Common Sense Pregnancy: Navigating a Healthy Pregnancy and Birth for Mother and Baby

We are excited to share with you an excerpt from the newly released book, Common Sense Pregnancy: Navigating a Healthy Pregnancy and Birth for Mother and Baby, by women’s health expert, labor nurse, mother of four, and Every Mother Counts’ senior writer Jeanne Faulkner. 

Just as in most areas of life, knowledge is power and being aware of your options and having the ability to make choices is one way to ensure a healthy and positive birth experience. Having a reliable resource to help break down myth from fact is critical.

Now you can have Jeanne Faulkner on your speed dial, in the form of a book. Common Sense Pregnancy puts all of the most important information in one place and does so in the same direct, no nonsense way that Jeanne would if she were on the other end of your phone. This book will provide women with the information they truly need to understand pregnancy and childbirth, to know what to expect from their body and to be equipped to make the right choices for them and their baby.

Every mother deserves a safe and healthy birth. Every mother deserves the opportunity to be in charge of her own birth experience. It may not always be pretty or fun, but the more that she knows and the more she can prepare herself and good make choices, the better an experience for everyone.

Here’s a sneak peek into the book that focuses on determining the right birth plan.


How to determine whether you want your birth to be all natural, all medical, or something in between.
Some women are 100-percent sure they want an all-natural birth. No medications, no epidurals, minimal time in bed, maximum time on their feet, in a tub and using a birthing ball, and absolutely no C-section. Other women know for sure they want all the bells and whistles the hospital has to offer. If they could get an epidural during their last week of pregnancy, they’d be all for it. If they end up with a C-section, no problem. They want the full-meal, medical deal. Most women fall some where in between, though some never give it any thought. Their plan is to do whatever their doctor or midwife says and to follow orders.

If you aren’t already leaning strongly toward either a natural or a medicalized birth plan, here’s how to determine what you want.

Give yourself a comprehensive prenatal education, as described in the pre- ceding section. Take into consideration your health history, medical conditions, your partner’s preferences, your providers’ recommendations, and your options for where to give birth. Then go with your gut and remain flexible.

You probably already know if you have a high pain tolerance and a high level of trust in your own body’s ability to function normally.

Those are going to be huge factors in how you approach your birth. I know a few women who are scared to death to approach labor without medical experts at their bedside. I also know women who are terrified that if they deliver in a hospital all the staff will be out to get them. Most of the women I know, however, aren’t that nervous, and they’re fine with a middle ground approach.

Going into labor set on a rigid all-natural, or an all-medical, or a following-orders birth plan isn’t such a great idea, because labor and childbirth rarely go exactly as planned. Every birth is a previously untested navigation between one mother’s body and one baby’s body, and babies never consult birth plans. Instead, I recommend women approach labor as naturally as possible and then adapt as needed.

That’s why it’s important to learn what’s involved in births that veer away from your preferred birth plan.

Even if you want an epidural, you should learn how to relax and breathe into contractions, get into positions that facilitate labor, and participate in decisions made about your birth experience. In many hospitals, you can’t get an epidural until you’re about 4 centimeters dilated, and you might have to wait until an anesthetist is available. That could mean hours of contractions you’ll need to cope with. Even if you’re planning an all-natural birth, you need to know about other pain management options available at your birth facility in case you change your mind mid-labor. Believe me, that happens a lot.

Read more from Jeanne by purchasing her book here.

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