The Due Date Debacle

So, you’ve made it to your due date, and still no real signs of labor are presenting. They’re discussing induction now, right? If the answer to that is yes, I presume you must be seeing a medical doctor and not a midwife.

See, midwives don’t induce the way doctors do. I can make hasty presumptions as to why so many OBs are induction happy, but we’ll just stick to the facts today. The fact is, most of us believe that a pregnancy “timeline” begins at our last menstrual period (LMP) and ends at around forty weeks with the magical estimated due date (EDD.) Notice though, nobody ever asks you, “When is your Estimated Due Date?” They just say, “When is your Due Date.”

The History of the 40 Weeks

The idea of 40 weeks is all based around “10 Lunar Months.” Since antiquity, people have known that a pregnancy lasts just under ten moons from a woman’s last menstruation. And just under ten moons is pretty accurate actually. But, in the 1800s an obstetrician named Franz Naegele tried shoving the feminine quality of the moon into the masculine framework of the calendar. There are four weeks in a month… times ten months… forty weeks! Right?

Wrong.

Nature doesn’t go by our calendars. A lunar month is 29.53 days. So, ten lunar months is about 295 days. Contrastingly, 40 calendar weeks (40*7) equals 280 days.

My personal anecdotal evidence to support this idea is that I’ve known many women to give birth in birthing centers or at home, and they’ve all delivered waaaaay past the forty week mark. But my anecdotal evidence shouldn’t mean too much to you, since I just a random woman on the internet.

I’d like to compound my anecdotal evidence with the study of women who were left to their own devices to deliver naturally. In that study, which you can find here, the average number of days from ovulation to delivery for a first time mom was 274 days (Which since ovulation is usually around 14 days from the first day of a woman’s LMP, indicates that science itself suggests an average woman will deliver approximately 288 days from the start of their last period.) This means that science indicates that the average woman’s estimated due date should be just over 41 weeks from the first day of her LMP.

The New Due Date

One thing I see regularly is this: A first time mom will go in to her OB appointment fully aware of her LMP date. From there, the OB looks 280 days into the future and presents a woman with a due date. (Keep in mind, this due date is already up to two weeks earlier than midwives throughout our human history would anticipate, and over a week earlier than modern science anticipates.) Then, a few weeks later, an ultrasound is taken, and the doctor says, “Oh, I think we’re going to have to move this due date up, the baby seems large.” Of course, the mother is pleased, because that means, she gained a full week (or more) of pregnancy progression in two seconds flat. She went into the appointment thinking she had 33 weeks to go, because her last period was seven weeks before, but thanks to modern technology, it was proven that she “must’ve conceived early” and that she only had 32 weeks to go.  In reality, she probably still has at least 34 to go, given the lunar calendar to modern calendar conversion and the study of women left to deliver without intervention, and the fact that in the first trimester, an ultrasound’s “measurements” can be up to a week off.

This practice of bumping up the due date arbitrarily based on ultrasound measurements, while terribly exciting for a newly expecting mom, can end up dangerous. For starters, right around her “37 week mark” she is told that if she went into labor, the doctors wouldn’t stop the labor. She’s told 37 weeks is “technically full term enough.” So, then, many new moms go home and start with the natural inducers, so excited to start labor right away… thinking it’s perfectly safe. They try stimulating their nipples, drinking certain tea, and eating insanely spicy foods. They have all sorts of sex and often even try dangerous induction methods like castor oil. Usually, at 37 weeks, these methods won’t work very well, but as the cervix naturally ripens, they often do. And if they don’t by the time 39 weeks comes along, many women are more than happy to have their membranes stripped. By 40 weeks, they’re willing to accept pitocin at the slightest sign of contractions.

Early Labor

When we think of “early labor” we often think of the few hours before contractions become regular. In reality, labor is a long process that takes weeks. Those Braxton Hicks aren’t just sitting there doing nothing. They are strengthening the uterus; preparing it. Early labor starts when those irregular contractions start changing the cervix. This process can and is usually supposed to take weeks. So ,you may start having effective contractions, and then they will fizzle out. The doctors often say your labor “stalled” and are more than willing to offer help getting it back.

Here’s the deal though, pitocin hurts. Pitocin contractions hurt way more than normal contractions. Once pitocin enters the picture, a whole slew of other medical intervention is inherently also introduced. Stripping your membranes often leads to premature breaking of the bag of waters, which then guarantees in most hospitals that you have 48 hours to deliver naturally. This is not the way it’s supposed to be.

