’s fairly common for doctors to perform internal exams at different points in pregnancy — often at an initial appointment, and then again in the final weeks of pregnancy to check for dilation.  But there is no evidence that these exams are in any way beneficial.  Nobody needs to know if everything “feels okay” on the inside (so long as the pregnancy is progressing normally) and any exam runs the risk of introducing bacteria and causing an infection.

Dilation also does not matter and does not give any indication of when the baby will actually come.  Many women feel hopeful to learn they are, for example, 70% effaced and 3 cm dilated. Or they are disappointed to learn they are not effaced and only 1 cm dilated in the final weeks of pregnancy.  Ladies, this has absolutely nothing to do with anything.  It is possible to be 90% effaced and 5 cm dilated for weeks before labor begins.  It is possible to be not dilated or effaced at all and have a baby mere hours later.  There is simply nothing to be gained from this information.

In general, unless there is an actual problem, internal exams are not necessary and are even potentially harmful.

2. Ultrasound Measurements Are Accurate

In the very early weeks of pregnancy — generally, the first trimester — ultrasound measurements are, for many women, fairly accurate at dating a pregnancy.  The further a pregnancy progresses, however, the less accurate these measurements are.  By term, ultrasound measurements can be off by 2 lbs. in either direction on weight (which is a lot when the average newborn is 7.5 lbs!).  Measuring fluid pockets near term is also likely to be off because the baby’s so big that fluid can “hide” behind baby or in places where it can’t be seen on ultrasound.

Some doctors give measurements of baby’s size in the final weeks of pregnancy based on ultrasounds and announce this like it’s definitive.  Some even recommend induction or c-sections based on these measurements.  But, believe me, the world is filled with stories of women who “needed” a c-section because of a “big baby” (8 – 9 lbs., which is really not even that big) and then their babies turned out to weigh only 6 – 7 lbs. at birth.

That’s why this is so important.  Doctors should not be pushing for early induction or scheduled c-sections based on ultrasound measurements alone because they are highly inaccurate and can lead to worse outcomes and certainly more risk to mom and baby.  (It may happen that an ultrasound measurement is used *along with* other signs, symptoms or tests to make the decision to intervene, and this may be okay, but ultrasound alone should not be.)

3. GD Testing is Accurate and Necessary

Everyone is worried about gestational diabetes in pregnancy because uncontrolled blood sugar can lead to macrosomia (heavier than normal baby) and baby having blood sugar issues after birth.  But, the GD test really isn’t a good way to test…and the standard “treatment” for GD isn’t really healthy, either.

For women who usually eat well and do not have much sugar, the GD test is likely to come back high.  Their bodies do not know how to cope with the sudden, unusual sugar rush.  However, those women are unlikely to have problems on their normal diets, simply because they are low in sugar.  (Plus, magnesium deficiency, which is really common in all adults and even more so in pregnant women, can cause trouble controlling blood sugar.  That happened to me in my second and third pregnancies, but after I began supplementing my fourth and fifth pregnancies I had no more issues.)

If a problem with blood sugar is suspected, it would be more accurate to take blood sugar readings several times a day, after meals, to see how the numbers are in a real-life setting.  Then, if treatment is needed, it can occur.  This is much more accurate than the one-hour GD test.

4. You Can’t Breastfeed While Pregnant

While there are *rare* circumstances where women shouldn’t breastfeed while pregnant, in most cases it is perfectly fine.   Breastfeeding does cause an oxytocin release, but it’s not nearly enough to cause contractions and lose the baby.  It’s no more (and possibly less) than is released during sex.  So if you haven’t been told to avoid sex/orgasm, then you don’t need to stop breastfeeding, either.

Personally, I have breastfed through four pregnancies, and have carried basically to 40 weeks three of those times, with no spotting, no miscarriages, no “scares” of any kind.  Many other women have done the same.

5. Repeat C-Sections are Safer Than VBACs

Actually, for the majority of women, no.

Newer research shows that there are no increased risks for most women with a VBAC vs. repeat c-section.  The risks go up some (for uterine rupture, blood transfusions, NICU admissions, etc.) after two c-sections, but maternal mortality is basically the same between VBAC and repeat c-section.

Women who want a VBAC should talk to their care provider about their specific circumstances, but unless there is some special factor that necessitated the first c-section that is likely or certainly happening again, VBAC is just as safe, if not safer, than repeat c-sections.

