April 26, 2012

Be A Smart Consumer And Educate Yourself!

The other day while breezing through some blogs, I came across an entry on the Lamaze Science & Sensibility blog about Vitamin D. The article explained the average person, especially breastfed babies, need additional vitamin D supplements. This concerned me, since my 9 month old has never been given supplements to his diet of breastmilk and solids. So I reached out to my pediatrician (whom I love!) and was a bit surprised that she does recommend this for the winter months since they are not getting as much outside time.

At first I was a bit angry she didn’t tell us that we should be giving Shay a supplement. But then I realized that I cannot count on our care provider to hold my hand on every subject. She has always been extremely prompt in answering my questions and reminded me that my son is healthy, so not to worry that he wasn’t getting extra vitamin D.

I have now accepted I need to be pro-active and take responsibility for my family’s health. I cannot assume my doctor is going to give me all the answers. I need to be a smart consumer and know the questions to ask my provider.

Throughout the years, I have talked to many pregnant women about their ideas for their upcoming birth. When the discussion of options available and routine interventions one may want to forgo has come up, many were surprised there was a choice in the matter. Several expressed they assumed there was no choice since their care provider didn’t tell them about different choices in birth. Again, it’s essential that we become smart consumers and researchers so we know what types of questions to ask our care providers.

If it is up to the individual to educate themselves about pregnancy, birth and child rearing, where does one look? There are several venues to find this type of information. There are many reliable websites, (I am partial to the two Lamaze websites: Science & Sensibilty, Giving Birth With Confidence, as well as articles and books by Ina May Gaskin and Penny Simkin.) For those just finding their way through the different choices in childbirth, here is a blog that you may find helpful as a jumping off point: Educate Yourself, Know Your Birth Options. I have also put together an in depth list of books I often refer to and devoured on my path into the childbirth education world. Please check out My Book List.

Another way to educate yourself, is to take advantage of groups and classes in your area. Pregnant women and new moms love to talk! From my own personal experience, I learned a lot about sleep schedules, solid foods and sippy cups from the moms in the New Moms Support Group I attended. I am still in touch with several of these women, and it has become a great community to talk through issues that arise with our kids.

Other resources to check out:
Maternity Institute
Spinning Babies
American Pregnancy

My hope for this blog is simply to remind pregnant people and new moms that we can’t wait for others to educate us about our bodies, our babies, and our births. If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any.



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