Says who? Well, for starters, regardless of what your OB says, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists  doesn’t recommend any intervention in a normal pregnancy before 42 weeks have been completed since a woman’s LMP. Maybe more OBs should listen to their own advising board.

What Difference Does it Make?

You hear all the time about babies being born perfectly healthy at 38 and 39 weeks. So what’s the big deal? Well, correct me if I’m wrong, but now that babies are being forced into arriving early on a regular basis, aren’t you also hearing about the plethora of children who are born via c-section because labor wasn’t progressing? Did it ever occur to anyone that maybe labor wasn’t SUPPOSED to progress? We also hear about all of these babies being born who won’t take to nursing, but will suckle a bottle with ease. Doesn’t anyone realize how much easier it is for a baby to suck on a bottle? Nursing involves more muscles. Maybe a couple more weeks developing would allow these babies the strength they need to latch right and suckle with strength.

Just because a baby can live being born a couple, or even a few weeks early, doesn’t mean they should be induced or prodded into birth as soon at their Estimated Due Date shows up on our calendar. It also doesn’t mean there are no consequences to inductions.

A normal, healthy pregnancy will produce a stronger, healthier baby, if the child is simply allowed to gestate naturally.

You see, pregnancy is normal.

 

67 Comments

  1. Whit

    I will admit to trying the spicy foods and walking near the end, not really expecting any of it to work. I had been told I was going to have an early labor because of medical issues. each week passing was torture and a blessing all at the same time. At 12 weeks we were told to hope we can last till 24 weeks. The odds of the baby surviving were better then. After about 30 weeks we were overjoyed we made it that far and continued. I ended up being 2 days early of my EDD. I had evry intention of having a normal delivery, not natural. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. My babies heart rate dropped and we were headed to a c section. My heart broke, I had so looked forward to actually giving birth not having my baby cut out of me. But if a healthy baby required cutting, so be it. Luckily everything else turned out great! I guess the point of my rambling is, I wish I would have just slowed down and enjoyed the uncomfortable 6 months of bedrest and not been so anxious for her to get here. I just couldn’t help wanting to see her face and meet my baby for the first time. 🙂 if I do it all over again I will not be so focused on hitting 40 weeks! Just let it happen as it should and will 🙂

  2. Agreed. I did the same thing with my son. When my daughter was on her way though, I slowed down a bit. I spent some time alone with her at night, inside my belly. I mean I know she was always there, but I spent time, rocking in the rocking chair and talking to her alone, just existing in pregnancy. Those were some of the most special moments of my life for sure.

  3. Thank you for this article, I will post on my new blog this weekend. I went 41-42 weeks with 3 of my 4 babies. While it was uncomfortable, I knew that in the end my babies would be strong and healthy. My midwife was increadibly supportive of course! My goal is to inform as many young mothers as possible that a “normal” pregnancy is not “normal” anymore in America. So many young moms are so uninformed…it’s time for that to change. I just want to scream it from the rooftops, but instead I started a blog, lol. Thanks again. J.S.

    • I’m not sure how you were planning to share it on your blog, but… Will you just provide a link when you share the info instead of quoting and giving credit? I’m all for spreading the word and never used to care about copy/pasting until google crawl decided if they saw two pieces with the same words that it makes both blogs “less interesting.” So, if you copy and paste, it would work against both of our blogs now. And make us both show lower on search engines. Which is a bummer really.

      I’m so happy for your children that they were allowed to develop naturally. I’m sure if more children were, breastfeeding wouldn’t be such a challenge, among other things…

  4. AmyH

    Thank you for this article! I was induced at 41 weeks with NO labor progression. I knew in my heart that my baby just wasn’t ready, but when my doctor kept insisting there was a greater risk of c-section the longer we waited, I gave in to the induction. Next time around I will be better informed and will insist on waiting at least until 42 weeks! (my mom had me at 42 weeks, perhaps it’s genetic?)

