As women, we know already that our health often gets pushed to the back of the queue by the medical profession - and this is never truer than during pregnancy. So often do we have health complaints while growing a human and essentially are told, 'Oh, it's just pregnancy,' and are expected to put up with those ailments and pains.
This book by Emma Brockwell addresses this injustice and talks about all the pains, aches, problems and conditions that pregnancy can bring - and how we shouldn't have to just accept them and put up with the pain or discomfort.
The chapters are broken into four sections:
- Feeling Fit and Well in Pregnancy
- How to Heal From Birth
- Problem Solving (Everything Will Be OK!)
- Strong Mother
Each section features chapters discussing the issues you might encounter during and after pregnancy, what you can do to protect yourself from them, how to help yourself cope, and what you can do to push for real assistance from the health service.
There's a lot of emphasis on your core, and pelvic floor - as there should be, given how vital they are before, during, and after giving birth. We can all probably admit to not paying enough attention to our pelvic floor exercises.
One of the subjects Emma discusses is Pelvic Girdle Pain (used to be known as SPD). When this book dropped through the letterbox, I had just had my 24-week midwife appointment where it was suggested I had PGP, and would be referred to a physio - so the timing for this book was perfect. The book talked about how it was OK to ask for help, and not just accept this as 'part of pregnancy' - there's no reason why we should have to 'just put up' with pain and discomfort. I was emboldened from reading Emma's empassioned and knowledgeable writing, and in fact booked an osteopathy appointment (the NHS physio appointment was over the phone, and frankly, utterly unhelpful). Seeing the osteo and taking my healthcare into my own hands meant my pain diminished by about 90 per cent within two days - yes it cost money, but it was totally worth it, and the osteo also agreed with Emma's approach of not having to just accept pain and 'get on with it'. So, from a personal point of view, thank you Emma!
The problem-solving section is especially helpful, as we don't often know where to turn or who to ask when there is pain, discomfort, or what we consider 'embarrassing' problems related to pregnancy.
The book is a handy place for all these concerns, and as a pregnant woman it was empowering to read all the sections and learn about my body - things that I ought to already know, and, having already had one child, have probably forgotten since my first pregnancy.
I'd recommend this book to anyone embarking on pregnancy, however far along the journey you might be. It's factual, friendly, informative and empowering. I felt stronger having read it, and certainly set out with the intention to do some more pelvic floor exercises.