Sorry Mom, Pregnancy Is a Disease


pregnancy testIt's not hard to make a pregnant woman mad. Just imply that she's carrying a parasite in her belly, and she's got to be cured. That's essentially what a portion of a reproductive health bill in the Philippines is saying. The country's Senate president, Juan Ponce-Enrile, revealed language in the bill claims "pregnancy is a disease to be cured."

Filipino women are naturally expected to be cranky about this, and with this terminology, I can't blame them. But is it really that wrong? Isn't pregnancy a medical condition . . . a nicer way of saying "disease"? We bristle at the wording, but let's take a closer look.

The Filipino government is approaching a high rate of high risk pregnancies as what they are -- a burden on the women of their country. I've been pregnant. My daughter wasn't a parasite. She was (is!) the love of my life, the cream in my coffee, the cats pajamas, you dig? I'd be a hypocrite to cast pregnancy as an evil we need to cure.

But I spent nine months constantly on the run to the doctor's office. I had heartburn, carpal tunnel syndrome and hyperemisis gravidarum (aka., throwing up 24/7). Each was caused by my pregnancy and each was treated with some sort of medical intervention -- pills, a splint. Now take this definition of disease from the good old dictionary:

a disordered or incorrectly functioning organ, part, structure, or system of the body resulting from the effect of genetic or developmental errors, infection, poisons, nutritional deficiency or imbalance, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors; illness; sickness; ailment.

That sounds about right. I had a sickness from unfavorable environmental factors in my life -- unfavorable for my wrists and my esophagus anyway. My pregnancy was the disease that was taking a toll on my body. And that's minor.

Compare it to the affects of the high risk pregnancies on a mom, from hemorrhaging to death.There's a reason America has been under attack by the World Health Organization to address the soaring rates of maternal mortality here in the states. For a highly developed country, we rank woefully high. Amnesty International estimates that 1.7 million women a year suffer from pregnancy-related complications. That's one third of American pregnancies.

So try telling one of those women they aren't sick, they're just pregnant. You'll probably get a different answer. Would you say pregnancy is a disease?


Image via PinkMoose/Flickr

complications, is it safe, is it normal


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mixed... mixedmommysrule

WOW WTF we all got here from a disease i do think a fetus is alot like a parasite BUT ... idk what to make of this

beane... beanerbecky

No I would not say pregnancy is a disease or medical condition. I'm not sick. Treating pregnancy like it is a disease is the reason this country's maternity care is in such bad shape.

Mommy... Mommy2Mal

I call my fetus a parasite. I don't think pregnancy needs to be cured though, and I'm not sure it qualifies as a disease... (I'd cut and paste your definition, but it's early and I haven't had my coffee) it's not really something working improperly, it's the way nature intended, nature just knew it wasn't getting knocked up anytime soon so it didn't make it a 24/7 endorphin party. 

miche... micheledo

Absolutely NOT a disease.  It is doing exactly what we/our bodies are designed to do.

choto... chotovec82

I don't like how this post speaks of pregnancies and babies at all. None of my unborn children were parasites and I was never diseased or ill while pregnant- I was simply pregnant. I understand that during pregnancy a multitude of things could happen to me or my body and by getting pregnant I am taking those risks. If you don't want to be sick or have a "parasite" in you then don't get pregnant. How ridiculous and very offensive of this post.

081109 081109

I actually compared (jokingly) my pregnancy to a parasite.  I mean isn't a parasite a living thing that feeds off of it's host?  Isn't that what our little ones do to us while they grow?  And they can cause us harm, just as a parasite may do.  Seems a pretty decent comparison to me as long as you don't take it too seriously.

stell... stellarluna

No, we were born with reproductive organs and meant to use them so that doesn't qualify as a disease.  And you don't HAVE to go to a doctor constantly while pregnant, that's actually a choice.  I have jokingly said "parasite" before, and technically that's right, but disease?  No.  Every medical intervention is a choice, from medication to visit.  I saw a midwife in my home with my last and had her there as well, so I have a completely different view on this topic than most people in general.

Our country has a high "high risk" rate because of the overuse in medical intervention and non-educated mothers that don't know when to say "no" and because doctors look at pregnancy as something to treat rather than one important thing God designed us for.

LoveF... LoveFaithPeace

Um no this post makes no sense to me. Try looking at the complications of women who don't live in America who do everything natural who have home births. America has the worst statistics because they treat it like a disease and do tons of interventions. We expect it to be painful and horrible. I had a very trying pregnancy and was sick a lot but that is because it's good for baby's immune system it helps to build it up.

Madea Rooks

WOW!!! This is hilarious! people are so funny when you thalk about the scientific nature of the way things really are like the most wonderful parasites my body ever dispelled of, the fact that humans are really animals and how so many peoples favorite breakfast food is chicken menstruational discharge!!!

tis.u... tis.unnatural

No, I don't see pregnancy as a disease, and it definitely doesn't have to be a medical condition. There are non-medical, natural remedies for all of the pregnancy symptoms you had. Pregnancy is being seen as a "disease" because we've unnecessarily made it that way, not because it actually is.

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