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Tuesday, July 01, 2008


(This is in homage to George Carlin. This article was originally posted on November 29, 2006 and is being moved to this weblog.)

George Carlin had it right:

"That's another complaint of mine, too much use of this prefix pre.... It's all over the language now. pre this, pre that..... place the turkey in a preheated oven.... it's ridiculous... there are only two states an oven can possibly exist in, heated or unheated.... preheated is a meaningless fucking term... that's like pre-recorded, this program was pre-recorded, well of course it was pre-recorded, when else you gonna record it, afterwards? That’s the whole purpose of recording, to do it beforehand! Otherwise it doesn't really work does it? Pre-existing, pre-planning, pre-screening, you know what I tell these people? PRE-SUCK MY GENITAL SITUATION!"

The newest annoyance in the "Land of Pre-"? PREPREGNANCY.

While surfing through articles, I happened onto this one regarding the notion of prepregnancy and ways that women can take care of their prepregnant selves.

Just like the heated status of an oven, pregnancy is one of those boolean, dichotomous black-and-white situations: You can either be "pregnant" or "not pregnant". You don't get to be prepregnant and develop a whole new concept to scare the crap out of women.

The article itself tried to bring us some valid points, but then wound up going overboard and screwing everything up, like doing a backflip and making a midair bowel movement, completely covering itself in feces. For example, it tried to make a valid point by mentioning that by the time most women find out that they ARE pregnant - they've already done things that affect the fetus and the damage is already done. That's a completely fair point and worry, that by the time the pregnancy is discovered, it may already be too late.

And then it prepares for the backflip of going overboard by creating this new term, "prepregnancy", which apparently stands for every moment in a woman's life between menarche and menopause while the woman is not ACTUALLY pregnant. So now that we've got a loaded and vague term as the backflip, the article lets the feces fly as it gives some guidelines to follow to ensure a healthy prepregnancy, which supposedly means all throughout life while ovulating and not yet pregnant:

- "prepregnancy checkups that include screening for diabetes, H.I.V. and obesity; managing chronic medical conditions; reviewing medications that may harm a fetus; and making sure vaccinations are up to date"
- "they should abstain from smoking, alcohol and drugs"

So, their advice to the "prepregnant" is to not smoke, drink or do drugs - and to try to avoid diabetes, H.I.V. and obesity?

Yes, and it gets worse.

"It’s not like we have an injection we can give someone" to prepare her for pregnancy, said Dr. Hani Atrash, associate director for program development at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the disease centers. "Some of the interventions, like weight management, need time to happen. You cannot quit smoking in one day."

You mean there's no instant fix for smoking or an instant way to lose weight? HOW CAN THIS BE? By the way, I think Dr. Hani Atrash should change her title to "associate director for common-sense development at the National Center of the Blatantly Obvious".

In an attempt to wipe off the feces that the article decided to spray all over itself, it tries to bring up another valid point that indeed half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. Teengers especially, but many others are sexually active and do not PLAN to get pregnant. Mostly because they don't WANT to be pregnant. Which means that when a not-100% protection method winds up proving its not-100% quality - the pregnancy is considered to be "unplanned".

The article then stretches out to get ready for another backflip, and takes to the air as it suggests that EVERY young person create a "reproductive life plan". Well, apparently "don't get her pregnant" and "don't get pregnant" aren't acceptable plans now. So what kind of plan did the article have in mind? Well, it goes on and says: "rising obesity rates and the tendency to postpone motherhood mean far more women are overweight when they become pregnant and thus are more likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes or prediabetes, which complicate pregnancy."

Their plan suggestion involves "not being overweight".

So now, women not only have the regular superficial worries about being overweight to worry about, but let's tack on an extra helping of worry with "but what happens if I get pregnant" to go with it. As if the worries of pregnancy, childbirth and parents weren't enough regarding the whole thing - now there's a bonus for being overweight all by itself.

Oh, and for those women who bother to take prepregnancy seriously from a medical standpoint, the article goes on to state: "While doctors have been recommending preconception care for many years, it has never really caught on. Only one in six health care providers said they had provided preconception care to patients, one study found, and most health plans do not cover it. Medicaid, the government health plan for the poor, often only covers women after they are pregnant."

WOMAN: "Hello, Mr. HMO Agent, I'd like to have more medical care and tests and doctor visits plase."
HMO AGENT: "Why are you requesting these additional services?"
WOMAN: "Well, I'm prepregnant. I could be pregnant sometime and I need to make sure to stay healthy while prepregnant."
HMO AGENT: "Wait, so you're not pregnant?"
WOMAN: "No, I'm prepregnant, but pregnancy could happen someday and I need extra medical attention before that happens."

*insert maniacal laughter and rejection from HMO AGENT*

Wow, who didn't see that one coming? Where's that doctor from the National Center of the Blatantly Obvious? Oh, apparently she's on a panel of experts, judging by my last feces-conjuring quote I plan on using from the article. It's regarding the role of men in the whole prepregnancy "reproductive life plan":

"(Men should be wary of exposures to toxins that cause birth defects and should avoid sexually transmitted diseases, experts say.)"

Wait, I'm NOT supposed to expose myself to toxins? I'm supposed to AVOID sexually-transmitted diseases?? WHY DIDN'T THE EXPERTS TELL ME SOONER???

"Waiter! I'd like to cancel my order of Lead Paint Chip and Syphillis Chow Mein! The experts say I shouldn't be eating that!"

Reading this article kind of made my day, giving me some laughs at the idiocy and about the sheer stupidity of humanity as a whole. I also shed many tears while reading this article - some out of afforementioned laughter, but just as many out of weeping for both the English language with another unplanned bastard "pre-" baby as well as the poor excuse for scare-tactics that seems to be targeting sexually-active dumbasses who possibly somehow don't know any better.

It's a sad day when such blatant common-sense can actually pass as a "new study" and "newsworthy findings". Humans must really suck if THESE are the kinds of warnings we need flying around in an attempt to EDUCATE people who somehow DON'T know this stuff already.

What do you think?

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