Doctors and Hospital Midwives Need to Stop Bullying Pregnant Women During Prenatal "Care"

photo by Jennifer Margulis

Though everything I read (and everyone I talked to) promised morning sickness would subside at the end of the first trimester, at 24 weeks pregnant with my first baby I was still feeling miserably nauseous.

I was at a prenatal visit. The hospital midwife told me I must take a glucose tolerance test.

Just the idea of drinking a sickeningly sweet sugar solution that contained 50 grams of glucose made me gag.

I explained to the nurse midwife insisting on the test that since the beginning of my pregnancy I had been really sensitive to sugar. Her eyes looked bored as I told her that after reading up on nutrition, I was eating whole grains. My diet consisted of brown rice, whole wheat bread with no sugar added (I’d started reading ingredient labels), lots of fresh vegetables (I’d make James get up with me in the middle of the night when I was so sick to my stomach but paradoxically hungry that I couldn’t sleep. James would sit with me while I ate a plate of raw broccoli, pineapple, and green beans), fruit, plain yogurt, nuts, beans, and fish or red meat when I craved it, even though I’d been a vegetarian before getting pregnant.

I wasn’t eating any sugar, I told her. I was even avoiding overripe fruit.

I also explained I’d had low blood sugar all my life, and that I needed to eat small amounts of food often to keep my blood sugar even.

Granted I was feeling particularly vulnerable and emotional because of pregnancy hormones, but the idea of intentionally spiking my blood sugar and bringing on an inevitable crash made no sense to me.

If a woman develops diabetes during pregnancy the baby can get dangerously large because it is getting more sugar than it needs. But my fundal height—the top of the uterus to the top of the pelvic bone—had been measuring just right. I had even lost weight in the first trimester.

There was no indication that our baby was abnormally big, I had no diabetes in my family. At that time, gestational diabetes only occurred in about three to four percent of pregnancies. I was low-risk and I did not want the test.

The nurse midwife responded I would need to go on a sugar-restricted diet if the test showed I had gestational diabetes.

“But I’m already on a sugar-restricted diet!” I objected.

“You’re going to buy yourself a C-section,” she huffed. “Is that what you want?”

Years later I read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. Ina May talks about how unreliable the gestational diabetes test is, explaining that fifty to seventy percent of women will have a different result if they are retested.

The best way for a pregnant woman to bring down her blood sugar levels, Ina May Gaskin writes, is to get up and exercise.

After that upsetting exchange with the nurse midwife, we switched to the doctors in the mistaken belief they would be more competent and logical.

Towards the end of my pregnancy, after spending less than ten minutes with us, the doctor ordered an emergency sonogram.

“For intrauterine growth retardation,” she said offhandedly. “You’re measuring too small.”

I think doctors forget how upsetting the word “retardation” is to a pregnant woman.

I looked at her in confused shock.

After six and a half months of nausea, I felt so good I had started biking long distances every day on the bike path that cut across downtown Atlanta, fast.

“Could I be measuring small because I’ve been exercising?” I asked. One friend who had taken up running during pregnancy told me she had measured small, and I remembered reading that athletes who continued to train during pregnancy tended to have small babies.

“Not a chance,” the doctor said, hurrying away to “help” another patient.

In the waiting room, I couldn’t stop crying. James and I clung to each other. We barely spoke but the worry on our faces belied what we were both thinking: What if there was something wrong with the baby we both wanted so badly and had waited our whole lives to have?

After twenty-five minutes, our name was finally called. The sonogram tech snapped on her latex gloves and squeezed blue goop on my abdomen with the air of someone who knew exactly what she was doing. She looked at my tear-stained face and softened. Then she clucked her teeth in disapproval as she looked at the screen.

“Everything’s fine,” she dismissed. “Baby looks perfect. Nothing to worry about. Now get dressed and go on home.”

