Women have been having babies for centuries, but that doesn't mean that their pregnancy and birth experiences are the same. Of course, new moms of today can expect that their nine months will look nothing like what their grandmothers went through, but the truth is that things are even different from as little as 10 years ago.
Things like ultrasounds and maternity wards were game-changers for women several decades ago, but things have also changed in significant ways in just 10 years. For example, doctors know a lot more about how to make the most effective prenatal vitamins and how to deal with vices while pregnant. Moms did things back then that they would advise against today, like skipping the dentist and eliminating fish from their lifestyle, both of which she might regret later on after the birth. Just think about the changes in technology in that time and what it could mean for pregnancy. And moms of 10-year-olds had some surprisingly different things going on in the delivery room, too. It's amazing what a difference a decade can make.
Here are 21 things moms did during pregnancy and after pregnancy 10 years ago (that doctors advise against today).
21 We Wouldn't Want To Take The Prenatal Vitamins They Had 10 Years Ago
It's been about a generation since moms started taking vitamins to help with their nutrition during pregnancy. But the options available to them weren't always the best out there. Doctors would advise against a lot of the ones that were out on the market 10 years ago, or at least have the mom take some additional supplements.
Research in the past few years has clearly linked folic acid with the potential to avoid neural tube defects and other birth defects. And the impact of vitamin D has been further explored as well. The vitamins on the market these days are much better for baby and for mom.
20 Moms Thought Artificial Was Safer
Doctors have stressed the importance of a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy for a long time, but a decade or so ago, some women thought they could work their way around the issue by using some artificial alternatives.
New research, though, has stressed that the things that people used to try to stop their vices can be just as dangerous to a person's health. That's doubly true if there is a baby on board that could be impacted by that choice. Doctors have been warning moms in recent years that it's best to give up their vices instead of trying another potentially toxic alternative.
19 Moms Didn't Have A Right To Refuse
Ten years ago, women were beginning to assert more preferences in their prenatal care and delivery, but often they were in a situation where they didn't have a choice, and that caused anxiety and stress and made some mom distrustful of doctors. Sometimes it caused unsafe things to happen in treatment. But a few years ago, that changed.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued an opinion acknowledging a mother's right to refuse and guiding doctors on how to address the woman's decision in an ethical and respectful manner. There are still some outliers, but the paper encourages doctors to engage patients in decisions, and that is better for everyone.
18 Getting Clean While Pregnant Is Different These Days
Then and now, doctors agreed that the best way that a mom could keep her baby healthy is to avoid getting hooked. But for women who get pregnant after they already have a bad habit, the way that they are treated has changed in recent years.
A decade ago, doctors would put a mom in therapy in an attempt to have the majority of the pregnancy be at a time when she is clean. But research has shown that rapid detoxes can be bad for the baby in utero. So now many doctors allow for monitored usage until after the birth so that the mom and the baby have the best chance.
17 No More Keeping Silent On Depression
The world has come a long way in just a few years when it comes to mental health. Ten years ago, people often felt guilty when they battled any issues like anxiety and depression, and that meant that they would keep their feelings to themselves and maybe make things worse.
Just about all women experience the baby blues in the postpartum period due to hormonal changes, and some moms experience prenatal or postpartum depression, which can be severe. Luckily, the stigma associated with those conditions has gone down a lot. Moms these days can expect more support and have options to help them through the postpartum period.
16 #SelfCare Back Then Unsafe For Baby
Women want to look their best, and when they are pregnant, sometimes the best way to feel a boost is to go to the hair salon. But recommendations on what is safe for the baby have changed during the past decade.
Moms who got their hair colored subjected the baby to harsh chemicals in hair dyes, and a decade ago they used a lot of relaxers. Now, doctors warn against harsh permanent hair treatments in the first trimester, especially, but there are a lot more organic, healthier options these days that can help moms avoid the things that doctors warn against.
