We saw an episode of 20/20 on Friday. The big headline was about a woman who didn’t know she was pregnant until she was giving birth. Everyone was marvelling how this could have happened. The woman had 3 children already so how could she not know she was pregnant? Complicating the situation, they revealed that the man had a vasectomy several years ago.
They tell the story about how the woman felt some ‘pressure’ and then all of a sudden she had given birth. Her husband called ambulance which was quite far away and the 9-1-1 operator had to talk her husband through cutting the umbilical cord and making sure everyone was fine. The event traumatized the older children. Eventually the ambulance came and mother and baby were taken away in the ambulance.
Now we can get to what really annoys me about the: “I didn’t know I was pregnant” story lines. Invariably, they start to talk about how shocked and amazed everyone is that the baby was born healthy! Citing a lack of pre-natal care they wonder how the baby could have been born healthy. Hello?!? Women have been having babies without ‘pre-natal care’ for millennia!
The medicalization of childbirth over the last 200 or so years seems to have convinced women that they cannot have babies without interventions. It is clear that pre-natal care has improved outcomes for babies and mothers. Generally if a woman eats a healthy diet and treats her body well she will likely give birth to a healthy baby. In many cases even if a women does not eat a good diet she will likely give birth to a healthy baby. The medicalization of pregnancy and childbirth in western nations, has turned women into health care consumers for very basic functions. Women in third world countries have babies without medical intervention all the time. Why is it so hard to believe that women in North America could do it too?