There are a two different kinds of OBGYNs: those that are due date obsessed and those that are not. The latter may as well be midwives. But generally speaking there are many doctors who love to talk about your due date and some even loosely schedule a c-section for that week just in case that date comes and goes with no event. Many women who trust birth and trust the body's ability to birth know that your due date is just a guess. It's not an exact science. It's often close, but as my birth doula loves to say "baby's going to come when baby's ready to come."
Your baby should decide your due date. We shouldn't go to unnatural measures to get baby out early unless there is a medical reason to do so. And what "early" means just got redefined by doctors who have done some research ... things that natural birthers were suggesting all along. So all those pushers of induction before it's time were wrong -- they actually put our babies in danger.
Doctors like to tell us that a full term baby is one born anywhere from 37 to 42 weeks. Most women who have had a baby close to 37 weeks might tell you differently from their experience of scary moments with their child being in the NICU. Researchers have finally got it together and divided up the third trimester into four groups: early term (37 to 38 weeks), full term (39 to 40), late term (week 41), and postterm (week 42). And they included the risks for babies born early term. There are serious risks, which includes NICU time, baby needing special fluids, and a host of detrimental health problems that could happen when baby is born too early.
This means that inducing labor too soon is much more risky that doctors have previously thought. So they pushed that full term status back two weeks. You may think two weeks is no big deal, but to a baby growing in the belly, it's a huge deal for development.
"Baby's going to come when baby's ready to come."
We shouldn't have inductions at all unless it's absolutely necessary. I'm thankful doctors are finally realizing the dangers, and pointing them out, redefining what full term means. Let's hope every OBGYN gets the message. Spread the word.
What do you think of the latest on what defines a full term baby?
Image via Ginny Washburne/Flickr