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Royal Baby Watch: How The Brits Do It Differently

Posted by Lara Salahi  July 11, 2013 04:20 AM

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Poor Mrs. Middleton.

Every time I hear about how the countdown is on for the royal baby, I get flashbacks of my own final few days of pregnancy. They don't included the gorgeous Alexander McQueen coat I too donned (because I didn't), nor do they include being waited on swollen hand and foot in a palace (well, it depends on what you call a palace, I guess).

Instead, I get flashbacks about eagerly anticipating baby's arrival. I remember, after 40+ weeks of planning, feeling totally unprepared. I remember family and friends incessantly calling and texting, asking me whether baby arrived yet. 'Nope' became an automated text response on my phone. I remember the due date arrive and pass by with baby still comfortably (depends who you ask here) nested in my belly. I remember showing up to work on my due date, working a full day, then coming home and going to bed, only to wake up and do the same the next day. I remember doctors getting impatient and discussing induction. I remember leaving their office in tears. I enjoyed my pregnancy. But it was the final few weeks where excitement quickly turned to pressure, stress, and anxiety.

Then, I remember how one night, unbeknownst to any of us, without the help of doctors, and total disregard for anyone else's schedule, my daughter decided the time was right.

If my final days were this crazy, I can't even imagine what it must feel like to have the whole world on standby for an event as unpredictable as birth!

From a medical standpoint, there's no doubt Middleton will be well taken care of. In fact, an ABC News article looking into the U.K. health system shows that pregnant women in the U.K., regardless of their royal status, are in some aspects offered vastly different and better standardized care than women in the U.S.:

For one, all prenatal care and birthing is provided free to women in the U.K., and while Middleton will use two obstetricians for her delivery, most women in the U.K. use midwives.

In the U.K., the emphasis is on a natural approach.

In fact, once labor starts, many hospitals in the U.K. encourage women to use as little pain medication as possible or none at all.

Also in the U.K., epidurals are given less frequently. Patients are offered laughing gas and birthing tubs to reduce their pain.

C-sections rates in America are three times higher than they are in the U.K.

It's clear Middleton has the medical care part all worked out. It's the palace staff pool, incessant texts from the Queen and the cruel game that doctors play called the "due date" where I feel for her.

In all the ways the Brits do birth differently than us, I hope Middleton will do one thing the same: I hope she will tell those around her who are all worked up to just cool it.

In her proper form, of course.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Lara Salahi is an award-winning multimedia journalist whose specialty is reporting health and medical stories. She has worked in local, network, and cable television, international print, and documentary film. She More »

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