From the first positive pregnancy test to the birth of your baby, you may become obsessed with one magical date: your estimated due date (EDD). Unfortunately, the due date has gained more importance than ever over the last few decades. Nowadays, modern medicine even has you believe that going over your due date can be potentially dangerous for you. Most doctors will induce by 41 or 42 weeks at the very latest. Even midwives start getting uncomfortable at that point and may send you to the hospital for an induction.
The Due Date Is an Estimate
Your due date is supposed to be an estimate, hence the name “estimated due date”. Yet, everyone seems to think babies should be born on or around their due date, with only a few days leeway either way. That’s simply not the case. Yes, there are few women who go past 42 weeks of pregnancy, but the reason is that the majority of them get induced beforehand. But unless mother or baby are not doing well, there’s no reason to induce a pregnancy just because it’s gone past a not-so-magical due date.
Every pregnancy is different. While it’s fine to say that most babies are born between 38 and 42 weeks, it’s not okay to require this to happen. For most women, it’s impossible to determine the date of conception. But even if you know that date, that doesn’t guarantee your due date is accurate. Some babies just need to cook a little bit longer.
Inductions Are Risky
Inducing labor without any criteria other than the date is risky. In fact, it’s riskier for both mother and baby. Even if inductions didn’t lead to an increased use of epidural, C-sections, and other interventions, labor itself is going to be harder on both the mother and the baby. A baby who might handle normal labor well could easily become distressed when the mother is giving Pitocin. Contractions are stronger, and simply just not natural for the woman’s body.
Another problem with induction is that they don’t always work. Giving a woman Pitocin is not guaranteed to start her labor. Guess what happens when labor doesn’t start? A C-section is next. Although if you think about it, the fact that you couldn’t induce her body to go into labor just meant that neither she nor the baby were ready for it, which is precisely why you should have just left her alone.
You Need to Have Faith
There are certainly times when an induction becomes necessary. If the mother is not handling pregnancy well or the baby is in distress, then labor might need to be induced. However, this is simply not the case with the majority of pregnancies. In fact, some women are induced before their due date just because they’re sick of being pregnant. Before you submit to an induction, you should consider the risks of inducing before worrying about the risks of a prolonged pregnancy. In most cases, it’s much safer for everyone involved to continue the pregnancy until you go into labor naturally. And trust me, this will happen eventually.