Okay mamas, raise your right hand and repeat after me, “I will not use Google, Facebook groups, or mommy forums to get information about my pregnancy symptoms and birth fears.” Now, please, put your hand down, settle in, and hear me out.
I have recently seen first-hand the craze and flurry of activity following a simple question like, “My ultrasound said my baby is 9 pounds, will I need a c-section?” These threads turn into an all out free for all of scary stories of doom, gloom, and emergencies. Misinformed advice is flowing. I get it, we all want to share our stories, we all love giving advice. And as a fellow lover of advice giving, my advice to you is this: Please don’t fall into that internet story swapping trap. It will most likely do nothing but terrify you! The answers I saw to the above question ranged from “I birthed a 10 pound baby and didn’t tear,” to “Not to scare you, but I tore so bad with a 6 pound baby, good luck with a 9 pound baby!” to “Absolutely, get a c-section and save yourself a labor that won’t work anyway! I labored for 47 hours with a 9 pound baby and ended up in a c-section.” So do any of these answers actually provide this mother with any facts? Do they give her any risk factors or medical information at all? They don’t. By the end of this thread, this mama was not better off than when she asked her question. She was most likely more confused and fearful.
We all have questions. Pregnancy is not something we experience often in life, and it comes along with many surprising symptoms for almost every woman. We automatically turn to other women who have been there and done this. The problem is, stories told are based on some misinformation or missing information. Medical providers don’t typically take the time to really sit down and make sure you understand everything from the reasons, to the causes, to the risks and benefits, to the alternatives of each thing that happens in your pregnancy and labor. So we fill in the gaps and share our stories that aren’t always fully informed. And even if we are fully informed, just because one mama struggled to birth a 9 pound baby, does not mean that another mama will. We apply our experiences across the board and pregnancy and labor are really not one size fits all. A mother who struggled to birth a 9 pound baby could have had so many factors play into the events of that labor. Was the baby in an ideal position? Was she induced or did she go into labor naturally? How long was she given to allow her baby to move down? How was the baby handling labor? What position was the mom in for birthing? All of these factors can have an effect on how our births go, so blanket statements just do not work.
So where do we send these questions? Step away from the mommy forums, close the search engines. Start with getting informed by people who have spent years researching topics in this field. I would start with your medical provider. If your medical provider doesn’t happily field your questions until you feel adequately comfortable with the answers and your options, I would recommend you find another provider. Another wonderful option is a doula. Doulas are an amazing resource for a pregnant mom and they almost always truly enjoy answering your questions and researching on your behalf to find you the information you need. They will filter through the nonsense and get you the facts. There are even virtual doulas available at a cheaper price if you are just wanting someone who will field your questions via phone or text. Pregnancy books can be a great resource as well and there are plenty of great ones out there. Just put your phone down, unless it’s to call your provider or doula, and take a deep breath. You’ve got this, mama!