Ok, so this is a sensitive topic and I’m under no illusions that people won’t get their backs up, but I hope at least someone agrees with me.
As someone who has moved in ‘parent circles’ for a long time – in particular being our group admin, as well as being in thousands of other parenting groups, it has become glaringly clear that many mummies are obsessed with having their baby before their due date… and occasionally we’ve even had ladies asking how to bring on preterm labour, which is so scary.
This is something that seems to be silently accepted as normal, but for me and other mummies I know, it’s something we feel should be addressed to help inform mummies to be.
Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not talking about mummies who’re medically induced before their due date, nor do I advocate going hugely overdue. Medical advice should absolutely be respected, and if induction is advised or an early sweep offered, it’s for a good reason. I’m talking about impatient women, tired and bored of being pregnant, desperate to start the novelty aspects of having a cute little baby to push around in their pram and inundate their social media with lovely photographs. Also, women who are increasingly uncomfortable, aching, and just want their baby out.
Both perfectly understandable and relatable – I’ve been there myself, it’s pretty tedious and the last few weeks of pregnancy feels like YEARS.
However, it is really worrying reading the large number of posts asking;
• How can I bring on labour?
• Did anyone just KNOW their baby would come early?
• I dreamed my baby came early – did anyone else have this and it was right?
• Does this growth scan mean I will definitely have baby early?
Every single one of these just wants to be told what they WANT to hear – “Oh yes, your baby is deffo coming early!”. The desperation to have their baby as soon as possible is palpable.
God help the people politely telling mum that baby will come when ready, or that while some things can help prepare your body, self induction isn’t advisable… I mean, how dare they ruin the echo chamber and shatter the illusion? People get so defensive over this, and needlessly so, because it’s true.
Ladies, your womb is the safest place for baby, unless medical complications arise. And NO, it’s not ‘fine’ or necessarily safe from 37 weeks either!
37 weeks is technically ‘early’ term, whereas 39 weeks is now considered ‘full’ term. Whilst ‘term’ does encompass births from 37 weeks, there is still scope for further lung and brain development from 37 weeks, and the mortality and complications rate of a 37 weeker is much higher than a baby born at ‘full’ term hence why elective caesareans are done at 39 weeks unless medical circumstances dictate an earlier delivery.
Research has also shown that babies born even a few weeks before their due date are at higher risk of asthma and other health conditions, are more likely to be admitted to hospital in their first 9 months of life, and babies born between 37 and 38 weeks are 40% more likely to have been prescribed an inhaler by the age of 5 than peers born close to their due date, as well as many other detrimental factors found. Yes, the risks of adverse health from 37 weeks gestation is much lower than a premature birth hence why 37 weeks is ‘early term’ and not preterm, but the risks are higher than a baby born at full term and why would you want to take that chance by sending yourself into labour before it’s time?
Just because baby isn’t technically premature doesn’t mean baby is ready to arrive, and that’s something people don’t seem to understand.
I had to have my son at 37 weeks due to preeclampsia – he was nearly delivered a few times from 33 weeks until my blood pressure was stabilised, thankfully. He actually had breathing and digestive issues related to his gestation, something which really surprised me as no one told me that could happen. It goes without saying that I get the skeevies reading about mummies with zero medical necessity demanding inductions, faking reduced movements to get induced (TRUE STORY!!!!), trying to make themselves dilate, messing with their own cervixes (yes, really!), trying to pop their waters and generally losing their marbles out of desperation to go into labour, without knowing all the facts.
And to all of the parents who will undoubtedly be thinking ‘well my baby was born at 37 weeks and was fine’ – unfortunately that is not the case for many babies.
I get it, I really do. So many mummies are obsessed and fixated by the notion of meeting their precious baby before their due date, and not going overdue, because let’s face it, we fall in love with our precious wee babies long before they’re actually born. We want to meet them, hold them, cuddle them, show them off to the world. We also want rid of the aches, pains and general malaise that come hand in hand with pregnancy – it’s too easy to get swept up in all of this and forget that your desires are not necessarily the best for baby.
Make the most of those intimate final days/weeks with your partner, friends and family, because your life will change drastically very shortly. Baby WILL come when baby is ready.
Love from Katie. Xx