Dr. Viviana talks about outdated words for fertility and motherhood.
There are some interesting terms in the medical profession that are used to describe fertility and pregnancy.
An inhospitable womb describes conditions in the uterus that make it hard to stay pregnant.
This could lead to a woman becoming a habitual aborter, which is not what it sounds like, but is three or more consecutive pregnancy losses before 20 weeks.
Then there’s poor maternal effort, which is when a woman is so exhausted from trying to bring a human into the world, that she is too tired to push that human out of her body.
The fact that these terms are still being used to describe pregnancy, fertility and motherhood is troubling and not just to me. Thousands of women using Peanut, the social networking app that connects women on matters of fertility and motherhood, recently submitted terms that they wanted to see updated.
“The terminology still in use today is outdated and can be harmful to a woman’s mental health. Terms like ‘inhospitable womb,’ ‘geriatric pregnancy,’ or ‘spontaneous abortion’ lead to feelings of shame at a life stage when a woman should feel empowered and supported,” said celebrity therapist Dr. Viviana Coles, president and lead psychotherapist at Houston Relationship Therapy in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Shifting the way we talk about fertility and motherhood will destigmatize having these conversations, and ensure conversations are taking place in a nurturing environment.”
At one of my early prenatal appointments when I sat in the obstetrician’s office discussing all the things that you discuss when you are pregnant, our lighthearted banter ended when the doctor told me she was sending me to a specialist.
Was something wrong with me? Who was this specialist I needed to see?
I was 39 years old and while my health checked out fine, the fact that I was over the age of 35 meant I had entered “geriatric pregnancy” territory and needed to also be under the care of a perinatologist, specialists who are well-versed in high-risk pregnancies. I was grateful to have a team of doctors working together to make sure I had the safe and successful birthing experience I desired, but I also felt kind of miffed. Geriatric? Really?
“The patient perceives it as an insult, but that is because our whole society perceives aging as bad,” said Dr. Lillian Schapiro of Ideal Gynecology.
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