Despite the incredible advances in medicine that have taken place in recent decades, the numbers of high-risk pregnancies, premature and low birth weight babies, miscarriages, stillbirths, and newborn and maternal deaths are all on the rise in the United States. Working on a High Risk OB unit in a major teaching hospital, I can relate to this article. More than ever in history we are seeing an explosion of problems related to womens health, before and during pregnancy. Some examples:
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Diabetes, new or long-standing
Underweight or overweight
Advanced maternal age
Systemic illnesses such as heart disease, kidney disease, blood abnormalities, or thyroid disease
Pre-eclampsia, or pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH)
Diabetes in pregnancy
Bleeding or hemorrhage from the placenta
Most of these are preventable. What we must do is realize that we are partners in our own health care. We cannot just throw caution to the wind and then expect our overburdened health care system to fix all the conditions that we sometimes bring on ourselves. We must take an equal role in this process.
More and more we encouraged to have a voice in our own care. Take advantage of the programs available to you from the health care system. Look into alternative methods of birthing including Midwifery, water labors, nutrition and exercise programs and those that involve the entire families such as Lamaze and sibling classes, to name just a few. Do the research and ask questions. If your health care providers are not open to this, search out ones that are. Teaching hospitals are excellent resources.
We must take responsibility for our own health care and not expect the healthcare community to fix all the damage that we cause, that is preventable. I find it criminal when I see diabetic patients and the like come into our unit to ask us to "fix" the damage they have done by being uncompliant. Once you are pregnant, what you do to yourself affects your unborn child. Most of the cases I see that are preventable or akin to child abuse.
Thanks for the article and the information. I only hope that we can get out of the "blame game" in which we hold our healthcare providers solely responsible for our health, and become active partners in this growing problem!
- 9/24/2009 5:04:44 PM