Doctors and other care providers want you to do things their way. But often their way is based on habit, fear of liability, or expediency. Unlike homebirth midwives, obstetricians almost never request their patients keep a food and exercise log. They almost never take 45-minutes to review the foods you’ve eaten in the past week, counsel you on good nutrition, and strategize on how best to exercise during your pregnancy. And also unlike homebirth midwives, obstetricians usually don’t know any more about nutrition than you do.

Most doctors practice what one obstetrician I interviewed recently called “reactive instead of proactive medicine.” (Unlike his colleagues, this doctor uses a homebirth midwifery model to interact with his clients.) There is a profound lack of logic in reacting to problems after they arise instead of preventing them in the first place. Yet if the patient rejects a routine test or suggests an alternative strategy, no matter how logical the objection is for this particular case, many pregnancy health care providers will use scare tactics and bullying to try to force the patient to change her mind. They’ll accuse you of being irresponsible, become angry at what they perceive to be your lack of intelligence, label you a problem patient, and tell you, “Don’t do it my way and your baby will die.”

(Doctor and nurse midwife friends who are reading this, this post is not about you. This is a post about your colleagues who have probably treated you the same way when you disagreed with their professional opinion.)

If we had a healthcare system based on good health and good outcomes, instead of good profit margins, our doctor might have taken the time to involve us in the conversation. “I’m surprised by your small measurements,” she could have said. “At this juncture I’d recommend an ultrasound to make sure everything is okay. What do you think?” Probably James and I would have agreed to what turned out to be a completely unnecessary scan. But as partners in health, we could have done it willingly and without the overwhelming and unfounded fear.

Doctors and nurse midwives, it’s time to remember that your pregnant patients are just as intelligent as you are and know just as much, if not more, about their bodies as you do.

It’s time to stop the bullying.

It’s time to start treating pregnant women with dignity and respect.

Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D., is a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University. She is the editor of Toddler and co-author of The Baby Bonding Book for Dads. Her most recent book, The Business of Baby: What Doctors Don’t Tell You, What Corporations Try to Sell You, and How to Put Your Baby Before Their Bottom Line, was published by Scribner in April 2013. Read a Q & A with Jennifer at the Oregonian’s Oregon News Network.

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Categories: pregnancy and childbirth.

Comments

  1. I whole-heartedly agree with you. I saw my share of OBs who treated me very poorly, and indeed this happens throughout the medical profession, not just in OB. If they could just treat you like a person instead of a problem or an annoyance (which is what I often feel like), it would all go much better. As a plus-size mom, I heard about my weight throughout my pregnancies. Endlessly. Studies show plus-size moms can gain no or little weight in pregnancy, but that was NOT how my body was handling the pregnancy and I didn’t need to be treated like a criminal. I used to not eat the day of my appt so I would weigh less!

  2. And yet according to the CDC, planned homebirth with a non-nurse midwife has a neonatal mortality rate more than 600% higher than comparable risk hospital births. That’s probably because homebirth”midwives,” Ina May included, are lay people who awarded themselves a pretend midwifery credential. Homebirth midwives have literally no idea what they are talking about. They just make it up as they go along.

    It amazes me that women who claim to be “educated” about childbirth choose providers who aren’t even required to have a high school diploma.

    • Rachel

      That must be why when one of our local CPMs attends hospital births as a doula she occasionally has doctors and CNMs ask her what she would do in a situation and then provide care based on that suggestion. I have much more respect for a doctor and the amount of time they’ve put into their training when they admit they don’t know everything and are willing to learn from patients and other care providers with different training experiences. Given that 2/3 of the routine and recommended practices put out by ACOG are not backed by adequate research I’d say there’s definitely room for an openness to learning.

      Amazing that a woman who has been practicing and learning for 40+ years is just a lousy lay person but you, who stopped practicing medicine years ago get to tout your M.D. title and all the authority that supposedly goes along with it.

    • Kelly McCoy

      It strikes me that you are the one who has literally no idea what you are talking about. Have you ever actually spoken in person with a homebirth midwife? I’m guessing not.