6. “Baby is Too Big” is a Reason to Induce Early

No.

Just no.  First of all, as mentioned above, there is no way to accurately measure baby’s size, especially in the final weeks of pregnancy.  Measurements can be off by multiple pounds, meaning a “9 lb” baby may only be 6 or 7 lbs.  Plus, a woman’s body is meant to stretch and open for a baby.  And, baby’s bone structure and size of the head has much more to do with how well it fits (along with the size/shape of a woman’s pelvis) than baby’s weight.

Baby’s expected size alone is never a reason to induce early.

12 mainstream pregnancy lies

7. Elective Induction is Safe

Not exactly.  One study found that elective induction was associated with greater risk of a cesarean, more labor interventions, and a longer hospital stay.  An article in a medical journal by a Ph.D. RN explains the benefits of waiting for spontaneous labor.

While elective induction is safer after 39 weeks, it is not the safest plan.  Induction for medical reasons is, of course, different.

8. Eating Junk Food is Safe or Beneficial for Weight Gain

Just no.

Mothers do typically need to gain weight while pregnant unless they were significantly overweight before becoming pregnant. If significantly overweight, they may be considered higher risk and their weight will be managed by a doctor based on their personal needs.  But this weight should be primarily muscle tissue, blood, amniotic fluid, and the baby.  It will be some healthy fat, especially in the hips and thighs.

It shouldn’t be based on eating a diet of junk food, though.  Women’s bodies need nutrients to build all that additional muscle, blood, and baby.  Junk food does not provide those nutrients.  Junk food only adds unhealthy fat.  This unhealthy fat doesn’t help baby and it will be hard for the woman to lose after birth.

Instead, if a woman is struggling to gain weight, she should look for nutrient-dense foods such as grass-fed butter, avocado oil, whole avocados, nuts, grass-fed beef, etc.  These foods are not only rich in fat and calories, but also rich in vitamins and minerals needed to build a healthy baby (and keep mama healthy too).  All weight gain is not equal.

9. Herbs are Dangerous in Pregnancy and Should be Avoided

While there are certainly some herbs that we know are not safe during pregnancy, there is no reason to avoid all herbs.

Unfortunately, many doctors are not familiar with herbs, and many are herbs are not rigorously tested in pregnancy despite being used by pregnant women for hundreds of years with no known adverse effects.  Therefore, many doctors will recommend staying away from herbs — even while recommending much newer, unproven drugs and procedures!

Exercise caution with herbs.  Check for known contraindications from well-studied herbalists before taking anything.  Stick to basic herbs that are mild and safe during pregnancy.  Herbs like lavender, nettles, and red raspberry leaf are commonly used in pregnancy and are even beneficial during pregnancy.  Ginger, mullein, and others are safe and good to use for cold symptoms.  I keep several on hand that I know are safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding and avoid ones that I know are not safe or that I am unsure of.

10. Vaccines in Pregnancy are Safe and Well-Tested/Necessary

In just the last 10 years, flu shots and then Tdap shots have been recommended for pregnant women.  The flu shot recommendation was fairly new when I was pregnant with my oldest (2007), and Tdap didn’t come into play until I was pregnant with my third or fourth.  I know the push was big with my fourth.

The act of vaccinating pregnant women used to be one that was treated with caution — it was basically never done.  But now it’s done routinely.  There are no quality safety studies on this practice.  And, there’s no guarantee — especially for the flu shot which can have extremely low efficacy even by mainstream standards — that it will protect mom/baby against anything.

There are safer ways to stay healthy in pregnancy, in my opinion.  I chose to take cod liver oil, get light exercise, and enough sleep.

11. “Your Fluid is Low” is Accurate

Remember what I said above about ultrasound measurements?  They’re notoriously inaccurate.  That goes for fluid measurements, too.  Besides, a study shows that fluid measurement is not an accurate predictor of risk or outcome.  And, another study shows that drinking more fluids at home improves the fluid levels — and women can do that easily enough.  This article explains it better than I can — and this is important, because doctors sometimes try to induce because of “low fluid,” but this doesn’t actually improve outcomes for most women.

12. Going “Overdue” is Dangerous

Many women are told that once they hit 40 weeks, they have to deliver, often by induction, because otherwise, it is “dangerous.”  However, a 2009 study shows that there is not adequate evidence to say what the best course of action is with pregnancy at 41 weeks and beyond — “management” (AKA ‘wait and see’) vs. induction.