15 Moms Used To Skip The Dentist During Pregnancy
Dental health is really important, but when moms were pregnant a decade ago, there were a lot of concerns that going to the dentist could be a problem for the baby, especially if it involved a procedure or an x-ray.
Further research has shown that it's important for women to continue their oral hygiene while pregnant, including getting their regular cleanings every six months. A lot of offices use digital cameras instead of the old school x-rays anyway. Moms tend to have dental issues while pregnant due to the hormonal changes, and they might need to wait until after the first trimester to have a procedure done. But doctors advise against skipping the appointment.
14 Why Googling Symptoms Was A Bad Idea
Moms-to-be have been reading baby books for decades, and sometimes they would get alarmed and call the doctor in the middle of the night. But as more and more got access to the Internet, things got even worse. A decade ago moms were at the heyday of googling symptoms, and that sometimes meant they were self-diagnosing and troubling doctors.
Moms still consult WebMD when they are pregnant and right after having birth, but most of us have gotten better at filtering through the information. They don't get as alarmed and understand more about how they can work with a doctor to make sure the baby is healthy.
13 Birth Plans Became A Barrier
Birth plans were invented with good intentions. But when they became trendy a decade or so ago, they ended up becoming a barrier that many doctors resented. Moms came into the labor room with a design for an ideal birth, and they sometimes ended up disappointed and feeling like a failure if a complication arose.
Since then, many moms have figured out that the best birth plan isn't rigid, especially against epidurals and C-sections. They consider the possibilities and have a plan on how to deal with situations, not just a set of high standards that may never be reached. And for the most part, their expectations are more realistic and the outcome even better.
12 3D Ultrasounds A Big Trend (And Problem) Then
When a new trend comes out, many moms-to-be flock to it. That was true for 3D ultrasounds, a technology that gives moms a more extensive look at the baby than a traditional ultrasound. Whereas the traditional one is better for diagnostics and doctors, the 3D scans are fun, since it can give the mom a chance to see her baby's chubby cheeks.
A decade ago, 3D ultrasounds were all the rage, with many moms paying extra to get the service and create a keepsake. Doctors worry a bit about the radiation that comes from unnecessary ultrasounds, especially considering that some babies need the additional monitoring anyway.
11 Episiotomies Are Rare These Days
There's one part of a woman's birth plan that isn't much of a debate anymore. But a decade ago, a lot of doctors recommended that women have episiotomies to make more room for the baby to get out during a natural delivery. Now, though, doctors advise against it.
There was a debate 10 years ago about whether it was better to let the area down below tear naturally or to do a surgical incision to try to control the damage. But doctors now believe that episiotomies aren't worth it. They do what they can to avoid tearing and, if it happens, stitch the area up the best that they can.
10 The Number Of Prenatal Visits Has Changed
Prenatal care has changed greatly over the past three or four generations, but moms might be surprised to learn that even the number of visits recommended by the World Health Organization has changed just in the last few years.
In 2016, the organization issued 49 recommendations aimed at preventing childbirth deaths. Many of these were directed to third-world countries where prenatal care is lacking, but it advised that women see a doctor at least six times during pregnancy and that at least five of those visits come in the final trimester. Many insurance companies allow for biweekly visits at the beginning of the third trimester with weekly appointments in the final month.
9 What We Now Know About Meds During Pregnancy
Meds have been a concern for pregnant women for decades. But the rules have changed over time, and women who had babies 10 years ago got some different advice that women these days.
For one, a woman with an issue like depression might have been told to get off her meds 10 years ago, while doctors advise that her own mental health is considered today. In addition, headache meds used to be considered safe, but research a few years ago links the meds to kids having behavioral issues. Those are now on the list to avoid, even though doctors weren't concerned about them 10 years ago.
8 Thankful We Don't Deal With This Today
In some ways, the world 10 years ago wasn't unlike today, but thanks to the #MeToo movement, things have changed for a lot of women, and that includes moms-to-be. Moms-to-be might not have faced overt advances like other women in the office, but even in the early 21st century, they faced a lot of uncomfortable comments about their bodies and even how the baby came about at work.
