Friday, November 2, 2007

Photo Friday & Maternity Forms

Super Home Health Nurse!, originally uploaded by TilleyShots.

Isn’t this great? It’s a postcard I received at my first midwife visit. If you want to meet your home health nurse who will be providing all of your in-home well-baby visits before your baby is born, you fill out the back and mail it in. The graphic cracks me up every time.

This is one piece of a fairly significant amount of literature I received from my midwife yesterday. At my first OB visit in the States back when I was pregnant with John I received a little booklet on pregnancy that looked like it had been written in 1984. Lot’s of big, permed hair and so forth.

The Danish counterpart is another small booklet filled with colored pictures of ultrasounds, in utero pictures of babies at different stages of gestation, fitness instructions and side shots of the same very naked woman as her belly grew throughout her pregnancy. The Danes, shall we say, are a little less modest than Americans and a bit freer with their bodies. And that was certainly reflected in the rest of the pamphlets I was given.

A short review:

  • A basic black and white piece about the different places you can choose to birth your baby described here.
  • A short piece on homebirth.
  • A pamphlet for the breastfeeding mother with a picture of a tiny newborn fast asleep on her mother’s very exposed nipple.
  • A pamphlet on breastfeeding for fathers.
  • A pamphlet on breastfeeding for grandparents.
  • A pamphlet on breastfeeding for families.
  • A full color pamphlet on chemicals you should avoid while pregnant, like paint fumes.
  • A piece of paper with the hospital’s visiting hours for non-immediate family members. They are quite limited by American standards (4:00PM-5:00PM, and 7:00PM – 8:00PM) and the midwife explained that they strive to keep that time protected for the family as they learn to nurse and generally bond with their new baby.
  • A full color pamphlet titled “When 2 Become 3” which tells you what to expect your sex life to be like during and after pregnancy. It had this great graphic of a egg and sperm uniting. It definitely made me realize that there is part of me that still hasn't advanced beyond a 13-year-old maturity level given the time I spent giggling over that piece.
  • A full color pamphlet on exercise, diet and weight gain during pregnancy.

In addition to my four pamphlets on breastfeeding, I was also given a sheet to fill out that my postnatal hospital nurses will be looking for regarding my breastfeeding plans. It asks questions like, “Do you plan to breastfeed?,” “Does your spouse/boyfriend support your plans to breastfeed?,” “Did you have any problems nursing any previous children?” "What questions about breastfeeding do you hope to have answered?" etc. I had heard that the Danes promote breastfeeding quite a bit but am still surprised by how much thought and support seemingly go into it. I was trying to find some recent, comparative breastfeeding data between Denmark and the United States and the best I could find were two studies from 1993-1994 that found that after three months 60 percent of Danish mothers were still exclusively breastfeeding their children while only 27 percent of American mothers were doing the same [WHO]. I know breastfeeding is much more culturally accepted here - as in you won't get kicked out of the Danish version of Applebees for nursing your baby - but wow.

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