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The Dreaded Due Date!

August 20, 2014

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Yes, dreaded! You’re probably wondering why I would use the word “dreaded” when it’s an exciting date to put on your calendar. Well, let me explain – when you are approaching the end of your pregnancy, the time can go SLOWLY! You might start to feel like you have been pregnant forever and that your baby isn’t ever going to come out. You could start to feel pressure from your care provider, telling you they will “NEED” to induce you if your baby doesn’t come by X amount of weeks-Sometimes as early as 40 weeks! Your friends and family may start asking you daily “When is the baby  coming?” “Why isn’t that baby coming out? It’s your due date!” “That baby needs to come out now; I’m ready to meet her!” So, between the discomforts of the last weeks/days of pregnancy, your friends and family ready to meet baby and unintentionally putting more pressure on you about when baby is coming you’re probably really counting on that due date to become a reality. Plus, you have a care provider making you feel like your body will fail to provide a safe space if your baby is not born by 40 weeks on the dot. Do you see how this can cause a lot of unnecessary stress on an already stressed out, hormonal pregnant woman? Did you know that stress can hinder labor from starting? Well, now you do!

Now let’s discuss what a due date really is. Your due date is an estimate of time when your baby might be born. Here is the updated info straight from ACOG.

The following represent the four new definitions of “term” deliveries:

Early Term: Between 37 weeks 0 days and 38 weeks 6 days
Full Term: Between 39 weeks 0 days and 40 weeks 6 days
Late Term: Between 41 weeks 0 days and 41 weeks 6 days
Postterm: Between 42 weeks 0 days and beyond

Feel free to read the whole article on the link above, it has great information!

So, you’re full term at 39 weeks, some babies come before, and some come after. The average first time mom goes into spontaneous labor 8 days after her “due date” so that would be 41.1 weeks pregnant. That’s a whole week +1 day of what could be added stress if friends and family are asking this poor mama a questions, she wishes she could answer! Every day that she wakes up, still pregnant, can be upsetting and stressful for any pregnant woman.

So what should one do about this ongoing issue? First thing I would suggest would be making sure your provider is understanding and not going to put you on any kind of clock, especially an unrealistic clock! When you have a provider who trust birth and believes that your body isn’t failing you if you don’t go into labor by 40 weeks you will also feel confident that your body and baby know the right time for birth. The next thing I would suggest is to call your due date, your due MONTH. Let’s say your provider gives you an estimated due date of October 19th. You can let people know to expect your baby to be born sometime in mid to late October. Really, that’s all they need to know!! Your baby is going to come when he or she is ready; you have no control over it. Only that sweet little baby knows when it’s fully developed and ready to be born. Trust your baby, trust your body. As Ina May Gaskin would say, “Your body is not a lemon!

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