    • My cousin has delivered 10+ pound babies naturally at 42-43 weeks with no pain meds and no problems several times. A large baby doesn’t mean a c-section by any means. An induction however, often does lead to a c-section because the body and the baby aren’t ready, and problems occur when they aren’t ready. 🙂

          • Allison

            It’s actually not that rare. I am actually NOT a small framed woman, but my cousin-in-law is. We have both had 2 healthy babies, but both times ended up having c-sections because our pelvic inlets are just too small for the baby to come out (especially with my 42 week 9lb11oz “little” girl). Both times with our first babies, we went to on OBGYN, and the 2nd time around went with a midwife, hoping it would make a difference. The difference is care-quality was astounding, but the delivery outcome was the same. I still am going to try for a natural both next time, because I desperately want to have that experience, but I know that it just might not be possible.

  5. Tara West

    I was just talking to two different pregnant women over the weekend and one was only 36 weeks and her doctor was already talking about induction! When I asked her what was wrong she said “NOTHING! I am just too tired and ready to get her out”. I politely told her that this was WAYYY to early and a normal pregnancy is actually on average 41-42 weeks. She then told me “I am not waiting that long. Everyone gets induced now. It is perfectly normal and safe.”

    This saddens me. I was once in these women’s shoes. I have had three children, two of which were inductions. I did this because at 39 weeks the doctor told me “The baby was ready” and that if I waited too much longer the baby could get “too big”. I wish I would have researched all the issues myself and been more informed. I know doctors mostly mean well, but they are putting babies and mothers at risk. Medical doctors are looking for reasons to make a pregnancy abnormal and looking for reasons to induce. If I could do it over again I would use a midwife and my first two babies would probably have birthdays 2-3 weeks later than they do now.

  6. Holly

    I learned with my first pregnancy with twins how unreliable ultrasound is when they underestimated my childrens’ growth and forced me into a c-section after stopping labor for 3 days. I no longer put any credence to ‘due’ dates…I call them guess dates and gave myself a two week window with my last pregnancy (after getting 3 different guess dates). My baby came when ready, even though I thought she was coming at different points before, and as a result of my patience, I had only 4 hours of intense labor and a quick delivery. I think it puts so much unnecessary and unwanted expectation during pregnancy to set a time table and not let nature have its way. Sometimes, less is a lot more…

  7. Stephanie

    It is a natural thing to deliver. Babies come out whenever they’re ready, and forcing them out can cause a ton of problems. I went into natural spontaneous labour with both my girls, the first I was only 36 weeks when my doctor discovered I was 3+cm dilated and would more than likely deliver in a couple days. Two days later my water broke and it was showtime. With her, based on my lmp I should have been 8 weeks with my first ultrasound, they were 3 weeks off and she was only 5 weeks (terrifying to hear that your baby is measuring that small) but amazingly enough she was and continues to be healthy and happy. My second daughter measured small on ultrasound again, but I refused to go off my lmp for a due date. As it stands, she delivered measuring 27 weeks gestation (13 weeks early) and had a myriad of health issues during her 10 week NICU stay. As it stands, BOTH my daughters failed their first carseat tests (mandatory here if baby is born under 38 weeks) but with my oldest she was never monitored or anything so If she had issues, we didn’t know about them. You shouldn’t rush labour, shouldn’t rush the baby out. Coming from someone who had her kids come a little too early (moreso with number 2) just let your body do what it needs to do naturally, and enjoy pregnancy. It’s amazing home much you miss it when it ends too soon.

  8. A

    We use NFP, so I ALWAYS know the exact date of ovulation, and therefore, conception. I had two of my children exactly 38 weeks post-ovulation, which, considering at that point I always ovulated on day 14, put me at exactly 40 weeks. With my third pregnancy I went only 36w1d post ovulation (38w1d according to the doctor). I believe that many woman likely ovulate past day 14 because of the extended lunar cycle not being quite what science wants us to believe, which is why so many babies are born “past their due date”. Calculating from date of conception is SO much more accurate!

  9. Darci

    Using the start of the last period is so inaccurate, especially in my case. My periods were 42-45 days before I got pregnant. I ovulated around day 28 so going off my last period would put my baby as 2 weeks older than reality. For guess date purposes I told my care providers the date of conception as I really did not want to be pressured with an early induction. My baby was born 39 weeks after conception.