There is some increased risk of stillbirth beyond 41 weeks, but there are risks associated with induction and/or c-section that may not outweigh those risks until 42 weeks or even beyond that.  There is no evidence that automatic induction at 40 weeks is the best plan.

Believe it or not, these are only some of the myths out there!  Next week we’ll be covering 12 more. (Here’s part 2!)

Psst!  My brand-new book, Natural Remedies for Kids,” is coming out in August!  When you pre-order it, you get up to 25% off — plus, some amazing bonus offers (details coming soon).  It’s the best book for learning to use simple, natural remedies with your family (the one I wish I’d had when I was just getting started).  Get the details on the book here, and order your book here.

What are the most common mainstream pregnancy lies you have heard?

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38 Comments

  1. i couldn’t agree more! It’s sad how so many women are fed these lies, and even sadder that many believe them 🙁

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  2. […] I just need to share. Pregnancy and childbirth are things that I’m very passionate about. In this post from fellow parenting blogger Kate Tietje at Modern Alternative Mama, you can find out more about 12 […]

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  3. “…baby’s bone structure and size of head has much more to do with how well it fits (along with the size/shape of a woman’s pelvis) than baby’s weight.” Oh man, THIS. I am sick of hearing how women “had” to get c-sections because the almighty doctor deemed their baby too big for a vaginal birth. I am a petite girl. My first was 9 lb 10 oz, my second was 9 lb 8 oz, and guess what– they both slid on out just fine– some tearing, but no real damage to me or to them.

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  4. Another that you hear a lot is that multiples can only be delivered by C section and you can’t nurse them because you won’t make enough. I had a friend who had twins vaginally and nursed and pumped for both for almost six months exclusively. She also carried the twins to 38 weeks and both were above 7 pounds. It can definitely be done!

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    • yes, you can definitely have enough milk. my twins didn’t have a strong latch at first because they were a little early but I kept intoducing nursing and after about a month they only wanted that. 15 months later I had another baby and I nurse all 3 of them now. the twins don’t nurse as often but I’ve always had plenty of milk. so I nursed all though my pregnancy and my baby was happy when he was born because he nursed for the first two hours with no problem.

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  5. My first baby was born via cesarean (at 10 cm dilated, pushing, and head showing…no joke) because the OB said my baby was too big and my pelvis was too small. There were no indications of distress or failure to progress. I had only been in active labor for a few hours.

    Well, I just gave birth to my second baby…a 9 1/2 pound baby boy via VBAC at home, born posts dates as well. And no, not a chunky baby. I’m talking 9 1/2 lbs of solid baby (big head, large framed baby boy). Guess my body was perfectly capable of giving birth after all.

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  6. I needed this a week ago when my friend was being bullied into an induction(which led to a c section), because she went over 40 weeks. 🙁

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  7. As an obstetric nurse, I would highly recommend listening to your medical team who have been educated on why you need these test, and why they do what they do during pregnancy. There are more reasons to have these test done than what is listed above. Ask questions, ask lots of questions so you can make the best decision for you and your infant. Don’t put you or your babies life in danger because this article told you you didn’t need something done. One day, the writer of this article is going to have a huge lawsuit on her hands for misguiding people and putting them in harms way. Be smart, be informed, and remember every decision you make, effects your babies life. And when your doing research, use up to date, evidence based practice for sources.

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    • I think your comment perfectly explains why this article needed to be written. You suggest listening to your medical team and getting the tests they recommend, and do not seem to value sources outside of the medical profession. Yet, obstetrics is the *least* evidence-based field out there, and women are routinely given tests and interventions they don’t need. Women NEED to have access to alternative sources of information so that they know what questions to ask — or to ask questions at all! Because it hasn’t been my experience, nor the experience of many others, that women are routinely offered choices or balanced information about any of these decisions. In fact, many times doctors have “policy” that women must submit to the standard of care, regardless of their personal circumstances. That’s not only unfortunate, it ought to be criminal in certain cases.

      Finally, that you suggest that “…the writer of this article is going to have a huge lawsuit on her hands…” is laughable at best. I’ve researched the laws on practicing medicine without a license and writing a blog post with general tips or ideas does not qualify. Trolls always say this to me like people are absolute idiots who read one article online and just stop thinking entirely. Do you think so little of people, really? But bottom line, no, you can’t sue me if you don’t like my information or opinions. You CAN, however, click the little ‘x’ in the upper right-hand corner and just stop reading. I think we’d all be happier if you did!