      I gave birth in a home with the aid of a midwife, and she was most certainly not making it up as she went; she was working on having helped birth over six hundred babies. She supported and nurtured me during the months before and after my birth. In comparison, I also attended a ‘regular’ doctor, as I had good health insurance and wanted to have official medical records available just in case I did end up at the hospital, and he was the most disinterested, useless person I could imagine. He provided me with no information or support, merely took my measurements every two weeks.

      Finally, there is very little one learns in high school which applies to the act of birthing, and your comment that these are uneducated, conniving women is frankly insulting. You should do some research before you make such broad, ignorant statements.

      • Kelly McCoy

        p.s I hope it is clear that I am responding to Amy Tuteur, I am not sure I hit the right button!

    • Phyllis

      Amy, are you allowed to say you are an “MD” if you aren’t even practicing? I always think there is a place for Western medicine and appreciate when my doctor give me FACTS not OPINIONS.

      It amazes me that people birthed before there were “Doctors.” Baby Jesus and Cleopatra were born with those in attendance who didn’t even have a high school diploma. Imagine that?

      We have to respect that everyone has a right to refuse medical care. We also need to remember that ways that are different from our own are not wrong. They are, just that, different. And it is fine.

    • Sarah DeLong

      @ Amy Tuteur
      You said, “It amazes me that women who claim to be “educated” about childbirth choose providers who aren’t even required to have a high school diploma.”
      Hmm, I guess that must be why 3 labor/delivery nurses at Marin General Hospital have had home births. (You know, Marin General, in Marin county, which has the highest income per capita in the US and is home to some very smart people who know how to get what they want)

      You said, “Homebirth midwives have literally no idea what they are talking about. They just make it up as they go along.”
      Hmm, I guess that the over 1000 births my home birth midwife had attended prior to attending mine gave her no experience to speak of.

      Amy, I’m wondering, how many NORMAL births did you attend before you were allowed to practice on your own? My OB friend said she saw zero during her surgical residency. She only saw the ones with complications. Which makes sense b/c OBs are surgeons and taught SURGERY, which is only needed in cases of complications. Not cases where everything is normal.

      Also, I’m not sure where you’re getting your data. According to this website, (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db84.htm), “Home births have a lower risk profile than hospital births”.

      And according to this one, (http://wonder.cdc.gov/controller/datarequest/D69)
      In 2007 the following were the infant death rates (first 27 days of life) per 1000:
      In Hospital w/ CNM: 1.25
      Not in Hospital w/ CNM: 1.37

      In Hospital w/ MD: 4.64
      Not in Hospital w/ MD: 26.43

      In Hospital w/ Midwife: 2.09
      Not in Hospital w/ Midwife: 2.76

      Hmm, it sure seems like those MD attended births have MUCH better rates than the others.

      I’m a Yale educated woman and I chose midwife-attended home births for both my daughters who are still very much alive.

    • Tamera English Everett RNc-OB

      600% increase in infant mortality, really, Amy? Please find and link me to this CDC finding, as this is a search that ends in absolutely nothing for me each time I type in the tags. I am an RN (L&D nurse x 22years, formally) and was a Direct Entry midwife for 12 years, having trained at a Birth Center in 1979-1980. I had superlative outcomes (4% c/s rate and no, these babies did NOT ride the Short Bus to school due to my academic deficits) for over 1,000 births at home. No one had PIH (pregnancy-induced hypertension), no meconium aspiration.. Granted, risk assessment DID weed out the people with potential poor health issues and the ones seeking a “cheaper” delivery.
      I find your flippant comments highly offensive and bordering on slander. I understand there ARE some bad practitioners: I seem them in action daily, as I work at a teaching hospital and they let the Residents loose on these unsuspecting moms who are under the impression these are fully trained MDs assisting them when, in fact, they “catch” a maximum of 25 babies during their residency, fewer, still are Continuity Patients: ones they follow from start-to-finish.
      Please research the philosophy of Midwifery-based care. It is not fear-based, pathology-based or “routine” intervention-based. It is based on physiology, support of the natural process and anticipation of potential complications. I find allopathic medicine CREATES problematic situations that the young, healthy pregnant body has the ability to overcome, by and large! Those who can’t get their c/sections at 5 or 10pm! What a shame (and sham!) the US Obstetrical system has become.
      Tamera English Everett RNc-OB
      Reference
      WHO Info: http://www.euro.who.int/en/what-we-do/data-and-evidence/health-evidence-network-hen/publications/pre2009/what-is-the-efficacyeffectiveness-of-antenatal-care