  10. I was charting my temps with my second daughter and therefore knew my exact ovulation date (which many don’t), so I had a heads up. I was ovulating days 22-23 of my cycle rather than the ‘average’ estimated 14. When I went in for my regular checkup I told them all of this and what my due date was they still INSISTED on using the date of my LMP and the chart that goes right along with that (THEY KNEW BETTER THAN ME???? hhmmm I live 24-7 with this body and they know more than I do??). I estimated my due date at July 18th and they insisted it was the 10th….I even asked them to meet me in the middle at day 14…but no, hey their charts know it all! I ended up going into labor and having my daughter on July 19th….which I knew was perfectly normal….if I had a hospital birth with a doctor, they would have pressured or even insisted on an induction (which makes me extremly sick to my tummy)! What a crock of doo doo! I wish more women would read and educate themselves about birth and their bodies. Birthing is a passageway into Motherhood and for me the birth of both of my children were the single most important, enlightning, and life altering changes in my entire being. Peace on Earth begins with Birth.

    • Liz Liddell

      I loved reading your comments, especially the reference to your body being something you have lived with yet the ‘professionals’ know more or better than you! I have always been at logger heads with so called ‘Medical Professionals’ on exactly that same point as well as my rights to CHOOSE what is right for me and/or my children.
      In my case my mother knew exactly when she fell pregnant with me and was certain of her due date by the 40 week ‘principal’… but as it turned out I didn’t come into the world until after 44 weeks. I weighed over 9 and a half pounds, was really fat and looked like a baby gorilla… which wasn’t such a good thing as I was born in an African hospital and my father gave my mother some seriously strange looks… I was covered in a pelt of black hair, had long finger and toe nails and was shedding my skin like a snake! LOL
      I have had 2 children of my own and both were born in the week that I expected them to… even though the doctors tried to tell me that I was overdue and the babies would be too large to give birth to naturally… my daughter was 8 and a half pounds and my son was over 9 and a half pounds… and I birthed them very well with no ramifications to my anatomy! LOL

  11. Siobhan

    I’ve experienced the difficulty of resisting induction very recently. My daughter was born at home (in a birth pool) at 20 days ‘overdue’ on June 21st. The hospital staff really wanted to induce at 41+5 but my husband and I weren’t keen on that at all. They kept asking if I was sure about my dates (which I was) and I nearly told them exactly when and where it happened just to shut them up. My baby wasn’t ready on her due date, I could feel it. Having said that we tried everything in the book to get things going more from fear of induction than anything else. If I have more children, I won’t worry next time- I’ll wait until they are good and ready. I’m glad I didn’t give in to the pressure put on me by medical staff, family members, random strangers etc. I’m sure my daughter’s birth would not have been the amazing, fairly quick, non-medicated and natural experience it was if I hadn’t done my research and had a very supportive husband and doula friend (at the end of the phone) to help. I urge all women out there to know the risks- not of increased stillbirth if you don’t get induced or whatever other stuff medical people might say- but the risks of being induced, using drugs like pitocin and the dangers thereof. I can’t make your decision for you, but for your own sake and your babies, at least make an informed decision.

  12. Lindsay Bramley

    I have slightly mixed feelings about this – I had my first very late, having had a perfectly normal pregnancy up until the 38 week mark. After about three weeks of begging for someone to have a proper look at me, the midwives eventually told me I was being silly and that Nature knew best, and my baby would come when it was ready, and just to chill. I booked myself in to the local consultant (at a hospital miles away, as all the local ones were going to midwife led care) and took my sorry self off to hospital. Turned out, as we discovered in my second pregnancy, that I have a “breakthrough” period just under one cycle into my pregnancy so my baby was HUGELY late. He’s fine, and always was – I got him back after I spent a week in intensive care after nearly pegging out in delivery (mostly owing to PET, which my midwife had also missed).

    So, although I’m right there with informed choice for mums, I’m not shooting the medics anytime soon, as they actually listened to me and took some notice and some time to run a few tests. Sometimes the sweet fluffy answer of non-intervention isn’t the right one.

  13. I also chart with NFP. Calculating based on ovulation has been so much more accurate for me! For this pregnancy, knowing ovulation is even more important than the “conception” date, since I’m one of the luck ladies who “conceived” 4 days before I ovulated. If we just went with the day we had sex, we would still be half a week or more off with the due date.

    Thus far, I’ve been pretty textbook: baby #1 was 40+6 based on ovulation, and baby #2 was 40+1 hour based on ovulation. I’m speculating this baby will be pretty close to the expected due date.

  14. Siobhan

    All of my pregnancies went to 41- 42 weeks except my last one which went to 43 weeks – according to the ultrasound dates – by my own dates I was 42 weeks exactly, so not unusual for me. I resisted induction on a daily basis, but did consent to monitoring on alternate days. I finally went into labour and gave birth in a birthing pool at home, with no drugs or any intervention whatsoever to a healthy 9lb 12oz baby boy – my biggest yet – not bad for a 41 year old!

