Any woman who has experienced pregnancy should be mystified by the sheer science of it all. But really, everyone should be amazed. Journalist Angela Garbes set out to find strictly scientific information about pregnancy after going through it herself. It really is a biological miracle and any pregnancy that makes it past the implantation stage only does so because so many things go right inside of the body. Garbes' new book Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy explores these scientific revelations.
Garbes has two children and she began seeking answers about pregnancy after having her first child four years ago. However, she wasn't looking for the normal answers given by most mommy sites and doctors. She wanted the nitty-gritty of how her body created a baby.
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Garbes appeared on NPR's Fresh Air to discuss her new book. She talked about the placenta, breast milk, and her own birth story. The placenta really is a fascinating part of the pregnancy process because it is considered an organ. It's an organ that grows and appears only in pregnancy, and serves as a link between mother and child. The placenta is deeply connected to the mother's blood supply and will draw nutrients from the mother's blood to give to the baby. It also acts as the baby's organs before the baby develops their own.
Many also don't know that once one gives birth to their baby, they must also birth the placenta, which leads to more contractions, pain, and pushing. The placenta stops growing around the 32nd week of pregnancy and then ages, so it has to go.
Her research and chapter on breastmilk is also fascinating. She learned that breastmilk contains microbes that are made to seal the intestinal tract and promote the immune system in babies.
Garbes went on to share her own relatable birth stories. Both of her labors ended in unplanned c-sections. The first was because her labor was not progressing naturally. She went through four days of contractions before coming to find out that her bladder was blocking the baby...or her baby was blocking her bladder. So she had a c-section.
Her second child wasn't head down at 36 weeks but was able to be turned. She went into labor within 24 hours and again, her labor stalled and didn't progress leading to c-section number two. A c-section is major abominable surgery and many layers need to be cut through in order to get a baby out. It is a hard and painful recovery.
Pregnancy is really a crazy biological process that many don't know much about, despite its prevalence. This book sounds like a must-read for all moms who want to know everything about pregnancy.
What surprised you about pregnancy? What would you tell a new mom experiencing pregnancy for the first time? Let us know in the comments!
Like A Mother: A Feminist Journey Through The Science And Culture Of Pregnancy will be released on May 29th.