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  • Writer's pictureerinbetterbirth

Due dates are not evacuation dates!

Let’s talk ”due dates”… it’s easy to start stressing as you approach your “due date”, especially when the texts start flooding in asking if you’ve had baby yet, and your midwife starts talking about booking you in for induction. But it’s important to stay calm especially as you near the end of your pregnancy. Anxiety over when baby will arrive may actually prolong things as stress hormones aren’t conducive to giving birth!

Knowing HOW your due date is calculated can provide a little insight and maybe some relief when your baby decides not to make an appearance despite your scoffing pineapple and walking up and down stairs sideways…. The “due date” is calculated using a formula devised in the 17th century ( yes THAT long ago!) by a German professor called Naegele, who based HIS theory on research done by someone else called Boerhaave, and HIS research only included a sample size of a minuscule 100 women! Hardly the gold standard in medical research! The calculation, adding seven days to your last period and then adding 9 months, is far from accurate, and there was no indication whether the seven days should start from the beginning or end of your last period, making the calculation even more of a guesstimate! The gestation period of your baby is estimated using some archaic and not very robust research! Before modern medicine, the arrival of a baby was calculated by counting 10 moon cycles, which is approximately 42 weeks. This is 2 weeks longer than the current and “modern” estimate of 40 weeks.

As a guide, most women give birth between 37 and 42 weeks. It’s common for midwives and obstetricians to start discussing induction before you reach 40 weeks, ranging from cervical sweeps to synthetic oxytocin. It’s important to remember that each of these interventions had both benefits and risks and can have a knock on effect on birth, so it’s vital to ask about what these are and do your own research before consenting. And that’s key…. consent. A woman does not HAVE to agree to an induction if she does not want one. Make an informed decision and go with what you feel is right, whether it’s to accept a sweep or decline it and try natural methods of induction such as acupressure, reflexology or just good old cuddles!

As for the well meaning friends who may hound you, instead of telling people your due date, giving them a due “month” can take some of the pressure and expectations off. But whatever you do, try to stay as calm and relaxed as you can. Natural production of oxytocin is the best thing you can do!

If you’d like to find out more about induction, both medical and natural, plus a whole lot more about birth, get in touch about my hypnobirthing courses.

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