    • Liz Liddell

      Congratulations and well done!
      If only women today would share more stories like yours.
      I am so impressed with your courage and personal confidence… you are a role model for how women should stand up for their rights and what they know to be best for them and their child. oxox

  15. Theber

    I was seeing a midwife and was hoping for a natural delivery. At 40 weeks and 5 days, my water broke naturally and my midwife said I had to come in to the hospital that very day and be induced, even though I was not having regular contractions. I was completely unprepared for this scenario. My husband and I thought about just staying home until I was really in labor, but we felt it would be disrespectful and damaging to the relationship with our caregiver to disregard her orders at the very end. We ended up going in to the hospital at the last possible moment that evening, and then when we were told we were up against a C-section deadline (24 hours from when my water broke) we went the whole pitocin-epidural route. Safe delivery, but a bit confusing. What does the research show about waiting after the bag of waters has ruptured?

  16. Cat

    Thanks for the info. I was lucky enough to have midwives who “let” me go to 42 weeks with my daughter. She may have been two weeks late but from the looks of her you would never know it. (At 42 weeks she was 7lbs 14oz.) I had started that pregnancy with an OB and had multiple ultrasounds -all agreed with the due date. This second time around I started with the midwives and we’ve already adjusted my due date two weeks later than LMP data would suggest. Here’s to hoping this little one gets to pick his/her birthday, too.

  17. Jessie

    I chart my temp so I knew the exact date of ovulation and showed it to my doctor. He agreed and based my “due date” off of that. I do have PCOS though so my cycles are VERY irregular so trying to get a due date off of my LMP is kind of a joke 😉 Even so my daughter decided she wanted to arrive “early” at 37 weeks. My water naturally broke and I delivered a healthy, but smallish, baby girl. Unfortunately my milk never fully came in and I think that is partially due to the fact that she wasn’t strong enough to nurse well and empty my breasts. Even using a top of the line pump and every milk boosting thing didn’t help so I only made it to a little past 3 months breastfeeding and it broke my heart. I think had she waited a little longer it may have made a difference. BUT I also had a partial placental abruption (I was on bedrest for 5 months) so maybe it was just time for her to be born so no ill-effects from the placenta issues occurred. Either way, she’s happy and healthy and that’s what’s important 🙂

  18. Chrissy

    With my first, I was a nervous 18 year old. Even though I had very strong feelings, instinctively, I felt like I was too young to really know what was going on with my own body. I wasn’t sure when my LMP was, but I knew basically when he was conceived, but that doesn’t matter when Ultrasound dating comes into play. I was shuffled around amongst a large clinic of docs and never saw the same one more than one, maybe two times. I was disappointed because it meant the doc I actually chose, was, of course, unavailable when I had him. Well, when I hit 36 weeks, they started checking my cervix and I was dilated some. I was at a 3 for weeks. They began telling me all about “precipitous labor” and that I would never make the 20-30 minute drive to the hospital from my house if I went into labor on my own. Everyone was so anxious for me to have him already (and I was so nervous that I was constantly believing myself to be in labor), we allowed ourselves to be talked into an induction the next day (I think I was at 39 weeks at that point, but I never will truly know). In my heart, I knew it was the wrong decision, but just like everything else I had wanted (wanted a midwife and homebirth, but was talked out of it because I’d never had a baby before and how could I know everything would be ok? that sort of thing), I just went with what my husband said (he was just as nervous and scared and misinformed as I was) and what my mom said. After all, she’d already done this! So, the next morning, they broke my water and luckily that’s all I needed. After only 8 hours, he was born. I realize that’s quick for a first timer, but it’s also not by any means “precipitous”. And then he was so tiny. He was only 6 pounds. When I saw how small he was, my heart sank, I knew he should’ve stayed in longer. My second child was a beautiful homebirth with a midwife and according to my calendar, she was born the day after her due date… according to theirs, she was a week late, but they didn’t care either way. She was perfect and 7 and a half pounds. And with my third, I had a different midwife (the other lady retired, sadly) and she was young and relatively new at it all. I went into labor 2 weeks before my due date and would progress then regress… on I went like that for 24 hours. Hard laboring getting nowhere. She eventually conceded that she couldn’t take care of me and took me to a hospital. Even the doctor there said I could just go back home and wait until labor really was established if I wanted to. I should’ve listened, but after laboring for 24 hours and no sign that it was going to truly stop anytime soon, I was ready to get it all over with and let him break my water. Again, he was so small when he was born. Just a little over 6 pounds. And he had trouble nursing. This time around, I’m living in a different city with a very wise and experienced midwife (much like with my 2nd child). I am confident that she will not rush anything. As a matter of fact, I am measuring a full 4 weeks ahead of my due date, but she is completely unruffled since I’m sure of my dates. I appreciate this. I am hoping things go just the same as they did with my 2nd child and I will go into labor on my own and have this child right when he or she is ready. But I also now realize that I may have a “trial of labor” (that’s what they call it, right?) with this one and I am prepared for that. I highly doubt my midwife would interfere even if I begged her to! I’m thankful to have read this. People are always annoyed with me because I never give them my “due date”, but rather, I just say, “I’m due at the end of January.” I refuse to commit to a certain date and everyone else should too!

