"I gave birth to a nine-pounder!" is often met with, "Wow, a big one!" Back before our obsession with scheduling inductions and c-sections, babies used to be born larger than they are now ... without unique complication.
People did the math on the 8-08-08, 9-09-09, 10-10-10 mom and discovered something -- not only had she been pregnant or recovering for three years straight, but her pregnancies were longer than average: 42 to 43 weeks ... 10-month pregnancies.
Why would someone stay pregnant that long?
Easy. They're SUPPOSED to.
Most pregnancies last 38 to 42 weeks, right? However, most women and their doctors won't go over 41 weeks, and with ultrasounds often being wrong in age-dating (especially if they readjust the due date outside the first trimester), our current gestation average is more like 36 to 40 weeks. Is it really surprising then that our average birth weight and health of newborns dropped as well?
So anytime something starts going too extreme in any direction, there's usually movements to get it back where it's supposed to be -- in this case, medical organizations are moving to prevent early c-sections and inductions, and natural birth advocates are trying to push to remind women that pregnancy can last 10 months -- and that's OKAY.
As reported by The Globe and Mail:
Ina May Gaskin, often called the “mother of modern midwifery,” also gives the lobby extra weight. Ms. Gaskin, who runs a birthing centre in Tennessee called The Farm and has an obstetrical manoeuvre named after her (it dislodges an infant’s shoulder during birth without drugs or surgery), is lobbying for 43 weeks to be the new normal.
I've seen with my own eyes people tell a mother going over her "due date" that that she is killing her own baby. "The placenta DIES and your baby will DIE!" the woman screeched at my friend who had just hit her due date and was refusing an immediate induction. Obviously her friend had forgotten that 40 weeks was the middle of a four-week average, but that kind of reaction is far from uncommon.
There are risks to going very overdue, but with monitoring from a competent professional, the risks of induction or a scheduled c-section almost always outweigh the risks of letting the body gestate until it decides it's ready.
Would you go past 41 or 42 weeks, with or without monitoring?
Image via Xakana/CafeMom