The World Health Organization in 2005 stated relative to childbirth that “every minute one woman dies from the complications related to pregnancy and childbirth.” How incredible!
Pregnancy and childbirth are seen as particularly natural, normal and essentially trouble-free occasions, in American society. American women do not die unnecessarily from infections or the complications of infection that plague third world countries. In that regard, American women have it pretty good.
But, American women die in appalling numbers from murder at the hands of their spouses and/or significant others. American women die in childbirth in the process of giving birth and in the postpartum phase from heart related disorders, such as postpartum idiopathic cardiomyopathy, as well as other factors!
I propose seeing the fetus that a woman carries to fruition as a parasite. Because regardless of the ‘Johnson & Johnson’ commercials, the baby showers, the cute little clothes, and the glamourization of childbirth (and rightfully so) the fetus is a parasite upon the woman’s body! And even though we have the accoutrements for childbirth, they have to be, WE have to be in prime condition in order for things to go well or at least as expected.
As well with this parasitic relationship, the woman becomes even more vulnerable as she carries a baby she needs to protect or seeks to protect. The man or significant other soon realizes the vulnerability of a pregnant woman! Some men act on this knowledge and exert control, become jealous, yet many do not, and welcome the chance to act as an expectant parent.
Usually, women enter into pregnancy not knowing at first that they are pregnant. I am aware of the at home pregnancy tests. Yet, pregnancy still comes as a surprise to a number of women. Unless a woman aggressively and vigorously prepares her body for the demands of childbirth (and these demands are real and dangerous) she is setting up her body to fail ‘her.’ NOT the fetus, necessarily, but the woman herself is put behind the eightball and essentially her body struggles to catch up with the increasing demands placed upon it.
WHY? Because the fetus, that delightful little parasite will literally take whatever it needs from the mother to survive. The fetus will take nutrients from wherever in order to survive. If a woman becomes pregnant, yet she is malnourished, and by malnourished I mean how we as Americans normally eat; on the go, not necessarily three nutritious meals a day, no vitamins or supplements, etc., and so forth, the woman has nutritionally compromised herself.
By the time she discovers she is pregnant, the fetus is ahead in pilfering nutrients from the mother body, thus causing the mother’s body to work harder and her heart to work harder, as well as her other organs, to meet the needs of not only the host (Mommy) but the baby (parasite!)
With the increase in blood volume due to creating a human being, the mother’s heart attempts, for the most part successfully, to function with this increased volume. When the heart gets ‘stretched’ to the point whereby it loses it functional ability, this is called idiopathic cardiomyopathy or cardiomyopathy.
As a cardiothoracic RN, I have witnessed women who have delivered in the OR and then required a heart transplant immediately after! I have also witnessed women who because of the nature of pregnancy and their assumption that pregnancy is so ‘natural’ a state of affairs for women, ignore or even their OB-GYN doctor may ignore their constant complaints and presenting symptoms! I have witnessed these sets of events leading to the deaths of young AMERICAN women!
All of this is to say that women should be in their best optimal health before attempting pregnancy. Women of childbearing age should especially be aware of the need for nutrition, vitamin supplementation always, as well as being aware of when they first become pregnant.
When a woman learns that she is pregnant it is important to fortify yourself first and then the baby. It is the same rationale as when on an airplane and the oxygen mask falls down, put on yours first and then the child. If you do not, you die or become compromised and therefore cannot help anyone!