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Kip Kozlowski on Being Pregnant
Kip Kozlowski, RN has been caring for pregnant women and new mothers for more than 20 years. She is a certified nurse-midwife and founder of the Greenhouse Birth Center in Okemos, MI, which provides midwifery and birth services, as well as support groups and childbirth education classes. Co-author of The Everything Health Guide to Postpartum Care, a comprehensive guide on preparing for and enjoying motherhood, Kozlowski offers her ideas on enjoying your pregnancy.
What are some common questions or worries women have during the first 30 days of enjoying their pregnancies?
“Oh my, what have we done?”—whether the baby was planned or not! If the baby wasn’t planned, of course, they wonder, “Now what?”
Moms often wonder if they did anything that was bad for the baby before they found out they were pregnant. They may wonder if they’re really cut out for pregnancy and motherhood. They’ll also wonder when they should start prenatal care and with whom.
Of course, they also worry about miscarrying, the baby’s health and their own health; especially if they’ve had problems with pregnancy in the past, or if other women close to them have experienced a miscarriage or other pregnancy problem.
How can women work to overcome or prevent these worries and fears from overwhelming them, so they can enjoy their pregnancies?
Women need to educate themselves about their choices. They need to surround themselves with people they trust who will be happy for them and tell them positive things. They also need to take good care of themselves—eat well, stay away from negative or fearful people, get enough rest and stop any behaviors that are unhealthy for themselves and their babies, like smoking.
They should also start looking for a birthplace and provider that will give them the best odds for the kind of care they want. Doing so can help ease a lot of fears about how their birth experience will go and make them less fearful overall.
What are some of the most important things women can do to prepare themselves for a happy and peaceful pregnancy?
Besides taking good care of herself—which in turn takes care of your baby—there are a few great things a pregnant woman can do. She can find a community of positive, like-minded women, accept help when she needs it and try body-positive activities like pregnancy yoga or belly dance.
How can a woman have a happy pregnancy even when dealing with the more negative aspects?
They should make an effort to filter out the negative stories other women will try to tell them about pregnancy and birth, while seeking out positive stories. It’s hard to enjoy your pregnancy when all you hear or read is other people talking about how miserable it is!
What can women do to continue to cherish and appreciate the experience of pregnancy beyond the first 30 days?
Take time to focus on your body and its amazing creation! Meditate, read to your baby and take lots of pictures of your belly as it changes. Keep a journal to record the changes in your body and write letters to your baby about your hopes and dreams for him or her. Make a plaster cast of your belly as a pregnancy keepsake—you can find instructions on About.com. Get massages and take time to nurture and pamper yourself. Also, do all the things you love to do that are easier without a baby attached, since it’ll be a while before you have your arms free again!
Can you suggest any other ways for pregnant women to enjoy the huge change going on in their bodies?
Surround yourself with books, people and resources that are positive and reflect where you want to end up—not the ones that scare the lights out of you. Find a community where you can be honest about what you’re feeling, but where the overall feeling about pregnancy, birth and parenthood is still positive.
What is the belief you personally go to during times of change?
I believe that things work out as they are meant to, whether you like them at the moment or not.
The best thing about change is...
…that it’s interesting!
What is the best change you have ever made?
Going from being a nurse to a midwife. I wanted to change some of the things I saw happening in maternity care and thought that being a midwife was the best way I could do that.
For more information on Kip Kozlowski, visit: www.greenhousebirthcenter.com.