    • Serena

      Some CPMs attend 3 year program at schools, like the Florida School of Traditional Midwifery, where they are trained to be highly educated birth professions.

  3. Jenny

    I was once at a birth where the woman was “overdue” by a week and the doctors made her come in for daily non-stress tests even though she had no risk factors. They detected on the monitor that she was having contractions and ordered her to go immediately to the hospital and check in, though she wasn’t feeling these contractions. When she questioned why she would need to go to the hospital now, when she obviously wasn’t “in labor,” the nurse looked at her and barked, “What? You want your baby to die?” We were all so shocked. It was really ridiculous- her fluid levels were good, her baby’s heart rate was variable and good, she was a healthy first time mom a week past her due date. It was bullying and it was very sad and scary; when you trust your care provider, what happens if you don’t agree with them but their words and opinions are powerful because you DO want to make the right choices? Who can you turn to?

  4. Jenny

    And we don’t really need to respond to the previous commenter about midwives not knowing what they are doing and “making it up as they go along.” Don’t take the bait. Luckily, it’s my choice who I want to birth with and not her’s.

  5. Angela

    Tsk tsk Amy. “Homebirth midwives have literally no idea what they are talking about.” All of them? Or only those who don’t meet your credentialing standard? Because if you’re going to make blanket statements then CNMs no matter of location of practice also don’t know what they’re talking about and someone should tell those passing out their credentials that they’re really just pretend.

  6. Hey there – I worked in a hospital for a while and it was often disappointing to see how docs/nurses treated patients. There were many caring docs/ nurses who were amazing and caring and tireless at a very difficult job and yet there were some who were so callous and disrespectful. And there is so much power in simple kindness.
    Kathy Morelli, LPC (@KathyAMorelli) recently posted…BirthTouch® Book Proofs Have Arrived this Weekend!My Profile

  7. Erin

    After having a wonder home birth I went back to my original hospital provider for a check up and she told me that she had a home birth too! So home birth midwives are not the only ones who do t know what they are doing. I was amazed and confirmed that if a hospital midwife chose a home birth for herself that it must be what’s best for some. Amy You sound like the one making thing up now!

  8. This sounds SO familiar. I also have blood sugar problems, was bullied into taking the glucose test, and when i got false results (i know i wasn’t diabetic, i had NO symptoms, i was way underweight while pregnant, measuring normally, etc.) they wanted me to do the extra crazy one, where you dont’ eat for like 24 hours and then take 70 grams of sugar in one go…i was like no fucking way!! so they made me go to diabetes class and get a blood sugar moniter and check my blood sugar constantly for weeks. then tried to force me to continue doing it even though i couldn’t afford the $50 test strips! They sent me to a dietitian who knew NOTHING about gluten free, and only had fake plastic foods to demonstrate serving sizes, and couldn’t tell me in plain terms how much to eat. it was pathetic. I will not be going through any of this crap again in the future. i also with the bullying would stop. even if you’re like me, and you get fed up and finally defend yourself, you shouldn’t feel like you’re on the defensive with yoru doctor. how does that build trust? i want someone who’s got my personal health in mind, and is happy for me that i’m having a baby. not some arsehole who’s gonna tell me that gaining 6 lbs in a month is WAY too much. Especially when my BMI is 19 at 7mos. pregnant (should be like, 24 or something.)
    Jillian recently posted…Don’t just stand there! How are you *actually* supposed to stand?My Profile

  9. MonaLS

    I think you need to listen and understand where these health professionals are coming from. They have your best interests at heart. Your healthy diet does not preclude you having or developing gestational diabetes. Contrary to popular belief, sugar does not cause diabetes. If you have gestational diabetes, one of the things you will need to keep track of are carbohydrate sources like brown rice.

