Prenatal Care

Prenatal Care

​10 reasons why I enjoy receiving my prenatal care from my midwife

“Hey Julia, how are you and your belly? So do you know what you’re having?” Internally I go as usually when this question arises, and it arises often: “I guess I’m having a human (sometimes I smile and say: maybe it's a rabbit?! or an elephant?!) and I’ll do my best to hold the space for this human to keep the wholeness he or she comes with”.

The question comes from my dear granny. She’ s a mother of 4 grown ups, a grandma of 6, plus a great-grandmother. I always love chatting with her about life and changes generally, she’s just got the overview.

“Well grandma, my belly is great, I feel the baby daily and I’m doing really good, I’m healthy and have little else to ask for.” As for the sex of the baby I chose to now do what I always felt when being pregnant with Lea. Stepping out of the routine, and into “Listening”. “How was it with your first pregnancy, how was prenatal care 50 years ago?”, I ask.

“Oh you know Julia, with your auntie I never went to the doctor, there was a midwife just across from us, but also her I’ve only seen 2 or 3 times before delivery. When she asked me where and how I want to give birth and said I want to go to the local house in town that they use for birth, she told me it would be wise to at least speak with the doctor that would accompany the midwife during the birth… that was 4 weeks prior to delivery. An ultra sound? We didn't have that back than, or at least it wasn't offered.”

I stand and let the words sink. Just 50 years ago the whole story around birth was so different and within one generation so many things changed. Exactly how Debra Pascali Bornaro said during the Doula training in Bali: “just go and speak with your mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, see what you find in their stories, it hasn’t been too long ago when birth was a natural event in the every day life of families before it became a medical event being relocalised into doctors offices and hospitals.”

So here I go inquiring into my “Herstory” with my granny. And she goes on: “And you see Julia, it was the same with your mother, she was born in town, after a pregnancy that was just as my every day life. And then with your other auntie there was prenatal care introduced, this test and that test and please come back in 4 weeks, ultrasound, and blood tests and I don’t know what else. I didn’t even question, even though in my first two pregnancies, 'health care' was so different…”

1.) Prenatal care from a midwife or Doula is done (at least that’s the case for some midwifes in Germany) in a home environment. Either in your own home or in the “office” of a midwife which are usually just as cozy, personal and non sterile like your home and just like… LIFE.

2.) It feels like a meeting between two woman, not a health professional and a patient. It’s a meeting at eye level, with a warm smile, a hand shake and maybe even a tea and a chat.

3.) The Baby is always part of the meeting, he/she is being greeted, touched, massaged, listened to.

4.) I get asked questions that can be answered by feeling and experience, which don’t require a machine and I get to ask questions in a relaxed manner. No time pressure, no professional sterile environment, a chat from a woman to a woman. Stories, jokes, wondering questions about this magic time.

5.) Most of the “tests” I can do myself, like to wee over a test stick and compare the colours with the “norm”, or testing the vaginal milieu myself so I don’t even need a vaginal exam. When my midwife feels for the size and position of the uterus she explains what she’s doing so I can do it for myself, as well as I learn how to note it in my “mother pass”. When it comes to listening to the heart beat she asks: “Do you feel the baby kick and move daily?” I smile and say "Yes, I feel my baby often on a daily basis", she asks if I then really need to listen to the heart beat because usually babies without a heart beat don't move and kick. That just blew my mind in a way that I asked myself: how much confirmation from the outside do I actually really need to "know" my Baby is fine? However, I'm honest: The sound of a babies heart beat is music to my ears, so I did ask to listen for a brief moment.

6.) “Waiting comfortably” for the appointment at home instead of in a clinic or doctors office. My midwife does come to my house which is amazing in the sense that I can be in my home environment (which is very suitable when planing for a home birth any). And it make my logistics with having my office at home and taking care of our daughter easier to not have to run across town and sit in a waiting room while my work is piling at home.

7.) My emotional state and thoughts are being met. It’s not a bare collection of data and numbers, a significant a mount of time and focus is being put on how I feel in my body, mind and what my thoughts are circling around. Emotional swings, fears, doubts can weigh super heavy when not being met with empathy and care. I now know what I’ve been missing in my first pregnancy: To create this space for myself to meet with other woman, midwifes, mothers to share and address these topics.

8.) My family has a place in this. While in the medical world the mother is the “patient” with the patient ID and therefor is in the focus of it all. Now I experience my whole family being part of the picture. My daughter might double check the colours after testing the urine and my husband may feel the size and position of the uterus under the instructions of the midwife. Everyone’s involved, has a job and gathers wisdom about what’s going on the secret box of mothers tummy.

9.) “When would you like to see me again?” my midwife asks. And again: its me who’s in charge. I have to think, I have to feel, I have to speak up for what I need. After my big learnings in my first delivery I came to realise how important it is to stay on top of myself and make choices regarding my body, my needs, my baby. An empowered and personalised pregnancy, birth and motherhood is not about waiting for provider to deliver what they assume I might need, but to get clarity on MY topics myself through research, speak up and ask for what I need according to my beliefs and desires.

10.) I’m always left with a feeling of empowerment. That I have all the tools, that my body knows what to do, that the natural intelligence of a woman’s body knows how to be pregnant and ho to give birth and that everything is just fine and I can relax.