By Hannah Mearns
Sometimes it feels like trust in birth is at an all-time low here in the UK. Every week there seems to be a news item that gives parents-to-be new guidance, and none of it is good. There might be an article covering research that shows that labour should be induced at 39 weeks or another TV report that tells us that staffing levels are at an all-time low.
The overall message for a nervous mum-to-be? You should be worried about what you’re about to experience. You’ll need all the help you can get.
This makes me so sad. Honestly it does. It’s like setting ourselves up for a massive fall. If you start your birth from a place of fear, that can only get worse as labour progresses. And why start there? What purpose does fear serve? For any of us?
So instead, to balance this less productive mindset, let’s consider 5 amazing facts about our wonderful bodies that show just how incredible they really are.
- Superwoman levels of oestrogen
A pregnant woman makes more oestrogen during her pregnancy than she does in the rest of her life. Oestrogen is the growth hormone. During the first trimester it helps grow the placenta, improves the transfer of nutrients through the umbilical cord and fuels the very rapid development of the tiny foetus. Later in pregnancy, you’ll see its wonderful effects in your strong nails, glowing skin and lush hair. It literally makes everything renew and flourish.
- If you have a girl, you’re carrying two generations
You may not have thought of this incredible fact before. Are you over 30? Perhaps you might have heard the slightly depressing fact that women are born with only a certain number of eggs. You have all you will ever have when you’re born. Flip this around though, as I do now, and consider instead that if you have a little girl, you have also just been responsible for growing your grandchildren. Of course, she will have to decide to have them, but they are there all the same! Tiny eggs in her tiny ovaries, waiting to grow and ripen.
- Your brain becomes more like a mother’s
As any mother can attest, your brain really does rearrange itself to adapt to its new role. Somehow, from somewhere, you find some superpowers which give you the ability to remember all the doctors appointments, pack baby bags each day and still manage to eat/wash/talk to non-parents. The other incredible thing? Your brain prunes away the clutter it doesn’t need to allow you to become more empathetic, a change which will never reverse. Baby brain doesn’t sound so bad after all.
See next page for 2 more incredible facts…plus a bonus one for the dads!