    • dr. grow

      I absolutely agree with you. When people ask me for a due date they get a month. It’s not like most of them really keep the exact date in mind until you’re at that waiting and walking stage. Another way to put it is give them your 42 week date and say “I’m due BY the first of November” (which is when our fifth is due this fall). The great benefit of that is it cuts down all those excessive inquiries around your 40 week mark! Nobody likes giving birth while people look over your shoulder. I’m a cattle vet, and most cattle will stall their labor if you hang around nearby. They want to be alone, and so do I!

    • Not on hormonal birth control no. You do not ovulate when you are on the pill… at least if its working properly. 🙂

      But if you mean if there is a pregnancy after the pill didn’t work in those cases, it would still be hard to do that. Theoretically, it would be an antibiotic or missing a pill that would cause the woman to ovulate while on the pill and that could happen whenever really then.

  19. Rachel

    My babies were over their EDD by 13 days, 15 days, and 26 days. In each case OB’s recommended induction at 10 days over. However, I trusted my body that it would bring forth the babies when they were ready. With the first two, I had 2 healthy girls wieghing 8 and 9 pounds, without any drugs. The last baby was unfortunately induced in the end, because my midwife who also agrees that babies will come out when they’re ready was starting to feel uncomfortable with it. Interestingly, there were further complications unlike the first two that were not induced.

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  21. heather

    My daughter was induced at 38wks and, other than the induction itself, it was a natural delivery and she was (and is) completely healthy.

    However, I will NEVER use this to say “we did this and we were fine so your argument is invalid.” I *know* we were lucky. We made the decision because I had medical issues, and I was aware of the risks both for and against. I know that she was not just “2 weeks early”, she was “at LEAST 2 weeks early”, who knows how much longer she would have ‘cooked’ if left on her own. She was a good 7lbs — heavier than my older son who was under 7lbs at 10 days over EDD (in other words, just about “normal” time — though the doctor induced him by sweeping my membranes at a routine appointment without telling me first!) Again… I know we were lucky.

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  25. Rosalie

    I sort of agree with most said here. But when you have been in labor for six days (meaning you’re not sleeping at all) getting some help is necessary. My baby was 41 weeks when she arrived. I am so glad she was not early and was able to stay in as long as possible, but I was glad I was able to push her out when I did because being in labor for that long caused her to release meconium which could have been dangerous if I was just waiting and laboring at home, plus I was nearing the point of complete exhaustion. All is well now but if I ever have another baby and I go into labor, I will NOT labor for days/weeks! HELL no!

    • Dawn

      It is not nearly as scary to midwives as doctors make it out to be. I can’t remember all the specific study results, but I read something about six months ago when I was looking up midwife birth safety. I know that means nothing since I can’t remember any specifics. Perhaps a midwife in the community can elaborate as to why and also as to why it’s less likely to even have that happen with midwife assisted births.

      On a personal note, I do know that when being told there’s a deadline, our labor will fail to phttp://www.everythingbirthblog.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php#comments-formrogress. When asked to watch the clocks or when we feel pressured. Again, that is another area where midwives (and apparently cattle vets) excel where OBs don’t.

