The Myth of the Early Baby

Every pregnant mama I know has done a little happy dance once she hits 37 weeks. For me, it was in large part being outside the danger of preterm labor. I was never at risk for it, but of course it’s nice to not have to worry about it. But I know that for myself, as well as many other mamas out there, it’s the idea that it could be any day now.

Any day now until pregnancy is over and you meet your new baby. Because once you hit 37 weeks, you could safely go into labor. That means you’re going to soon, right?

Wrong.

The vast majority of women (who are allowed to go full term without interference) won’t meet their babies for at least another month. The average first time mom gives birth at 41 weeks and 1 day. Second time (or more) is 40 weeks 5 days. Of course average means that there are plenty of deliveries both early and late of that mark, but it also means you shouldn’t bank on an early delivery unless you have a very medical birth in mind.

Our Bradley Method instructor had a great example of why inducing isn’t wise without a clear medical need. She said that you never know exactly when a baby is ready to be born. Let’s say you’re one of those mamas that has a long gestation (like my friend who was due right after me) and your baby is ready at 42 weeks 5 days. You decide that you’re just done being pregnant at 39 weeks, well within the range of what’s considered okay by most professionals for induction. That means your baby is born a full MONTH before they’re ready! Sure, not “premature” by the medical standard, but that baby can still end up with all the same issues.

Pregnant mamas, I know it’s tough to wait. I know it sucks being pregnant. I know you just wait to hurry up and meet that baby! But just wait. He or she will come when they’re ready. We can’t speed up the process. Just try to be patient (and tell friends/family to leave you alone!) and you’ll meet them before you know it!

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Welcome with Love

This book is another one of those gems that we randomly picked out at the library. It’s amazing what you can find when you’re not really looking for it! 

I was searching for books about babies in general. My girls love to read and I think it helps them process things to read about them, especially Peanut. So last month I searched for children’s books about babies and we came home with a handful. A couple were immediately duds (absolutely nothing the girls can relate to when all they’re about bottles and nurseries and cribs) and a couple we could just substitute things that made more sense for us. This one though, it just nailed our birthing style right on the head.
Welcome with Love is the story of a home birth from the perspective of the soon-to-not-be youngest child. He has never seen a birth before, as his two older sisters have, and learns a lot of things along the way (like how mum is just as loud as she said she would be). The book talks about preparing for the baby (and not in the nursery way), the labor and birth, and even the placenta. It’s a wonderful way to introduce all these concepts to little ones who will be present at a birth.
Peanut in particular has really latched onto this book. She has literally had me read it every day since we got it from the library (and I’m sure she’ll be very upset when we have to return it in the near future). I think it’s because it’s one of the fewbooks that shows birth in a way that’s actually similar to how we do it. It has sparked a lot of conversations about different aspects of the birth. Even though she was there last time, she doesn’t remember a lot (she was only 34 months), so it’s nice to be able to go over all these different things again.
My only criticism of the book, which is only half-hearted mind you, is that some parts of it make the family seem like they’re not in this same time period. Obviously they are, as it shows the midwife using a Doppler, but they’re using a fire as their main warmth in the house, he lights a “night candle,” and stuff along those lines. It does appear that this books is about a family in Europe (the mom is referred to as mum), so maybe these things are more common there? I just don’t like the impression that you only give birth at home in a rustic setting. I can have computers and what not and still choose to birth at home! Really though, this is just a minor beef and it might be more cultural than anything.
So if you’re having a home birth (or have had one) and you’d like something to read to your kids, I’d definitely check this one out. It’s nice to see home birth shown in a calm and realistic way in a children’s book. And the part where they find out the sex of the baby (which is uncommon not to know these days, even with homebirthers), makes me want to cry. So sweet. Maybe we’ll have to buy a copy to own.