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      • Amen!! I carried my first baby 10 1/2 months, she wasn,t done yet. She weighed almost 9 lbs and was very healthy. I carried my twins 10 yrs later 42 wks, they both were 7lb 13 and 7lb 15, had three midwives deliver in my parents king size bed. They were very healthy, nursed at the same time for 9 months. I had no complications whatsoever and lost 45 lbs the day I delivered them. I stopped going to OBGYN with first pregnancy at five months after talking to the doctor about having a natural birth then overhearing him tell his nurse to put me down for c-section. We need to remember we are not sick when we are pregnant, and women have been having babies most of the time without problems.

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    • For an obstetric nurse, your grammar is ATROCIOUS. You don’t have a proper grasp of the English language. My suggestion is for you to get out of the nursing field (because you obviously don’t have a good bedside manner and will only induce stress in new moms, causing problems) and return to school and take an English 101 course.

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  8. “doctors sometimes try to induce because of “low fluid,” but this doesn’t actually improve outcomes for most women.”

    Aww man, so much heartache with my little one because of this. Failed induction at 38 weeks and finally born at 41 and 2 via induction and finally c-section and only 6 lbs 11 oz…(but a beautiful and healthy 6 lbs 11 oz, thank God). At least my doc didn’t approve of vaccines during pregnancy.

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  9. Hi Kate!
    I just read your 12 pregnancy myths and am sitting here nodding at the screen saying yes, and yes and yes! I have a birth story from one of my childbirth class participants that is an example of all of those points you mentioned. I teach the Bradley Method (natural childbirth class) and recently launched a website to try to help more women get the information they need to make informed choices about their pregnancies and births. By trade, I am a medical person too…a physical therapist….and I work full time doing that but birth, and empowering women/families to make educated decisions is my passion and launching the website is part of my plan to decrease my work hours so I can be home with my son more (we are hoping to homeschool when he’s older). I am currently running a contest to try and drive traffic to my site and raise awareness- if you think your audience might be interested the prize is a Nesting Days infant carrier (promotes skin to skin contact) and all that’s needed is an email and name. The contest is at win.anaturalbirth.org. I hope that we can collaborate on projects in the future, seems as though our audiences are probably somewhat similar in their interests.
    Thanks again for the post.
    Best
    Rebecca

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  10. “Your baby must go to the warmer after birth in order to maintain a healthy temperature.” Knowing this is a myth can be beneficial to ALL mamas! Even those that prefer induction or epidural. They can still have that wonderful skin to skin after birth. I have home births and cringe when I hear of a healthy mama deprived of holding her healthy baby right after birth when I know very well it isn’t necessary!

    Also, cutting the umbilical cord. Did you know the that the test paramedics take have a question that states that a baby can’t breath until the cord is cut?! Wow. Then all three of my home birth babies must’ve not been breathing for the first hour and a half outside of me!

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  11. I <3 you 🙂 another one I think of is that breech babies always must be delivered by c-section, when really, in cases where everything else about the pregnancy looks good, vaginal birth is optimal for breech babies (and their mama's to).

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  12. “it looks like your baby is likely to have Down’s syndrome” myself and nearly every mom I know has been told that early on in a pregnancy, and later learned there there were no heath issues at all.

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  13. I am curious Katie if you have any experience with IUGR babies. I have only had 1 pregnancy, was repeatedly told by “measurement” my child was 7-8 lbs, and had emergency C section. I had uncontrolable vomiting (only been sick 4 times in 30 yrs so knew this was bad sign for me) at 40wks 1 day, was told having Braxton Hicks and I had to bully and force my OB to go to hospital. Short story, baby was in distress, cord was detaching. I was only in hospital 30 mins before emergency C section and baby came out 3 lbs. the reaction in surgery from OB was “Ohhhhh” then post op very rude to me and my husband when we asked questions about why. Almost 2 years & 55 tests later between me & baby still no idea what caused it beyond a 2 vessel umbilical cord & placenta 1/3 weight should have been or if it would happen again in future pregnancy. l changed OB because of bedside manner, but I am wondering if my nutrients were out of balance for copper, magnesium, etc.

