Monday, March 31, 2014

Reproduction - First Reader

The assigned readings that I am responding to are the article, "Late Pregnancy, Labor Induction, and the Occupy Uterus Movement," and the blog post, "Why do those who advocate home birth feel the way they do?"

A theme in both works seems to be that expecting mothers do not have as much control over their bodies as how it ideally should be. If the woman goes to a hospital for her baby's birth, the staff controls the birthing process through medication. Political interventions may deprive women of choices that affect their reproduction. The baby itself takes control away from the mother, as "the most reliable mechanism to get a baby out, barring complications, is to let the baby come out on its own." (Clancy, 30)

I've watched a lot of television and in the shows, pregnancy is usually depicted as a time where the everyone in the show begins a nine-month-long term of servitude to the expecting mother. The whole -"I'm pregnant and I want lobster within five minutes." followed by "Yes, dear. Will there be anything else, dear?" - sort of thing.

From my experience with various television sitcoms, I was left with an impression that pregnancy liberated the woman. She calls all the shots now and everyone else tries to appease her. I was surprised to read that my preconceived notions of pregnancy were incorrect, as "pregnancy leading to liberation" does not seem to be the case in real life, where pregnant women currently have very little control over their bodies and their situation.


  1. I very much agree with you on the fact that women have little control on their decisions during pregnancy. This is due not only to a controlling population, but also to the fact that women do not have a good enough knowledge about their own health and options, as both the readings you mentioned stated. We as a society have the notion that whatever a doctor tells us is right and one would never think to go against them, especially when it involves something as delicate as the birth of a child. Mothers almost always obey the instructions the doctors or nurse gives them when it comes to the care of their unborn child, because they think they know best. This is seen in the article "Late Pregnancy, Labor Induction, and the Occupy Uterus Movement” when the friend’s husband did not agree to nipple stimulation until the nurse agreed it would work. I myself have seen many examples of mothers-to-be following the orders of doctors. When my cousin was pregnant with her first baby she was having complications and was instructed to be on bed rest for 2 months in order to prevent the baby from coming too soon. Afraid that something would happen to her baby she willingly obeyed and sat on the couch for days. This lasted only for a month before she started getting impatient. She then went on secret walks (if her mom knew she would be dead) to the mall in order to induce labor, however, the baby still took 2 more weeks to come. This proofed that even though the doctor had prescribed bed rest due to high chances of premature labor, the baby had decided to come whenever it wanted regardless of the activity.

    All these examples just show that doctors don’t look at pregnancy as a unique experience for each mother and child, but rather they look at it as a medical phenomenon that can be successful with proper procedures.

  2. Daniel - I think you make a great point about images of pregnancy and labor we have grown up with today. However, as a young girl growing up with these images, I was more terrified to carry and deliver a baby than excited to be doted upon. I think this image and fear of having children stemmed from, as Janell mentioned, lack of proper knowledge about giving pregnancy and birth. I believe that understanding the way your body deals with these functions, and understanding that your body does what it needs to do at the time the baby is ready is an important part of understanding your health when you are carrying a baby to term. While I use the word "natural" lightly, I appreciated the way the video, book, and Professor Clancy's article expressed the importance of letting the baby and your body work together to keep everyone more healthy. In my mind, expectant mothers today arrive at the hospital once their waters have broken, and put their lives and their child;s in the doctor's hands completely. Then, when the doctor does something they do not understand, is too impersonal, or suggests an idea they are unfamiliar with (such as events describes in Occupy Uterus) they may panic, and the birth becomes a more traumatic experience than one of closeness and growth with their baby. I believe it is reasonable for a woman to have a successful delivery with the assistance of drugs, but I believe she is responsible for talking to her doctor about the numerous options, complications, and risks'benefits of anything she may be induced with during her time in a hospital. Ultimately, it is important to understand that it is the fetus who should decide when it is ready to be born.