Posted by on May 17, 2015 in Writings



Waiting for that baby to come…when will it come?

The clock ticks. Tick tock.

In this article on estimated due dates in pregnancy and induction of labour, Dr Michel Odent, likens the ‘ripening’ of the baby in the womb to the ripening of a fruit on a tree. Not all fruit ripens at the same time, and we do not expect to pick it all at the same time. We pick the ones that are ready first, and then the next and then the next.

So why this hang up with the due date? Why the rush to induce and get things going so soon after this date, whether by chemical OR natural means?

What is a due date anyway?

The estimated due date is based on Naegele’s Rule, a system worked out by a German obstetrician called Franz Karl Naegele who lived from 1778 to 1851. He worked out that a pregnancy lasted more or less 280 days (about 40 weeks) from the start of the last menstrual period. But, as I am sure he realised, everyone is different, everyone menstruates differently, at different times, has different cycles, either short, long, irregular, heavy, mild.

Every woman’s body is different. And so is her baby. And so is her pregnancy.

The key words here are ‘estimated due date’ and ‘more or less.’

Only 4% of babies are born on their estimated due date, with a first-time mother birthing her babies a week or so late, and yet we set so many first-time mothers into a panic when they have not gone into labour by their due date.

My first baby decided to arrive at 38 weeks gestation, I was not expecting him so soon, his clothes were not ready, and neither was I. My second baby hung in there until 9 days after her due date, and of course, from my previous experience, I assumed I would have another ‘early’ baby. By the time my daughter decided to trigger her labour, I was going pretty mad. My third labour started 15 days after my ‘due date,’ by then I had given in and decided I would certainly be pregnant forever. My fourth emerged three days after she was ‘supposed’ to.

It is not an exact science. No matter how advanced the technology nowadays…we can only wait and see…as long as mother and baby are fine, all we can do is wait and watch the mother’s belly ripen.

The baby, when he or she is ready to be born,

will send a message that tells the mother’s body that it is ready.

The mother’s body can then begin labour by slowly releasing oxytocin, the hormone of love.

The mother and baby work together to bring the baby into the world.

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