Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Pre-Pregnant and Loving It!

Don't know if you've heard about the Centers for Disease Control's new guidelines regarding women's health -- their recommendation that all menstruating women, no matter what their plans regarding having children, consider themselves "pre-pregnant" and, moreover, be treated accordingly by healthcare professionals. Here's an item from Bitch magazine's blog that includes a link to the original Washington Post article outlining the CDC's recommendations.

Now, a lot of people are angry at what they perceive in the verbiage of this pronouncement as a patronizing governmental attitude toward women -- an attitude that sees women as nothing but walking uteri breeding future citizens for the Empire, which in turn has a self-serving interest in dictating lifestyle changes to said walking uteri: hectoring women of childbearing age -- some of whom have no desire to have children, or to have more children -- to lose weight and eat their folic acid and leave cat poop alone, all for the sake of those theoretical pre-conceived babies.

I have to say, I'm not that upset about this. I'm amused, but not upset.

Having a passing acquaintance with bureaucracies, and working in committees, and writing committee boilerplate, and dealing with committee boilerplate that has been codified into policy, I know that it is very easy for people in these situations to be sucked into a kind of mind-numbing collective vortex in which they not only generate assholic statements but lose the ability to discern the assholicity of such statements. Thus a noble idea -- encouraging the public to get involved in improving prenatal health and preventing birth defects and complications -- comes out sounding like something out of The Handmaid's Tale. any government surveillance types reading this (I know -- they're too busy listening to our phone conversations) -- no hard feelings. I'm actually looking forward to my doctor asking me -- as the guidelines for healthcare professionals direct -- if I'm not intending to have a child in the next year, what I'm using for birth control. That'll make a nice note in my records.


Emily said...

Which is going to also bring a whole new level to my favorite interaction every time I've ever visited the doctor (married or not. . .)

"Are you pregnant?"


"Are you sure?"

P.S. (an after-thought) said...

The question Emily mentions is annoying and potentially hurtful for many people for a number of differnt reasons. Ditto about Mother's Day if you want kids and can't have them, for whatever reason. BTDT, tears.

That's the trouble with the one size fits all in anything. And I felt the same way about having to submit twice to tests for venereal diseases when I had never ever ever even come close to any situation where I would have caught one.

However, I'm glad that your post is somewhat gentle in acknowledging what is behind these sorts of things. The consequences for an unborn child if certain tests, medications, xrays, etc. are given is serious.

Mata H said...

And are men considered "pre Paternal"?

LutheranChik said...

No kidding.

And -- just for the record -- I want everyone to know that my folic acid consumption not only meets but exceeds Federal guidelines.;-)

hamletta said...

Another blogger, Amanda Marcotte, looked at the actual report, and found the walking-womb bit was entirely the invention of the idiot WaPo reporter.

The culprit here isn't the CDC at all. I understand what you're saying about committees and all, but their report was quite sensible, and advocated improving health care and stressed that women are more likely to have healthy babies if they can control when they have them.

Beth said...

Lutheranchik, what will be a nice note in your records?

Dr. : What kind of birth control are you using?

LC: Abstinence from vaginal sexual intercourse.

The whys and wherefores, as well as anything you might do instead (if you meet somebody some day and fall in love and commit with her, I really hope you do), are not your doc's business.

J.C. Fisher said...

"Dr. : What kind of birth control are you using?"

God, I really hope some woman has the . . . ovaries to say, "My girlfriend's saliva" ;-p