Monday, May 21, 2012

YOU Having a Baby

This week's Mama Monday post is going to be another cross between my usual writing on motherly and childbirth related topics and a Book Report. I keep thinking I'll write a separate post about the book only, and today it hit me that my Book Report post really is my Mama Monday as well!

On to it already.

I have a thing for Dr. Oz.

It's to the point that when my four year old sees Dr. Oz on TV or on the cover of a magazine he says, "Look, Mom! It's Dr. Oz! That's your favorite show!" Now, he'll also say that about most forms of news shows since I start most days with the Today Show and listen to npr most of the time, but he definitely knows I like Dr. Oz (please don't ask him how often I watch the Food Network).

I don't like him because of Oprah or because he has researched every weight loss trick known to man and knows a lot of celebrities. I like him because he's informative. He answers questions and explains why. He explains why people are obese, why belly fat is bad and what it looks like, what happens to your metabolism as you age and why. He is an expert but doesn't keep all the answers to himself and tell us to do things because he's the doctor and he said so. I like him because he invites people to ask him all the "embarrassing" questions they can't seem to ask their own doctors! Hmm, that might tell you a bit about the relationship the American public has with their practitioners!

When it comes to my health and that of my children I have a lot of questions, and I like to be surrounded by people and sources who will answer them. This is one reason why having a midwife for the pregnancies and births of my children was such a good choice to me. Midwives tend to be much more relational with their patients than obstetricians do, and are more likely to spend more time with you answering questions. This is not to say that all obstetricians or family physicians are antisocial or restrictive with information, or to say that midwives are in any way superior to doctors.  It is a generalization and a statement meant only to indicate that a midwife was best for my needs and personality.

In some ways I think Dr. Oz has the heart of a midwife. Besides being incredibly informative, and sharing information with the public in an easily digestible format, he also seems to me to be very balanced in his perspective of health. I appreciate his holistic approach to healthy living and how he emphasizes overall physical, mental and spiritual well-being over being thin, strong or smart. Yet, while he welcomes holistic and naturopathic practitioners, he never sets aside his medical training and experience and often uses both sides of medicine to support each other.

As a doula, I'm trained to support mothers by helping them to get all the information they can in order to form opinions and make decisions about their birth experience. Rather than point or guide them in one direction or tell them where to go and what to do, I see my role as helping them form the right questions in order to find the answers they need. When they do find the answers they need and develop their desires for their birth, it's my job to support, encourage and do all I can to see those desires realized. This is why I'm so glad that Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen have written a spectacular book called YOU Having a Baby.

I recently listened to the audio version of this book (Thank You Tulsa County Libraries!) over a few weeks and I just loved it. Besides feeling incredibly productive as I buzzed around town running four kids between two schools, and back and forth between parents' houses, and all the errands you can imagine, I learned several things I hadn't read in other birth books yet.

Roizen and Oz do include several subjects you can find in other sources, such as symptoms of pregnancy and general dos and don'ts, but there is an overall focus on a particular field of study referred to as epigenetics. They go into great detail to explain how everything that affects you during pregnancy, from what you eat and drink, to what you feel and experience, can affect the genetic makeup of your child. They share how though your child's DNA is determined at the moment of conception, the environment that molds and shapes them while in utero can actually change how that DNA manifests itself in your baby as a child and ultimately as an adult long after you give birth!

Even more, the book isn't simply a list of what you should eat while you're pregnant, but meticulously explains why certain choices are positive and negative during pregnancy. There are also "YOU" facts scattered throughout the book which offer all kinds of interesting tid bits about our bodies, babies and health to further spark your interest!

I highly recommend this book, whether you read or listen to it. It is an excellent book to include on your bookshelf as a tool and reference. If you are an expectant mother with a partner who is reluctant to involve him or herself in the birth preparation process, this book will give you a great vocabulary and springboard for conversation with your partner about pregnancy, birth and beyond. I hope you'll pick it up soon and begin your journey to being informed and empowered.

Love and Honey,

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