You can actually grow a baby without paying any attention to these things but consider that your mission now is to grow the healthiest baby ever…in all aspects of its little being –mind, body, and soul. This is an incredible contribution to the generations that will come after.
Believe it or not, when it comes to pregnancy (and as we shall explore in birth and early parenting) you are actually the expert. If you wish to take full responsibility it is possible to conduct your own pre-natal check-ups if you feel a scientific measure of your progress is important. You can purchase blood pressure monitors and urine test strips complete with instructions at your local pharmacy. You can also measure the height of your own uterus (to see how baby is growing) using a simple tape measure. Simply hold one end of the tape against the top of your pubic bone and stretch the tape until you can feel the top of your uterus. It will feel firm and rubbery underneath your belly skin. Typically, unless you have a full bladder you will not really be able to measure this until you are about 16 weeks. It is a general guideline that the measurement correlates with weeks of gestation. Towards the end of the second trimester you can also begin to palpably feel baby’s position based on where you feel definite kicks, wriggles, and firm bulges. Explore the informative website www.spinningbabies.simplewebsite.com to show you how.
Some women choose to even listen to the heartbeat themselves. Tools such as foetoscopes (a special stethoscope for listening to baby’s heartbeat) and hand-held dopplers are quite often available to the public on the internet.
During my first pregnancy I had routine and regular prenatal care with my homebirth midwives. A typical visit consisted of listening to heartbeat, feeling baby’s position (latter stages of pregnancy), checking urine sample for infection and excess sugar, checking blood pressure, and discussing concerns and emotional issues as well as basic birth preparation. With my second pregnancy I felt myself more proficient in taking responsibility and the visits were further apart, only checking vitals such as heartbeat as well as urine as I suspected I had a mild urinary tract infection. I was able to take my own blood pressure if I felt the need. The circumstances of my second birth (feel free to read it at the end of this book) filled me with confidence and affirmed to me that I was my own expert and I only had to trust in YHWH. I asked my midwife friend to listen to the baby’s heartbeat twice during the pregnancy –once in the first trimester and once before the birth, I forewent any urine testing because I was mindful of diet and personal hygiene (particularly after sex), I measured my own uterus every so often until I no longer felt the need because from the amount of movement I was feeling as well as my growing belly it was obvious all was well. I took my own blood pressure occasionally if I felt the need. All in all it was a very relaxed pregnancy based on surrender to the miracle unfolding inside that was approached with mindfulness but not encumbered by the burden of a routine ‘just in case’ mentality. It was very liberating.
While it is certainly up to you whether you see the routine use of these techniques as necessary, I can attest to the fact that taking things into your own hands and being your own expert (inviting other opinions in when you feel the need) and trusting in the loving Creator or simply the natural process of pregnancy and birth helps you to become very in tune with your body and your baby and affirms your own God – given abilities.