Thursday, September 23, 2010

Didn't you have that baby, yet?

Well, if you're looking at someone who is extremely pregnant, I would venture to say no.  LOL

How many times have we had someone call every day and ask if we've gone into labor the moment we hit 38-40 weeks (if this is your first pregnancy, it will happen)?  "Weren't you do on x date?"  Is usually the question you hear the most.  But, so is, "Wow, you're really late!"  But, you're probably not, and this is why:

We have all been taught that the Estimated Due Date (EDD) is 40 weeks from your last menstrual cycle.  This "figure" is based upon a 28 day cycle.  And we all know that every single woman ovulates at exactly the same time every month and that no one's cycle is longer than 28 days.

Or is it?

The reason that the 28 day cycle was used is because it is the 'average'.  Some cycles go longer and some not that long, but it looked like a pretty "even" number.  The doctors in the old days used this to give a general idea of when a woman could possibly go into labor.  Most women go into labor, naturally, between 38 and 42 weeks.  But, as time has gone on modern medicine has decided that if a baby was not born by 40 weeks, it meant that the child could die, the placenta would deteriorate, etc...all of those fun, encouraging things they tell a mom they want to induce/section.

Now, my cycle is *about* 32 days.  I track it pretty good, it's been pretty dependable and it does change every couple of years.  But, on average, it's 32 days.  Every single one of my babies was born late.  My oldest was born at 43 weeks (induced), my 2nd was born at 41 weeks and 3 days, and my 3rd was born at 43 weeks.  My younger kids were spontaneous (they came when they were ready).  My oldest was induced because of a ripped bag.  But, this made the doctors all too happy as they were trying to induce me right at 40 weeks.

Now, the kids are all very, very healthy.  There were no complications with any of them (the placenta was in great shape for all of them).

The estimated due date is just that...an estimate.  So, the next time you go to your doctor and he/she starts hassling you about inducing, just smile and nod and then leave.  Most homebirth doctors/midwives will not even consider inducing before 42 weeks (43 at the latest).  In fact, even ACOG (American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) states that doctors should not be interfering in normal, uncomplicated pregnancies before 42 weeks is up.

But, the fact remains that the baby's lungs are the last vital organ to develop.  Since everyone needs their lungs to be developed as much as possible, isn't it best to allow your body to tell you when everything is a go?  Let's face it...if there were problems that necessitate an earlier induction, you would do it.  But, if they check on baby and heartrate is fine, amniotic fluid is fine, placenta looks/sounds good and everything is still a go...do you really think it necessary to be induced just because of your due date?

Not every baby needs to be born at 40 weeks.  Not every mom will go into labor within 40 weeks.  You do have the right to know WHY the doctors are pushing for induction.  Is the baby showing signs of distress (low heartbeat, etc)?   If so, then maybe induction is best.  But, if there are no "distressed" signs (as was in my case with my oldest), then it may be better to allow baby to come on its own.

For more information on the EDD (and why it's not the "do or die" date), see here and here.  :)

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