  10. As a pediatrician I’ve stood by a lot of deliveries and usually I was there because there was some level of concern for the baby. I have to admit healthcare providers can be a little controlling (been there, done it) especially when the stakes are high (a newborn’s life). And of course there’s always the shadow of a malpractice lawyer standing in the corner, distorting the relationships. But lets be honest – worried parents can also be acting more with their emotions that there brains at times, and that is not always in the baby’s best interest either. The solution is not to retreat into our respective camps. Having watched thousands of deliveries, I know that most of the obstetricians and midwives out there are highly skilled, compassionate and respectful. And most parents want only what is best for the child. We need to communicate better when things are just fine, like early in the pregnancy. And we – caregivers and patients – have to respect the fact that we are going to disagree at times. The bottom line is not a doctor’s ego or, quite frankly, avoiding making the mother frightened. The bottom line is a healthy baby delivered in the most positive environment possible.
    If we have reasonable, mature expectations of each other, there is no reason this can’t happen. In fact it happens all the time.

  11. Not sure what kind of doctors you see, but I have always had just the care you describe. Doctors who have talked to me about what’s going on and why they are concerned. As far a GD go I have to say you were not eating a diet that you would have received if you were diagnosed with GD. Believe me, I’ve had it twice. You would have been told to eat several small meals a day with the whole grains, but your evening snack should have been full of protein. The only concern with GD is not a large baby and that’s not an indication of GD. As a matter of fact my first two pregnancies without GD my children were over a pound larger than my two last pregnancies with GD. However, the two children I had where I was diagnosed with GD my children had problems with their own sugar after birth that my older two didn’t have. My doctor wanted to know what I was eating and we worked together to figure out why my numbers would spike at certain times so I could avoid those things and avoid insulin. Maybe the issue is we really need to interview our doctors more BEFORE we go to them for prenatal care and get to know them. Because after all a doctor that I adore another person could just not mesh with. And maybe doctors wouldn’t be so concerned with missing stuff and lawsuits if people would stop suing over every little thing. We can’t be upset with how doctors react when we have spent years grooming them to react this way.
    Monica recently posted…Cloth Diapering 102: Use And CareMy Profile

  12. Diana, RN

    I agree with Maggie and Monica. I’ve worked with thousand of MDs, RNs, etc in a large teaching hospital. Each one had been thoroughly trained to respect the patients right of autonomy. If a doctor suggests a test, med or study and the patient refused, fine but the risks were laid out on the table. I’ve personally refused a multitude of tests or meds from my doctors and I wasn’t bashed or bullied. I think this article is very biased and fails to take into account the doctors and nurses who work so hard everyday to improve patients lives. It seems like we have all run into a doctor or nurse who should have bit their tongue, but I’m not going to write a hate filled blog about it including all healthcare providers in general.

