The book Get Me Out by Randi Hutter Esptein talks a lot about how giving birth has changed over time. It talks a lot about the tools that were used to give birth, who helped give birth, what happens to the mother after birth, and so on and so forth. However, it does not really talk about what happens between conception and delivery. She did not really speak about how the baby develops or how the mother changes because of it. So, I will.
Throughout this semester, we have learned a lot about pregnancy and the amazing yet sometimes scary things that go along with the childbearing process. What I believe most men and women, even midwives did not know in the old days was what was actually going on in the female body during pregnancy and how the baby was developing.
Between conception and actual birth, the baby undergoes tons of changes, what we know as fetal development. In the first trimester the baby’s heart begins to beat, tell tale sign of the circulatory system being formed, along with that, the baby begins to develop their nervous and digestive system, as well as their excretory system. In the third month of the first trimester is when the baby begins to develop their genitals, which means that the three month mark is when one can know the sex of their baby. Next is the second trimester. In the second trimester is when the progression of the integumentary system (hair, nails, skin) beings to be seen. A major thing that happens in the second trimester is rapid brain development. Also, the lung sacs are beginning to develop, marking the start of the respiratory system. Finally, in the third and final trimester, the baby goes through rapid growth and their organ systems become complete.
While the mother’s baby is growing inside of her, she will experience new things as well. During the first trimester, the mom will most likely experience nausea and a difficulty in eating because her stomach will become compressed. The stomach, however, is not the only thing that will become compressed. The liver and the lungs become compressed as well making it hard for the mother to breath. She will also experience a hormone increase, tender breasts, frequent urination, rapid heartbeat, and in some cases, blurry vision. Also, the mothers uterus will stretch 40 cm in circumference!!
Knowing all of these things and understanding what exactly happens to the female body during pregnancy and how a little human can grow inside of your being may make people shy away from wanting to have a baby, but for some odd reason, it only makes me want to have a child more. Reading Get Me Out and seeing how far we’ve come as scientists and doctors in the delivery process makes giving birth seem less scary. There’s something intriguing about how a woman, seemingly fragile, can experience so much at one time, shortness of breath, nausea, having to use the bathroom all the time, and still be able to work, cook, and clean. Having a baby, or the thought of one day being pregnant does not scare me at all. It’s empowering to me.