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New book by RN offers thoughts on having a Common Sense Pregnancy

Avital Norman Nathman is a freelance writer whose work places a feminist lens on a variety of topics, including motherhood, maternal health, gender, and reproductive rights. Her work has been featured in Bitch magazine, Cosmopolitan.com,...

Common Sense Pregnancy: Tips from nurse and author Jeanne Faulkner

Pregnancy can be a wonderful, but confusing time for many women. Everyone has an opinion, old wives' tale or cautionary story to share as soon as your belly starts protruding — whether you welcome them or not. But one woman, nurse and writer Jeanne Faulkner, hopes to put the minds of mothers-to-be at ease with her new book Common Sense Pregnancy: Navigating a Healthy Pregnancy and Birth for Mother and Baby. SheKnows spoke with Faulkner to learn more.

SheKnows: What prompted you to write this book?

Jeanne Faulkner: I had been doling out advice to frightened and confused pregnant women and their partners in my Fit Pregnancy column for years and I had always intended to gather it together in one place. I wanted to rewrite the traditional pregnancy book that's often so dry, polarizing or downright scary and create one that was medically accurate, but a lot more reassuring and friendly. I wanted to create a conversation much like the one I was having online with my readers.

Common Sense Pregnancy: Tips from nurse and author Jeanne Faulkner

Photo credit: Daphne Van Den Heuvel

SK: The market is saturated with books on pregnancy and birth. What makes yours different?

JF: This book is different because it emphasizes the fact that most women are normal, healthy and fine. Sure, 15 percent of women will have some complications, but that means 85 percent won't. Let's support 100 percent of women to have the most appropriate and wellness-based prenatal care so that they're not totally freaked out that they're at risk for all kinds of unlikely complications. The beauty of that is, when all women are supported to be their healthiest, they tend to need less health care, fewer interventions and have better outcomes. The trick is helping women realize that everything is a choice. Most women don't feel that kind of power in their medical relationships. Instead, they feel like their doctor is in charge and they have to do as they're told. That's total B.S. Their doctor is their partner, someone they hire to give them information so they can make their own informed decisions. The other thing I want to get out there is that this book isn't an all-natural tome or an all-medical guide. It's somewhere in the middle — lots of medical information, lots of personal stories, a lot of humor and just a bit of feminist ranting.

SK: What do you hope women and their families will get out of this book?

JF: Most women are going to have healthy pregnancies and they deserve to be treated as healthy women. They need information to make their own health care decisions and those decisions need to be respected. So much of what we do in the health care industry isn't actually about patient care. It's about shoring up the documents to make insurance companies happy or to make sure it will stand up in court in the event of a malpractice suit. Women deserve better. I'm hoping this book helps women and their partners understand the choices a little better so they can make informed decisions.

Jeanne's top three common sense tips for pregnant women

Be informed. Read a lot, take classes and listen to what your health care providers, your mother, your friends and most of all, your body have to say. Then, form your own opinions.

You're the boss of your own health. Your health care providers can give you information, provide services and help you support your health, but they're not in charge of you. Your actual health is up to you and the daily choices you make to eat well, rest well, exercise, ditch bad habits and nurture good ones. You're the boss.

The odds are always in your favor. Don't get too wrapped up in risk assessments and scary stories of what could go wrong during your pregnancy. Deal with what's really happening and chances are good that you and your baby will be fine.

More on pregnancy

Real mums share: Pregnancy's best moments
Old wives' tales that won't be true for your pregnancy
U.K. report shows most pregnancies better off with midwives than ob-gyns

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