Friday, January 27, 2012

On Being Overdue

January 19th has come and gone. Like everyone on the planet that date automatically puts a deadline in my mind. 'Well of course I will have a baby on or by that date.' After that date doesn't really enter your mind.

I have chosen to have my babes outside the traditional medical model. I have researched and read and birthed and experienced enough that I feel confident and safe.

Anticipation is high and that makes the waiting harder. People are worried and that makes me lose confidence. There is an underlying feeling of now that we have passed the date, it is time to take matters into our own hands.

I read the following this morning from here. I feel better now.

Events during Pregnancy's Final Weeks
In the last weeks of pregnancy, maternal antibodies are passed to the baby—antibodies that will help fight infections in the first days and weeks of life. The baby gains weight and strength, stores iron, and develops more coordinated sucking and swallowing abilities. His lungs mature, and he stores brown fat that will help him maintain body temperature in the first days and weeks following birth. The maturing baby and the aging placenta trigger a prostaglandin increase that softens the cervix in readiness for effacement and dilatation. A rise in estrogen and a decrease in progesterone increase the uterine sensitivity to oxytocin. The baby moves down into the pelvis. Contractions in the last weeks may start the effacement and dilation of the cervix. A burst of energy helps pregnant women make final preparations, and insomnia prepares them for the start of round-the-clock parenting.
The watchful waiting and the intense wanting of the big day to arrive are all part of nature's plan. When the baby, uterus, placenta, and hormones are ready, labor will start. Additionally, all that preparation sets the stage for an easier labor and a fully mature baby who is physiologically stable and able to breastfeed well right from the start.
Waiting for Labor to Start
Thinking of, and clinging to, the “due date” as “the day” makes it difficult for women to trust nature's beautiful plan for the end of pregnancy and the start of labor. What women rarely know, and what people tend to forget, is that some variation exists in how long it takes for an individual baby to mature fully. Acknowledging that babies can safely come 2 weeks before or 2 weeks after the due date does not tell the whole story. Some babies are mature as early as 37 weeks (259 days), and others need 42 completed weeks (294 days) and sometimes a bit more to be fully ready. Size is not an indication of maturity, and the due date is only a guideline.
My colleagues who are midwives talk about due dates in vague terms. “The baby will probably come towards the end of August. If Labor Day comes and goes, we'll watch carefully.” In the days before ultrasound, caregivers encouraged a woman to note carefully the day she first felt her baby move. Moving forward 22 weeks gave a nice approximation of the time she would go into labor. It still does. Waiting for labor to start spontaneously is almost always the best way to know that the baby is ready to be born and that a woman's body is ready for labor.
That's what I'm going to go with. Here's to a fully ready baby and a fully ready Mama.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think the baby is waiting for a fishing trip to get things going.
Uncle Bubba