Let's face it; that still happens to a lot of women. But #MeToo moms are more likely to speak up, and business leaders are working harder to ensure a better workplace for women, including moms.
7 Now Calling The Midwife
A few generations ago, having a baby in a hospital was a luxury for rich people. But about 10 years ago, the reverse was true. Just about all births happened in hospitals under the care of the doctor, but now doctors don't necessarily advise that for all women.
If the baby and mother are healthy, more and more women are choosing to have midwives for their care, and many hospitals have midwifery practices in their hospitals, which gives even more options for parents and makes it more accessible for people of all economic levels. An OBGYN or specialist might be required for complications, but many more moms can now call the midwife.
6 No Longer Ignoring The 'Fourth Trimester'
While prenatal care was pretty amazing 10 years ago, that wasn't true for care after the baby. Moms were released from the hospital after the birth and then sent on their way until a checkup about six weeks later. But things are slowly changing, and more moms are receiving treatment during the so-called "fourth trimester."
In 2019, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend an assessment of the physical, social and psychological health of the mom about three weeks postpartum. Not all insurance plans have caught up with the new guidelines, but hopefully, all moms will experience even better care than moms did 10 years ago.
5 A Gender-Neutral Birth Certificate Is Now A Thing
The advent of ultrasounds has meant that moms have been able to learn their baby's gender before birth for a couple of decades now. About 10 years ago, most parents were all for finding out the gender, and they started celebrating it with reveal parties and lots of blue and pink.
Now, though, doctors and psychologists support the idea of gender-neutral parenting, and in some places, they even allow for birth certificates that don't specify gender. This could make it easier for children to explore their own preferences without pressure from the stereotypes that are so prevalent in the world.
4 Social Media Stressing
A decade ago, we were at the dawn of the social media age. Social media pages were just starting to grow beyond the college scene, and moms-to-be were trying to figure out what was appropriate to post in the blogosphere. Missteps caused friendships to end, and women who were posting faced a lot of stress.
Of course, we know that social media can be a huge part of pregnancy these days, with some women posting weekly bump photos and checking for likes. Doctors still advise against letting the stress of social media get to moms, but at least there are more established ideas about what is appropriate and liked.
3 Pregnancy Before CrossFit
There is an old stereotype that a pregnant woman should put her feet up and rest because she is so delicate during pregnancy. The image stuck around for generations, and moms might be surprised by how long it lasted. Even 10 years ago, a lot of women chose to be extra careful during pregnancy to rest.
But doctors advise against that today. They encourage moms to exercise, allowing them to continue their exercise routine or get started on low to moderate exercise. In the age of CrossFit, plenty of pregnant moms lift weights and do miles of cardio, and doctors are definitely on board with being active.
2 Fishy Situation
A healthy lifestyle is important for pregnant women, so moms spend a lot of time planning out their meals, especially since doctors give moms a long list of items that aren't safe to consume during pregnancy. A lot of moms avoided fish 10 years ago because of the worry about mercury poisoning. But doctors have different recommendations today.
Most fish in supermarkets are not a problem at all, although moms should avoid tuna (not the kind in a can), shark, and swordfish. Doctors advise against skipping the other kinds since they are loaded with healthy DHA and other minerals that are positive for the baby's development.
1 A Danger We've Worked Hard To Since Eliminate
For more than a decade, parents and teachers have stressed the dangers of bullying in schools. But it took a little longer for those lessons to get around to the adults. And the strong opinions on pregnancy and parenting issues exacerbated the issue, leaving moms-to-be facing a lot of criticism and bullying.
In recent years, though, moms have talked more about supporting each other. While some people still judge decisions on the birth, breastfeeding, and other topics, most keep the focus on understanding that a mom works hard and has a right to her opinions, as long as she is doing her best for her baby.