  13. Natalie B.

    To defend the doctors and nurses in this scenario, I’d argue that they are likely guilty of something that most people are guilty of: they prefer their own method of doing things over others’ methods. I think that most of us have seen this in our relationships with our partners, parents, friends and co-workers. That being said, I think that there is a certain amount of ego involved when doctors and patients butt heads, and this is compounded by an inability or an unwillingness to invest the amount of time needed for a really productive discussion. My own anecdote comes from the birth of my second daughter. My first was 8lbs 3oz at 41 weeks. My second was 8lbs 8oz at 40 weeks and one day. Without giving a reason (except a brief mention of her weight, I think) we were told that we would need to monitor her blood sugar over the next day or so, and this would involve testing it three times. I wondered at the time why my older daughter didn’t “have” to go through this when their weights were so similar. I have since concluded (on my own, because no one in the hospital actually discussed this with me) that they must have some kind of weight/gestational weeks math formula that they apply. My younger daughter was 5oz heavier but “on time” while the elder was lighter and “late”. I never believed for an instant that this was necessary, and when the first test showed absolutely normal blood sugar, why did we need the second? And when the second was completely normal, why did we need the third? Maybe there’s a reason, but no one told me. They simply stated that this would be a procedure we would be performing. There was no real acquisition of consent, no background given, no pros or cons discussed. Did they even know that I had already birthed one perfectly healthy 8lb baby? Did they ask? My husband and I may have indeed consented to the tests after a discussion. The point is, there was no discussion. Too frequently there is no discussion. The medical establishments simply puts into motion procedures that they deem necessary and that’s that.

  14. You make a good point here. In some ways, medical care, especially in hospitals, is done by algorithms. If the baby has this, (a certain birthweight ?) then you must do this (blood glucose x3). This trend towards standardization robs doctors and patients alike of one of the most valuable things a doctor can offer – an individualized therapeutic decision. It will be a real challenge for doctors to retain their role in decision making as we go forward with standards of care and quality measures in health care delivery. We don’t want to fall back on “cook book medicine.”
    Maggie Kozel, MD recently posted…Re: The scope of the standard of care in medicine has changedMy Profile

  15. Heather

    You and I were in the same boat, food-wise, when pregnant! I also have very low blood sugar, have to eat every two to three hours, and don’t eat any sugar, honey, etc. (including overripe fruit!) I had a hard time with grains, even. I was nauseous through trimesters one and three, and had to be meticulous about food, munching on celery and nut butter in the middle of the night. I also avoided the glucose test. I told them I was corn intolerant, which is true, and the darn thing is made entirely of corn syrup. Which, by the way, is probably made with GMO corn, which has shown organ failure in mice. So. There’s that. Anyway, I found it interesting that we’re both hypoglycemic and had to follow similar diets while pregnant.

  16. runthegamut

    The bullying and scare tactics don’t stop with the birth. My first birth wasn’t what I expected, but technically, my baby and I were both healthy. Because of this, I had hopes of going home at 24 hours. The pediatrician came in, told my husband and me that our son had lost 4% of his weight, 10% meant brain damage, and there was no way he could in good conscience let us leave. That was the only time we saw him that day. Every time after that, whenever someone came in, we asked what would happen to our baby, what should be done to prevent brain damage, and more than one nurse blew us off as typical freaked out first-time parents. The next day, the ped came back and said he’d only let us leave if I agreed to a check up the next day, at 9:00. A nurse came in to go over paperwork and said our appointment was at 9:15. When I asked the ped about the difference, he said he told us that so we wouldn’t be late. I’d had it with this presumptuous so-and-so, and did what it took to get out of his sight. The next day, through a glitch we ended up seeing him at the check up, where everything looked fine. When we asked once more about the brain damage, he was dismissive, said the baby was never in any real danger, and he was only concerned I’d give up breastfeeding. Now, I’m all for breastfeeding, but that was criminal.

    Several years later, I read OB myths vs research realities, and learned how much water weight babies can gain during labor, especially with pitocin. Then they lose the weight they gained only during labor, which looks like they are losing too much. I saw red and vowed I’d never have dealings with those people again.

  17. Katherine Lacaze

    I absolutely have to agree with Diana. This article just comes off as a biased attack. As someone who knows several health care professionals personally, I know they often have patients’ best interests at heart. And I disagree that the average person knows as much about his or her body as health care professionals. That might be true some times, but I think we ought to have respect for these individuals who go to school for sometimes up to 8 years, not including residency. Maybe this author was trying to make a distinction, but she failed miserably, instead attacking a large group of people and coming off as a know-it-all. Another thing, I was disappointed that she would make such claims and recommendations with little facts to back up them up. I’m all for opinions and inductive reasoning, but not when it is void of fact and based merely on personal opinion.