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  14. It would be a lot easier to believe what you said if you were not trying to sell a bunch of stuff. You are just as bad as Big pHarma pushing unneeded medicines as you push your books and herbal products. I can’t trust if you’re lying or not to get me to spend money at your store. I refuse to trust anyone who tries to push products on me. Please rethink your store as I know that I am not the only one who believes this. That’s why I can’t trust Mercola or Dr. Bob even though I know they are right because they say Big pHarma makes customers for life but then they insist on you buying daily supplements. It’s the same scam.

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    • Oh, my, thanks for the laugh!

      Where to start with this nonsense. Ha. Okay, let’s start with the claim that I’m “trying to sell a bunch of stuff.” Most of my readers are unaware that I have anything for sale at all because I do not mention it very often. I even had some say “Wait, did I miss it? I didn’t know you sold anything!”

      Then, you say I sell “herbal products.” That is false. I do have ebooks for sale, but do not and have never sold herbal products. That makes me think you haven’t really looked at my store or much of anything else I’ve ever written or promoted. Perhaps you’re confusing me with someone else.

      “I can’t trust if you’re lying or not to get me to spend money at your store.” I’m sorry, but are you that stupid? Really not trying to insult you, but do you regularly read blogs and feel some kind of magical pull to have to buy something you didn’t want or need because the words duped you somehow? It is very, very simple to just not buy something you don’t want.

      “I refuse to trust anyone who tries to push products on me.” Well, first, I don’t mention products in the majority of my posts, and I wouldn’t consider a single mention at the bottom ‘pushing.’ And, if you don’t trust me or anyone else…it’s really simple…you don’t have to read! There’s a little ‘x’ in the corner for just such occasions.

      “Please rethink your store as I know that I am not the only one who believes this.” I will not ‘rethink’ my store. You’re asking me to work for free. I work almost full time to put together a blog full of largely free information for others. I will not do so for free just so some shill will ‘trust’ me. And yes, I’m well aware that you came from the “SOB” blog and her ridiculous little ‘rebuttal’ to this post, where she accuses me of this exact thing.

      I guarantee that NO alternative blogger makes anywhere close to the amount of money that the pharmaceutical companies make. It’s not comparable. But hey, if you don’t trust us, you are absolutely welcome to never read again. Don’t waste your time, or mine. Have a nice day!

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      • Well said Kate! I am sick and tired of all the people who expect bloggers to work for free and never offer any products/services of their own or promote products/services of someone else.

        This is the only career that I know of where people seem to think it’s OK to ask us to NOT earn any money and to just give everything away for free. They would never ask anyone in any other profession to give away their services or expertise for free.

        Blogging IS a business for many people (myself included) and it is how I support my family and pay our mortgage. It’s also how I am going to be able to stay home with my future children and homeschool them just like I have always dreamed.

        We should not be made to feel guilty for choosing this career path, nor should we be asked to work 30, 40, 50, 60+ hours per week for free. And yes, I know MANY bloggers who work upwards of 60 hours a week to keep their business going.

        Every time I get a comment on my own site condemning me for trying to make a living, I am going to remember your response. Thank you for standing up for all of us who are trying to earn a living doing what we love. This is a hard business to be in and people have no clue the amount of time, energy, and work that goes into running a business like this. Keep up the great work!

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      • Then what about Mercola’s mansion, hmm? Movie stars have smaller houses. You don’t see Ina May Gaskin with a huge mansion. She sells books but also posts all her information for free and doesn’t have affiliate links to scam you on Amazon. That is a real hero. But it looks like you copy all your information from her anyway as I go through your site.

        And no, I’m not stupid and I don’t know anything about what this SOB is. Unless you are calling me a son of a B, which I don’t appreciate.

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  15. […] 12 Mainstream Pregnancy Myths You Likely Believe I disagree with #10, but the others are really good. […]

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  16. Thanks for this. I have been shocked recently by something called “sweeping” – sounds awful! My babies born at home no probs – but my many friends and family have had difficult births – and they have had this ‘sweep’ thing. i shudder to think what would have happened to me if I had had that – not my great births i’m sure.

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    • Hi Natasha,

      Yes, I’ve heard about it! And risks include starting labor before baby is ready, breaking the mom’s water too early, and infection. Not good!

