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The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy By Vicki Iovine

The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy by Vicki Iovine is a woman’s book.  It’s written by a woman and intended to be read by a woman.  Until now!  I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands and learn about the secret conversation that transpires between women about the prenatal period.

The GGTP is an easy to read, light-hearted book about what happens during pregnancy.  All the good, bad, and ugly parts of being a pregnant woman are right there in black and white.  Pregnant women fart?  Wait, what?  Women fart?  I had to read it twice to make sure I wasn’t imagining things.  This potentially mortifying information (to both man and woman) and more are scattered throughout.  For balance, the GGTP also includes some very pertinent information that one would find in a more clinical pregnancy text.

I find that men don’t talk as much as women.  We just don’t care have the right equipment.  Women have got a special part of the brain that allows them to carry on 5 conversations simultaneously, all while putting on makeup and driving. Also, women can go on in graphic detail about just about anything, whereas men usually leave some ideas to the imagination.  Hence, this book is an abbreviated compilation of many of those, um, vivid conversations women divulge to their closest peers about the curious happenings of being ‘with child’.

I liked this book for my wife because it made her first pregnancy more tangible and real.  She was more willing to accept the ideas presented here rather than from me.  Most women have a hard time seeing life as it really is, not like how life is on ‘Guiding Light’ or ‘As The World Turns’.  It’s not perfect and Iovine slaps the rose off your glasses and makes sure you see that pregnancy is not fuzzy and sweet and perfect.  It can also have its, um, unappealing side.  Therefore, if you think that pregnancy is full of glowing moms rubbing their bellies and relaxing in the sun for 3 trimesters, this book will blow your mind.

I had a few issues with this book, but not that took away too much from the charm.  This book was written by someone who used artificial reproductive technology (ART) to conceive and used the medical technology and pharmaceuticals available at her delivery.  I’ve got no problem with ART.  It’s great.  But, she fully endorses drugs over more natural forms of childbirth and even goes so far as to compare the two: “You can lie on a bed of nails to deliver your baby or you can lie on a bed of downy feathers.”  This statement is a fear-based one that still causes women to run straight for the epidural.  Pain is the body’s way of telling you something.  When you completely turn off the pain mechanism of the body, how are you supposed to know if both you and your baby are ok?  (Oh yeah, because of the probe on your baby’s head, the probe on your belly, the 2 IV drip bags, the ultrasound machine, and the pair of hands reaching into you and turning the baby because you don’t know that your body needs to turn slightly so that the baby drops naturally…Oh yeah, it can’t drop naturally.  Now, it’s time to do a C-section, because that’s fun…for the doctors.)

Iovine also says that “You can never get to the hospital too early”  Really?  From what I understand, hospitals don’t make money on filling beds with non-laboring women.  Figure out that a hospital’s first job is to make money and you’ll soon understand why there’s a push to getting you to push.  (Hospitals have to pay the insurance companies that control them!)  Besides, does anyone like to hang out at the hospital?  (It’s got more dangerous bacteria than your house…I digress.)  Hospitals have different policies on taking you in to the maternity ward before labor starts, so check with your local hospital for info.

Anyhow, if you can overlook the natural versus assisted labor & deliver debate, you can find the humor you need during those trying 10 months.  (Yes, pregnancy is 10 months, not 9.)  The laughter provided in the GGTP may be enough to jiggle your baby out!  Or at the very least, you may squirt a little pee onto your leg.

Overall Rating:  7 Worms   

Readability:  8 Worms

Usefulness:  6 Worms 

Manliness:  1 Worm (Unless the word girlfriend now includes men, there’s no manliness in this book for us.) 

Retail Price:  $15

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Pros:

Easy to read.  Entertaining, especially for first time moms.  May be a nice change from all the clinical pregnancy books you’re reading.

Cons:

Some of the opinions are very strongly asserted.  (But hey, it’s her book right?)  The part about pregnancy fashion was way, way over my head…

Things I would modify:

Not much.  This book is a casual read.  I think it is targeted towards a woman who may be embarrassed about the changes her body is going through.  It’s aptly named as a girlfriend’s guide, because it has all the friendly character, charm, and support that one’s girlfriend would give.

You heard me right, there’s a white woman home birth extravaganza and you’re invited!  Actually, no matter what color you are, you’re invited!  All you need for the extravaganza is a live pregnant woman, a house and a desire to deliver a baby in it!

Home-birth setup

Home Birth Setup!

Statistics show a growing concern about the hospital birthing procedures, and rightfully so.  In the great United States of America, we rank 50th in the entire world for maternal mortality.  Yep, that’s right.  Mothers dying while giving birth.  It’s not widely known, but the data speaks for itself.  (Maternal Mortality reference.)  The infant mortality rate in the U.S. is 46th in the world.  (C.I.A. reference.)  It’s pretty appalling, don’t you think?

I love my wife and I want to keep her around for a few more years.  We also plan on having a few more Gavins.  So, this article (see bottom of page) interests me, because it pertains to my wife and future children.

I despise some hospital birthing practices as I witnessed firsthand both the good and the bad sides of a hospital birth.  My own childbirth experience was beginning to turn into a science experiment before I had a “come to Tebow” talk with the staff. There were way too many interventions “being offered” to Steph in labor.  (But, that’s another story soon to be told.)  So, naturally I understand the desire of a home birth, especially if the mother and fetus are in good health.  (I would also be heavily in favor of a home birth for our next child.)  Apparently, white women are leading the charge toward more home births in the U.S.  There’s been an increase in out-of-hospital births by 29% between 2004 and 2009.  The major party working the non-traditional (I hate how the unconventional birthing practice in America has become the “traditional” method) birthing angle are, as the article title states, non-Hispanic white women.  They’ve accounted for 36% of the total increase in home births in that 6 year span.

Seeing as how I married a white woman, the chance for me getting our second baby home-birthed is better than average.  So, I feel pretty good about my odds.  (Obviously, this only makes sense from a statistical perspective…and in my own mind.)

There are good reasons for wanting a home birth.  Control of the experience, no one forcing their agenda on you, privacy, intimacy, makes for good story, etc.  Having a home birth can be safer than a hospital birth, but make sure the mother-to-be is a low-risk pregnancy before you grab that leather strap and bottle of whiskey to hunker down in the trenches with your old lady.  And do your homework.  Guys need to understand the tools, tricks, and risks of the L&D trade before they have their own home birth extravaganza.  You can’t just toss back a beer and cheer from the couch.  You’ve got to be involved.  (You can be the hero that Enrique Iglesias sings about in that song…)

Anyhow, if you’ve made it this far into my article, you’ve either got a high tolerance for number crunching, or you’re serious about making sure your ball and chain gets the best that healthcare has to offer.  If you’re looking for the latter, you may want to move to Singapore.  Just kidding, you may want to man up and learn about what you can do to increase the odds of your family’s next successful birth.  Get informed.

Article I was reading:

CDC Home Births on the Rise

There’s tons of information out there on natural birthing methods.  Google it!

 

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