Pip Wynn Owen fantastically states that the first line of intervention for a birthing woman is her due date.
Now let that sink in for a bit.
WHAT does that mean to you? For me, it means that as soon as you go for your routine dating scan at 7 weeks gestation, you are told your due date.
Now that one magical date determines how you will be treated for the rest of your pregnancy.
So let’s break it down a little and look at the facts to influence what I like to call, your estimated due date/month.
Rachel Reed writes an informative article that I highly recommend you read – https://midwifethinking.com/2016/07/13/induction-of-labour-balancing-risks/
Term (as in a ‘normal’ and healthy gestation period): is from 37 weeks to 42 weeks.
Post-dates: the pregnancy has continued beyond the decided due (guess) date ie. which is over 40 weeks.
Post-term: the pregnancy has continued beyond term ie. 42+ weeks.
To clarify a full-term pregnancy is classified from 37 weeks to 42 weeks. SO let’s get out of your head that 40 weeks is the magical week that your baby is likely to come ( if it already hasn’t ). Another amazing factor you might not be aware of is that your genetics influence your gestation length. How long did your Grandmother, mother & sisters all carry their babies for? For my family, my maternal line has all given birth from 38 weeks to 40 weeks. None of us so far have gone over ‘Post-date’ gestation.
So now might be a good idea to call your Grandmother, mother or sisters and ask them about their births, see how long their gestations were and allow yourself to sit reassured that all will be ok.
Another fantastic read that you can deep dive into is Sarah Buckley’s blog post – Should Every Mother be Induced at 39 Weeks? The ARRIVE Trial – https://sarahbuckley.com/should-every-mother-be-induced-the-arrive-trial/
Sarah writes about the ARRIVE (A Randomized Trial of Induction Versus Expectant Management) trial that was conducted in 2018. This trial was to find out if elective induction of labour during the 39th week of pregnancy would result in a lower rate of death and serious complications for babies, compared to waiting until at least 40 weeks and 5 days for elective induction. The trial also wanted to see if inductions had an effect on the risk of Cesareans.
Inducing labour at 39 weeks did not improve the primary outcome of death or serious complications for babies.
When you are faced or forced with the conversations & decisions around induction because you’ve hit and passed your due date, just remember that we have learnt in the birth world that babies signal they are ready for the world outside the womb. Babies signal their readiness by sending hormones through the placenta into the mother’s bloodstream. Sarah states that these signals promote ‘prelabour physiologic preparations’ for mother and baby, which will make labour and birth as efficient, pleasurable, and safe as possible, for both.
If you are fast approaching your due date and feeling a little nervous and have itchy feet about it all I’d like to share a few ‘natural’ alternatives that could help you along the way. Just remember that any form of induction, whether it is natural or medical is still a form of induction. Babies come when they’re ready.
- Sex baby sex – What got the baby in gets the baby out! 😉
So overall Mama the takeaway that I can give you is don’t let this one date dictate your pregnancy.
Make time to connect with your body & your baby throughout this whole journey. If you are nearing the end of your pregnancy and induction is something you are not wanting to consider then stick to your guns, do your research and arm yourself with knowledge. Find a Doula and allow them to help guide you, give you the information you need to make your informed decisions and be there to help you when you get itchy feet and want to evict that sweet lung punching baby of yours.