According to a meta-analysis of 50 studies involving 669,876 women, prenatal care has not been demonstrated to conclusively improve birth outcomes.
Fiscella K, Does prenatal care improve birth outcomes? A critical review, Obstet Gynecol 1995 Mar; 85(3): 468-79. PMID: 7862395
The results of another study, conducted on over 57,000 women, show that those who received the most amount of prenatal care by their physicians had the worst pregnancy outcomes and the highest rate of cesarean sections and induced labor.
Gissler M, Hemminki E, Amount of antenatal care and infant outcome. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 1994 Jul; 56(1):9-14.
Then why do doctors insist you are putting your health and your baby's life at risk if you don't get prenatal care? First, because if you decide not to get prenatal care, the doctor loses a lot of income. Second, if you realize that prenatal care is not necessary, it's not much of a stretch to decide that the presence of the doctor is not necessary at the birth either.
True prenatal care consists of eating a healthy and robust diet, getting a moderate amount of exercise daily, thinking positive thoughts and reducing stress to you and your baby. However, if it will make you feel better to do your own prenatal care, do so, by all means.
See the Metabolic Toxemia of Late Pregnancy page to find out about preventing pre-eclampsia and toxemia. See the Prenatal Nutrition page and the Protein Count of Essential Foods page.
Also, if you have large arms, make sure and get a unit that has an extra large adult cuff. If the cuff is too small to fit your arm appropriately, it will make your pressure appear higher than it actually is. Eliminate this problem by using the wrist model we sell.
Need to Measure maternal weight?
If you are eating a diet of wholesome, healthy foods with plenty of protein and no junk food, the amount of weight you gain is really of no consequence. The only time weight gain is suspicious is if it is a sudden weight gain from excess water. This normally occurs because of three factors: You have not been eating enough protein, you have not been drinking a minimum of 1/2 gallon of water a day, and you may need to increase your calcium/magnesium supplementation. Your weight gain is more likely to be unhealthy if you have not been eating a healthy diet.
Determining fetal position inside the uterus.
Most mothers learn to determine their babies' positions simply by paying attention to the way the baby feels inside them and outlining the contours of the baby's body with their hands on the outside of their bellies. It is often the case that babies communicate to their mothers through dreams so the mother will know their position. Suggest to yourself that you should have a dream about the baby's position, and ask the baby to communicate it's position to you. You will usually receive some feedback from the baby within a short period of time. However, whether the position of the baby is head down (vertex) or breech (feet or buttocks first) really is of little consequence, since both can be born easily and without complications. If the baby is in a transverse position (lying across the mother's body) a suggestion to the baby that he/she should change positions usually does the trick. You can use the Accu-Balancing Technique, discussed below, to do this. If you are still several weeks away from delivery, there is still lots of space and time for the baby to turn itself. See our Breech Birth page.
Yes, women die in childbirth all the time in countries that do not have prenatal care. But their deaths are usually from malnutrition, anemia, and toxemia which are are nutrition related. Another cause can be infection, which can be introduced by caregivers that don't wash their hands or poor living conditions, something we in the West CAN CONTROL. We have WIC to insure good nutrition for pregnant women, you can get vitamin and mineral supplements for anemia and getting enough protein, water and vitamins/minerals can prevent toxemia. So all this is IN YOUR CONTROL.
29 inch Fetal Stethoscope for listening to
fetal heart tones
Latex-free 22 inch Fetal Stethoscope for listening
to fetal heart tones
Graco Prenatal Listener
Pinard Fetal Stethoscope
Automatic wrist blood pressure monitor
Back to The Online Childbirth Class
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Copyright 2014 Judie C. McMath and The Center for Unhindered Living