  18. Katy

    I see the same thing happening to absolutely ALL the mothers in my life, all with many different Doctors in different practices. I can’t help but think that something wrong is going on lately with prenatal healthcare. Something has to be done to stop this disgusting trend.

    God abundantly bless all of you in healthcare who actually DO care for the people you come across! I know there are many, many of you who care, but unfortunately, a large percentage that I personally have come to know of have NOT been the best.

    Listen to this little story:
    My mother’s doctor kept insisting that she abort her baby because they believed she/he would come with a disease due to her age. They exhibited a total disregard to her feelings and her beliefs, and to the fact that the baby was PERFECTLY FINE and passed every single one of the tests they made her go through — with flying colors. Even then, they said that she was putting her child at risk, and that it would be irresponsible to let this child live with a disease. (What? Eugenics much?)

    After they finally took a hint, the next guilt trip came in the form of “If you don’t take this test, you are a horrible mother and you are killing your baby.”

    I’d laugh if the topic wasn’t so horrifying. They pretended to care for the baby more than the mother! So manipulative. One day, they want to kill the baby, and the next moment they think the mother is the irresponsible killer?

    You hit the nail on the head. I’m not accusing all Doctors and Nurses, etc. Far from it! But unfortunately, so many of them bully and force mothers into completely unnecessary and even risky tests. I hear/read about this everywhere I look.
    They force mothers to have unnecessary caesareans. The simplest questions and even a hint of disagreement get them uneasy and they turn on the vulnerable mothers like ravenous wolves. I, my family, and all the mothers that I know and their families are witnesses to this.

    One of our family friends was told her baby will certainly develop down syndrome if she doesn’t take that ridiculous glucose test! Her blood levels are fine and she is showing absolutely no signs of having diabetes. Her family has no history. She hasn’t taken it yet, but I know a mother who was bullied into taking the test by instilling fear and guilt. Of course the results were totally off, and they forced her to prick her fingers several times a day. Every single prick gave a PERFECT number. However, if she didn’t continue doing that, or if she refused to take another unnecessary ultrasound (almost every week), they would continually HOUND her on the phone and bully her during visits. Every ultrasound, every prick of the finger, EVERYTHING, resulted in perfect results. And yet, the bullying would happen if she refused further tests.

    The Doctors we’ve come in contact with acted as if their patients possess zero intelligence, that we cannot look up legitimate facts for ourselves, and that we have no other (more reasonable) professionals to consult with. More importantly, they tell the outright lie that we have no right to refuse their consultation. WORST of all, they tell Mothers who stand up for themselves to never, ever come back to their practice again.

    Note: can you believe a Doctor expressing surprise at the well known fact that running strengthens your heart and therefore may result in low blood pressure levels, and that it is a very good thing?

    So yes, I agree that we as individuals are capable of knowing more about our bodies than some Doctors do, despite all their years of study and practice. Sometimes, things slip by in grad school. Often, people in healthcare are so engrossed in an area that they forget some of the basics. I simply wish that more doctors would respect their patients’ opinions.

  19. I just read this post today. Re the comment above, that the bullying and scare tactics don’t stop with birth — I agree. Try homeschooling. ;)

    Ok, that was said in jest, but it’s true. Anytime you announce your plan to step outside of the mainstream, someone will tell you why you’re wrong and how you’re endangering your family or child. So do your research. Look at all sides of the issue. Then, stand firm in your choices and reasoning, find others who will support you, and be willing, always, to change and adapt as the situation changes.

  20. I gave birth in 1971, & the experience that I had put me right off having any more children. People, ( not just medical professionals), seem to think that once a woman becomes pregnant she stops being human.

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