Another post with minor grammar edits. Nothing much has changed in prenatal care in the last five years, as my pregnancy last year demonstrated. Updated: Dec 13, 2016
Dealing with medical stuff and polyamory can be a pain in the neck when you aren’t dealing with the stress of a new pregnancy. When you are? Well, stupid rules and regulations + hormone swings can make doctors look like very good targets.
With luck, you already have an ob/gyn who is familiar with your lifestyle and is willing to include all your partners in your prenatal care. If you aren’t already seeing a poly-friendly professional, you may need to do a little searching and a little educating.
My best experience was a home birth with a nurse practitioner midwife. She accepted our relationship without a qualm, included both my partners in all our consultations. when the baby was born, one caught and the other cut the umbilical cord.
Midwife-assisted home birth gives you control. In a hospital, you need to deal with their rules and regulations. Since midwife-assisted home birth is just as safe for low-risk pregnancies than hospital birth, it is something you may want to consider. (Actually, some studies have shown midwife assisted high-risk births in the hospital have better outcomes than obstetrician assisted, but you’re in the hospital either way.)
The biggest problem of a hospital birth from a polyam-perspective is many hospitals limit the number of people who can attend the birth. If you have a number of partners or a large poly family, this can leave you needing to choose who will be there with you, and who won’t.
That said, please, please please, put your and your baby’s safety first.
Ultrasounds and any other medical test often have the same problem—hospital or clinic limits on people who can be with you. Hard to blame them in a way—I’ve known people who would have crowded their entire extended family in to see the ultrasound! And there just isn’t that much space in the ultrasound rooms. But it can leave a polyam mom in a tough position.
The best advice I have on this one is to talk with your partners and your doctor. If your doctor understands your relationship and is willing to work with you then you shouldn’t have too many problems. And there is a good chance that if you have a big polycule, not everyone will be as interested in going to ultrasounds and what-not. Some people just don’t see the fascination in smudgy black and white pictures on a screen. Don’t feel bad if some of your partners feel that way. Include them in what they want to be a part of, and be glad that you don’t need to leave someone out who wants to be there with you.
All in all, mixing non-standard relationships and medical protocol can always be a hassle, but with prenatal care, it may be then you may fear. Which means you can focus on taking care of mommy and baby.
Originally posted July 14, 2011.