      • Rosalie

        I was seeing the midwives and they kept sending me home to labor. I went to the birthing center 3 times before they would help me. They just kept telling me to go home because I wasn’t 4 centimeters dilated. I was stuck at 2 centimeters. Being at home was not where I wanted to be. I live in a busy noisy beach community. My best friend was in town and was barking orders at me to go walk up and down the beach and do lunges which I had NO interest in doing. Who wants to be in their most intimate of situations while strangers are all around eating lunch, skateboarding, riding bikes, partying, etc. I was a very unhappy laboring woman at home which is why I didn’t plan a home birth. I wish they would have admitted me sooner and let me labor there in a nice quiet peaceful dimly lit environment. Instead I endured 5 car rides (1/2 hour each) while in a lot of pain. The last time I went there I basically told them I would go to the ER if they didn’t admit me. Later that night the midwife accidentally broke my water on a check and discovered meconium in the fluid. Once I was hooked up to the Pit drip and got an epidural, I felt a million times better. I was still able to have a vaginal birth. I think my laboring for days did stress the baby out some even though on their monitors her heart rate was good. I pushed for 4 hours and had an OB consult. He was great. He said I was making progress, baby was okay and that as long as I kept making progress he wouldn’t intervene. I am honestly leaning on an OB next time because the midwives were just a little too laid back. I don’t think an OB would have sent me home so many times and allowed me to near the point of exhaustion. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t let me labor there, in a much better environment. I think my labor would have went a lot quicker had I not been so stressed out and in so much pain.

  26. Mel

    Wonderful article! My first arrived at 40 weeks 6 days and my second at 41 weeks 2 days, both were wonderfully healthy and quick to latch on:) I will save this article to post to friends anytime they mention the word induction, or how tired they are waiting on baby:)

  27. Leila

    I carried my 2nd baby 43 weeks minus 1 day. Having been induced with my first baby just after 42 weeks (and being pressured by my doctors), I refused to go that rout again. It was SO painful and I was not respected as a woman with rights. They went so far as to refuse to release me from the hospital without my son getting unessisary shots/meds.
    With my 2nd baby, my husband and I hired a midwife, had a doula attend, and we had the most amazing home birth. The labor was very manageable – I was surprised! I could breathe and rest between contractions, eat when I wanted to, pee without needles or moniters strapped to me, etc. My midwife could listen to the baby’s heart just fine.
    I’ll admit, going that long made me nervous. But we would go to the hospital so they could observe the placenta, etc. It was just fine. (It doesn’t mean the doctors were happy with our choice – oh NO! But we kept them informed regardless of their head wagging and tongue clicking. After all, if an emergency arose, they would treat me. So they needed to be kept informed.)
    At 42 weeks I began using Evening Primrose Oil. I’d soak it on a cotton ball and instert it near the cervix at night. In the morning I’d remove it. My husband was only too glad to help out with contributing prostoglandins. Lol! Crazy dude. In the end, I realized that emotionally I was very tense. I wasn’t in a good place. I couldn’t please everyone with my decision to home birth. I had to let it go. So one night I took a warm bath, took deep breaths, and gave it all up to God. I realized this was between me, my husband, and Him. I allowed my body to relax – I had to mentally be aware of this and make my muscles let go. That night I began having light contractions. The next morning I had erratic contractions all over the scale that hurt like crazy. So I got into a warm bath. That’s all it took. My labor became regulated, calm, and under control. I was able to rest in between contractions. It never became “too much to handle” and I credit that to my amazingly supportive husband who labored with me, my doula, and my midwife. Atmosphere, support, and love are everything during such an intense moment. I had my daugther at 4am the next day (and I expected that would be the time frame). I’m very glad I didn’t induce!

  28. shanae

    Every pregnant women everywhere needs to read this!! When i was pregnant with my son i was the most stubborn bitch you’d ever seen! haha i wanted to do it my way, natural, no drugs, no interventions because i could do it all by myself! I ended up having quinny 6 days early from my 3rd guessed due date. In all the scans he was 97th percentile but i just thought i was further along.
    My labour was 8 hours long, my contractions were even and strong but i could handle them fine just rocking on my hands and knees and as soon as i got to the hospital i was fully dilated and ready to go. He was 8lb 5oz and my water broke all by itself 20mins before i delivered him, No drugs and only a few stitches.
    I have 3 friends that got induced and it went so badly for them so they no how to say NO next time around.

