Mother Knows Best!

January 25, 2012
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by Lindsey Wimmer, MSN, CPNP,  and Mom

We all know and accept that mothers are incredible beings with even more amazing powers.  I remember during my childhood wondering how in the WORLD my mom knew some of the things she did!  On occasion, I can see the same wonder in my kids’ eyes.  How did she know I was up to no good?!?

Sometimes the only answer is that Moms Just Know.

As a pediatric nurse practitioner, I frequently encounter concerned parents bringing their child to the office because their “gut” told them to.  “I can’t put my finger on it, but she just isn’t herself.”  A statement like that always spooks me.  Why?  More often than not, the mom is going to be right.  And moms don’t use that line because of a splinter in a finger.  Plus, there is that huge question of where to begin.  Without a specific symptom, the list of potential issues can be overwhelming.  It’s scary, investigation may involve some extensive testing and discussions, and it’s time consuming.  But – that’s my job!!

Somewhere along the line, pregnant mothers have not been allowed or encouraged to follow their intuition.  It is believed that they don’t “know” this baby inside their womb and couldn’t possibly know if the baby is sick.  The parent/child bond does not begin with a child’s first breath.   So many parents who have suffered a pregnancy loss will later say that they felt like something wasn’t right.  They may have even brought their concerns to their health care providers.  Some are told not to worry.  Some are told that they won’t feel “normal” because they are pregnant.  Some are just ignored.    This is not an acceptable response to a mother’s concern in pediatrics.  Why is it so often acceptable in obstetrics?  

I believe pregnant women need to be reassured that they do know their babies and they should follow their intuitions.  When considering the health of an unborn child, the mother is one of the best sources of information!

If you are a health professional who cares for pregnant women (or any patient!) who voices a concern from her intuition – take that as seriously as you would any other symptom.  I will always hope that the concerns are unfounded.  But I would rather err on the side of caution than to explain to a mother why her baby died even though she tried to tell me that something was wrong.

If you are pregnant or know someone who is, trust those maternal instincts!  Mother really does know best!

About the author:

Lindsey Wimmer, a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, is Mom to four children; Garrett who was stillborn in 2004, Grant, Bennett and Austyn. Lindsey and her husband Trent founded the Star Legacy Foundation shortly after Garrett’s birth when realizing that the numbers of stillbirths in the US were staggering and that very little was being done to determine the causes or find prevention initiatives. Visit the Star Legacy Foundation to learn more.


Great POst.
I just finished reading a book that was all about this – though it was from an OB who said she actively encourages and teaches her mothers how to monitor their own pregnancy – as she said we are the ones who are the care providers 24/7 🙂

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