Monthly Archives: April 2012

Red, White and those Baby Blues: Why I’m Glad I’m not Pregnant in America

Being the first of my close circle of friends to be pregnant, I’m finding myself feeling a bit alone from time to time. It’s hard, amongst the people I see on a weekly basis, to find any true kind of understanding of the changes that I’m experiencing both mentally and physically. I say this not to complain, because really how can people who’ve never experienced it really relate to it, but rather I say it to explain why I find myself turning to online communities for support. There are some great ones out there, such as babycenter.ca. It’s just a nice forum where pregnant women can connect with other pregnant women, swap stories/hopes/fears and ask questions (of course, some of this can cause more anxiety… it’s amazing how people can worry about things that you’d never think to think about, but the second you hear about it you can’t stop thinking about it!).

I first accidentally signed up for babycenter.com, the American site. Still a place to talk to other pregnant women, but our healthcare systems are just so different. The more I read these women’s concerns the more I couldn’t relate to them. Some of their difficulties included:

  • Not having medical insurance
  • Being in the process of switching insurance companies and temporarily lacking coverage
  • Trips to the ER being put off because of fear of the cost of a trip to the ER
  • Limited number of ultrasounds covered regardless of whether the pregnancy is considered low, moderate or high risk
  • Family doctors’ pregnancy tests coming back negative despite multiple at home positives. This becomes a problem because insurance companies will only cover the OBGYN if the pregnancy has first been confirmed by the family doctor. Result: Pregnant women unable to get care from an OBGYN!

This list could go on and on, but man does it ever make me glad to have been born on the north side of that Canada/US border.

I also recently watched the documentary The Business of Being Born. Talk about a horror movie… I truly recommend it to anyone who is ever planning on having a family or is planning on extending their family. The main premise is nicely posed as a question on the IMDB website, which I’ve stolen for you to read here: “Should most births be treated as a natural life process, or should every delivery be treated as a potential medical emergency?”

While I don’t want to give it all away since I’m hoping everyone will watch it, I do want to say how bizarre I find it that midwives are the norm in most of the world, but in North America what they do still remains a mystery to the general public. Food for thought: In the United States, where less than 1% of births are attended by midwives, both the infant and maternal death rates are the worst or second worst amongst developed nations.

My own personal battle for the week: home vs. hospital birth. I am using a midwife no matter what. I would prefer a home birth, mostly because yes, I do associate hospitals with emergencies and they really do scare the bejeezus out of me. Creepy creepy sterile yet somehow dirty places! That being said, I have no objection to being transferred to a hospital if deemed necessary. On the other hand, my dear J is really opposed to the idea of home birth. I think it really scares him and I can’t really blame him. I’m probably comfortable with the idea because I’ve witnessed a home birth, and two of my brothers (10 and 12lb babies might I add!) were delivered at home with no complications (other than a broken collar bone for the former). I wouldn’t be entirely opposed to a hospital birth if I could still do it my way. I don’t want to be glued to a bed and hooked up to IVs without truly understanding what is being pumped into my body.  So much to think about! Luckily, I’ve still got 6.5 months to decide. Regardless of how difficult the situation, I’m grateful for the gift of choice. Merci Canada!

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