  29. Petra

    I have 4 children and baby #5 on the way. It was very interesting reading your blog about induction. I have to totally agree with you. I was induced with my third for no reason at all, except that my doctor happened to be in the labor ward that day and I wanted her to deliver my baby. I ABSOLUTELY hated it and so did my husband!! We have never done this but it was a bad experience. For one, yes, the contractions hurt more, but the biggest reason we hated it was that my daughters heart rate dropped drastically and the doctors came running in to see what was going on. I thought to my self, “Lord, forgive me for taking this into my hands and listening to the doctors instead of letting her come when she is ready and when You have appointed for her to come.” I was so ashamed in a way and thought to myself, NEVER AGAIN!!!! Well, me 4th baby I was actually 15 days late according to my “estimated” due date. The doctors tried to get me to agree to get induced, but I was standing my ground and said, no way. They just monitored my amniotic fluid. She came when she was ready and it was quick and easy. The doctor even told me how nasty my placenta was, now that I think of it, maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be instead of all fresh and pretty, if a placenta can even be called pretty, it’s gross either way.
    However, I did have one of my babies early and one right on his due date. But then again, I’ve always had irregular periods, so the doctors could never really predict my due date.
    I understand when there are complications; some people do have to be induced, but I hate how induction and c-section happy every one is. According to the Bible, it is a very monumental moment when a baby comes through the birth canal. It is considered a blessing. Anyway, just a little extra info.
    Thank you for this article. My experience and your information on this blog will be a good tool for me to warn other mommas who are pregnant right along with me.
    Lets encourage women to do the best thing for their babies and in the long run, for themselves.

  30. Jennie

    I was 18 when my first baby was born. I knew nothing about my body except that I had 60 day cycles(!). My OB ignored this information, and calculated a May 31 EDD based on LMP. Then at my 20 week ultrasound, they bumped it up to May 23. 🙁 knowing what I do now, I think I was “due” around June 17. I was induced the first time on May 26, and thank heaven my OB ‘let’ me wait till Monday. Then I skipped the next 2 inductions, and my OB called and threatens a section. 🙁

    Ds1 was born June 8 and was 9 3 and they kept telling me how lucky I was he didn’t get bigger. 🙁

    Ds2 I knew my DOC and he was born the day after my guess date. 🙂 it was so perfect and real. <3

  31. Kat

    I was just diagnosed with gestational diabetes and though my blood glucose numbers are great (most all considered “normal” after a couple weeks learning curve), the consulting Doctor for my midwives practice told me I didn’t have to deliver in hospital, thank goodness, but that I would HAVE to deliver by my due date. I’m not even sure I got the initial date correct (I was quite bad at consistent charting). It’s so important the the baby be born healthy and to me that means giving him and me all the chances for a natural birth possible- I don’t want to be induced!!! Oh- and btw- I have never, ever had regular periods- before hormonal birth control, I only had them about 5 or 6 times a year. I even feel like I’m being strong armed by the midwives at this point -I know they have to be cautious, but other than this cloud I’m very very healthy -have only gained about 23 pounds at 34 weeks and started out the pregnancy at 116 lbs. Looking at back up practices but still …

    What’s a girl to do??

    For now, I’ll go for one of my 3 daily walks to be sure he doesn’t get too big and hope he and the doctors agree on when he should arrive.

  32. Claire

    As an “impatient mum” (I always go into labour and deliver in the early 30s, fortunately with healthy babies) it really saddens me to hear women wishing their pregnancies away. I’d trade the stretchmarks for term, but only if the prematurity doesn’t go to another woman, wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

    • Dawn

      I managed to keep my first in for quite some time, but started with PTL around 24-28 weeks. (28 weeks was when it changed from PT contractions to PTL because of cervical changes.) It was so scary. I’m still not sure if it was from stress because my first child was stillborn or if it was from the procedure (in which they shoved sea weed sticks into my cervix to ripen it enough to deliver the child I had lost.) At any rate, that was absolutely a nightmare, and I feel so sad for you that this is how your pregnancies all went, only to deliver early on top of it. Thanks for sharing your kind words.

  33. Kristie

    While I understand this articles point, I was induced on my edd because they found my daughters heart rate was dropping due to a week of latent labor contractions. So induction has its place and I’m certain that my daughter would have been in much more distress had I “let nature take its course”.

  34. stef beresford

    having had to have my daughter 8 and half weeks early or both of us would die i just dont understand why people get to 36 weeks and desperately want the baby out, take the time to just enjoy things they way they are and enjoy being pregnant and kn0w you’re growing that bubba a little bit stronger every day x

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