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  17. I’m sorry, but your article is also misleading. Yes, unfortunately some interventions are unnecessary. However, a very large baby (macrosomia) is most definitely an indication for an early induction or c-section. Have you ever witnessed a macrosomic baby being delivered and get stuck? I have. And it is the most heart wrenching experience I have ever been through. Some come through with mild injury, but I have witnessed an infant death because of lack of blood flow to the head while frantically trying to deliver the body. And a baby CAN be IUGR even at 32 weeks. This IS cause for concern and follow up because the baby for some reason isn’t getting adequate nutrients, placental perfusion is low, or an infection may be present. Can you breastfeed while pregnant, absolutely. Yes, do the research. Don’t agree to any treatments without being informed and well educated. But to say that all these things are myths is simply untrue.

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    • Hi Kelly,

      Yes — some interventions *are* necessary but many are not. Suspected large baby is not one of them, because of the highly inaccurate measurements. And yes, sometimes babies can get stuck, but typically this is because the woman is lying flat on her back. If she can get up on her hands and knees and her doctor or midwife knows the correct maneuver, the vast majority of babies will be unstuck easily. It is when attendants do not know how to handle it that it becomes a problem. I have heard of doctors advising women to push when they’re not contracting and pulling on the baby’s head — guarantee this is NOT the right way to handle it and yes, will lead to a poor outcome.

      The biggest problem, though, is that professional intervene *far* too often and even lie to women about situations, so it’s almost impossible to know when to believe someone that an intervention is really necessary. Telling a woman, for example, “Your baby will die if we don’t do continuous monitoring” is a definite lie and a nasty thing to say.

      The more professionals show respect for women, the more women will trust them.

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  18. I don’t remember having internal exams with any of my four pregnancies (but I’ve had midwives for three of them). Oh, maybe my doctor gave me an internal exam with my first before I switched to my midwife… and with my third, my midwife swept my membranes towards the end of the pregnancy. So internal exams make no sense to me.

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  19. This is the best pregnancy post ever! Thank you so much!! I will be sharing. I am passionate about birth issues, and I see these lies being perpetuated by the medical community constantly. It’s sad and sick, and mothers and babies pay the price. I can tell multiple examples of most of your points from friends’ experiences. For example:

    – The friend whose doctor INSISTED she be induced for postdates. Her baby ended up in the NICU for iatrogenic prematurity issues, with long-term health problems stemming from that. All of her babies since then have happily gone to 42+ weeks, and all been small even at that “postdates” timing.

    – The friend whose doctors INSISTED that she could only have repeat sections, instead of VBAMC. Now after multiple sections, they’re telling her that her uterus is too messed up to have any more children, and she’s heartbroken.

    I could sit here all day, giving examples. It’s very frustrating to see women and babies go through the ramifications from bad care.

    Thanks again!

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  20. I had 3 babies born vaginally with epidurals in hospital. I was a nervous wreck with the 3rd as my doc continually told me she ‘may’ have to perform a c-section. He was my first ELEVEN pound baby (no diabetes) and arrived vaginally in just 6 hours. After that I found out that I could be confident in my body & the birth process. I have had 2 more babies (11 pounds and 10 pounds each in 4 hours) in the comfort of my own home (best thing we ever did!! Recovery was amazing compared to those epidural births) and am prepping for another one at home in a few months.

    I am grateful for those like you who are strong enough to educate others on these common medical misconceptions. So many people (including me for a while) blindly follow the medical community with no questions or research. There is a time & place for medicine for sure! But the natural process of labor & delivery has been so screwed up since it was taken from the hands of midwives and placed into hospital obstetrics. All one needs to do is look at the history of Puerperal Fever (known as childbed fever) to see how doctors simply REFUSED to believe that their bacteria laden dirty hands could be the cause of this post-partum infection that caused high maternal mortality rates prior to the 1950’s. And that is only ONE example of the way the medical community treats pregnancy & labor.

    Women need to LEARN about what pregnancy and labor should be. They need to treat their bodies well throughout the pregnancy and trust their bodies to do what they are designed to do. They need to ask questions and get second opinions and empower themselves with information. Look at statistics and research.

    Thank you!
    –Andrea

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  21. I had an “unneeded” ultrasound at 26.5 weeks simply because my care was starting to be shared with another doctor since I couldn’t deliver in the very small town that I lived in. My fundal height was normal. My blood pressure was normal. My weight gain had been normal. There was no reason for the ultrasound other than that the OB wanted one done by her techs because she trusted them more. And guess what, they caught severe IUGR at 26.5 weeks. I went on to be induced at 32w6d because my liver enzymes were climbing and I was developing HELLP syndrome. Baby weighed 2lb11oz, below the 3rd percentile for his gestational age. I had had three extremely normal pregnancies previously with babies all 8lb10oz or above. There was no reason to expect anything like this, and yet, if that ultrasound hadn’t been performed, it’s likely my baby would have died before birth, and there’s a good chance that I could have, too.

