In response to a reader that has accused me of "perpetuating the myth that premature birth is somehow the mother's fault”, I feel I must address all of my readers. This email comes as a response to my last article, You Have the Power to Experience a Full-Term Pregnancy.
I am outraged, frankly, that the editor of Preemie magazine would rather quote a statistic (namely, that “60% of premature births have NO KNOWN cause”) than be on the side of helping solve the problem. I am sure this magazine is a great resource for parents of early babies. I know that it can be an awful thing to have a really early, sick baby be born to you, especially when you've been told there is “no reason” for it. How absolutely frightening that must be to think there was nothing you could have done, or will be able to do in the future if pregnant again.
I wholeheartedly agree that these parents need resources, they need support and information once the baby is here. But why aren't we focused on how we can avoid that in the first place?
This magazine, as well as the “big business” of NICUs and premature baby care, are all on the other side of prematurity. They are not interested in helping solve the prematurity problem, because it would cost a lot of people a lot of money. They are not the solution to the problem, but the band-aid to an epidemic, really.
Even if I somehow believed that there was “no reason” for 60% of premature births, that wouldn't be enough to stop me from trying to figure it out and get information into the hands of all pregnant women.
Information that can save their lives, and their babies lives, at no cost and at absolutely no risk to them AT ALL.
I will say it again. Nutrition underlies almost all pregnancy problems, whether it is prematurity or preeclampsia. That's not to say there aren't other reasons for problems, like undetected infection. Here is a quote from Dr. Brewer's book, What Every Pregnant Woman Should Know About Nutrition, Bedrest and Drugs in Normal and High Risk Pregnancy:
"Research conducted and reported in the medical literature over the past century provides conclusive evidence that toxemia of pregnancy is a disease of incorrect nutrition and that incorrect nutrition is also associated with the vast majority of cases of preterm labor."
In response to this email, I encouraged this Preemie editor to read up on Dr. Tom Brewer. He has a wonderful website, and the aforementioned book of which I am in the middle of right now. For those of you that don't know, his focus was on nutrition and pregnancy and he was able to come up with a lot of answers both in his practice and in the thousands of phone calls he received from pregnant women over the years.
Dr. Brewer went into communities where there were high rates of prematurity, preeclampsia, etc. and was virtually able to eliminate these problems with diet. Dr. Brewer was a competent OB himself who realized that both diet and attention to the woman avoided so many issues.
I want to empower women. I refuse to go with the pity party, trying not to offend women that think I am saying they did a “bad job” in their pregnancies. There is no such thing, but there IS knowledge and power and research.
When it comes down to it, we all do the best that we can do and sometimes worst of all, we wrongly BELIEVE that we are doing the absolute best for ourselves and our babies. It is not a woman's “fault” per se, but it IS her responsibility to take charge of her own pregnancy and choices.
It is our JOB to do better for our babies, to find answers. Just because your doctor isn't giving you this information, just because Dr. Brewer's work is not as mainstream as it should be.....it doesn't matter. Take responsibility for your pregnancy and for the health of your baby