If you are pregnant, fuggedabout your due date.
It’s a myth. Mmm-hmmmm, you heard me right. Due dates don’t really mean anything.
Think of how unique each of us are; we are many different combinations of height, weight, hair and eye color. No two noses look exactly alike, and let’s not even get into how different Kim Kardashian’s rear end is from Chelsea Handler’s.
So why do we think that each and every baby should be born exactly 280 days from the onset of their mom’s last period? That, my friends, is the myth of the due date.
There is, in fact, a window of 4-5 weeks in which babies can be expected to come and be considered full-term, with no complications.
Why babies come when they do is a little-understood science. Some theorize that when a baby’s lungs are mature, this triggers a hormone that starts labor. Others say that since those last weeks are when baby shows the most growth, they come when they are at their peak survival time – fat stores, brain growth and reflexes are ready for the outside world.
So if most babies will be born healthy and happy between 38-42 weeks, why do so many doctors start talking induction 38 weeks (or earlier!)?
I dunno, but I can guess.
An induced labor is a controlled labor. There is no mystery about when, where or how labor will start. It’s all nice and tidy, tied up in a package of hospital gowns, Pitocin and a 9-to-5 work day. Nice for the doctor, but is it good for the baby or mama? I think not.
The contractions stimulated by Pitocin are waaaaay stronger and more painful than those you would have had if labor had started naturally. The use of Pitocin also necessitates that you have other interventions like an IV and constant fetal monitoring, not to mention it increases the likelihood of the need for a C-section.
Who are we to think we know better than nature about when a baby should be born? In a complicated, high-risk pregnancy, perhaps yes. But in the vast majority of healthy pregnancies? Step away from the induction, please!
Our belly buttons may pop out toward the end of pregnancy, but alas, it’s not the same as the turkey thermometer. There is no “done” button.
Only Mother Nature knows when the time is right for your baby to come. So, Listen to your mother, ya hear?