    After my experience with my last baby, I have started to be really bothered by articles that make sweeping statements like this. I believe in natural birth, I delivered vaginally four times, three of them without medication. I believe breastfeeding is best for baby and mother. I started nursing my last baby in the NICU when he weighed less than 3 pounds and didn’t let any nurse push me into letting them give him a bottle. He was discharged weighing 4lb 1oz, three and a half weeks after I started nursing him, and about four days after he really caught onto nursing (he got all his nutrition from fortified pumped breastmilk that was put into an NG tube until he caught into nursing). Now at 18.5 months, he weighs about 19lb and I am still nursing. But what I don’t believe in is that things are so black and white when it comes to birth (or anything, really). And I don’t believe that most of the medical world is out to hurt women. In fact, I think most of them want healthy babies and healthy mothers. I believe that most of them are out to catch cases like mine, where there is no evidence that things are going poorly, and yet a bad outcome is likely for baby and/or mother if it’s not caught. Why does this divide exist between the natural birthing world and the medical birthing world? I don’t believe the blame can be laid at any one group’s door. I have been grateful for both communities for each of my pregnancies for different reasons. And upset and irritated at both at times as well. Why can’t we find a middle road?

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  22. […] writing two popular posts recently, 12 Mainstream Pregnancy Lies You Likely Believe, and 12 (More) Mainstream Pregnancy Lies You Likely Believe, several people asked me to talk about […]

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  23. I was really excited to read your post. I believe very strongly in herbs, essential oils, natural remedies, and alternative and holistic medicine. I make all of our skincare and most of our household products, i.e. toothpaste, laundry detergent, household cleaners, etc. I am currently 17 weeks pregnant with our first child and I very much want to have a natural childbirth. I have always made it a practice to listen to my body and research everything before just going along with what a doctor tells me to do. So naturally, I was drawn to your website and especially this article as well as the article you wrote to follow it up.

    But having read both articles as well as the responses, I am now being driven to look elsewhere and search for better information. First of all, because you do not provide nearly enough explaination or an adequate number of resources for your opinions/beliefs. You seem to be very educated and I really *want* to believe what you are saying… But with everyone on the internet these days believing themselves to be experts when they are not, it should go without saying that as an educated reader, I need to see a significant number of trusted resources as a foundation for information.

    Also, it would be very helpful for you to give advice on *how* to communicate what you want and what you don’t want to your doctors and nurses – *especially* when you are going against their advice. It’s quite easy to say in an article on the internet, “just say ‘NO”, it’s quite another to say that to your doctor who is telling you that you must do something because it is best for the health of you and your child and feel adequate in justifying your position.

    Lastly, I have to say that I was very disappointed to how you chose to respond to the obstetric nurse. She may have been a bit too harsh, but she made some good points. You have to keep in mind that not all your readers are as educated as you may be and many of them may take everything you’ve written as absolute truth and/or they may not understand it fully – this could easily put them and their babies at risk. Having grown up with a pediatric nurse for a mother I can’t tell you how many stories I have heard where the parents of her patients unintentionally put their children at serious risk because they believed themselves to know better than their child’s doctors or nurses.

    I think you must consider that there are two sides to this argument and that both sides have some excellent points. You should – absolutely – educate yourself, know your choices and the consequences, and stand strong in your resolution to do what you believe is best for you and your child. However, so many people are simply not educated and/or do not know what questions to ask. Articles such as yours often only fuel this fire of distrust in the medical profession, which can lead to and even bigger potential disaster then just blindly trusting everything a nurse and/or doctor tells you. There needs to be a balance.

    I have little doubt that you have only the best intentions at the heart of your blog and everything your write… So from one natural and intelligent mama to another, I just thought I’d share with you my 2 cents and how I have interpreted what you’ve written.

    I wish you and your blog the best! 🙂

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  24. […] which I’m planning for July 28th.  And make sure that you didn’t miss “12 Mainstream Pregnancy Lies You Likely Believe,” or “12 (More) Mainstream Pregnancy Lies You Likely […]

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  25. […] week, I published the wildly popular “12 Mainstream Pregnancy Lies You Likely Believe.”  If you haven’t read it, then you definitely should.  But, when I sat down to come […]

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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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