‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year….’
During the festive season most businesses work with a skeleton staff in order to give employees quality time with their families, maternity wards are no different.
But what does this mean for you if you’re pregnant and your due date is over the festive season?
Unfortunately, it means you’ll be under increased pressure to medically manage your birth either by induction or cesarean, and it may be for convenience rather than for any medical reason.
If you’re not experiencing an urgent medical situation, you will have time to do some research on benefits, risks, and alternatives to having an induction.
It’s true that every year many pregnant people and their babies’ lives are saved by medical staff, so induction and cesarean sections are very important. There are lots and lots of reasons for these procedures. But the fact that it is Christmas shouldn’t be one of them!
The World Health Organisation (WHO) does not talk about ‘due dates’, they talk about your ‘due period’. And your ‘due period’ can be between 37 and 42 weeks pregnant. I think you will agree: that is quite a window.
A few facts to think about:
- 96% of babies don’t come on their ‘due date’.
- 87% of spontaneous births happen in week 41+.
- Ultrasounds have an error margin of +/- 5 days, meaning that your ‘due date’ may not actually be your due date!
It’s clear that, left to their own devices, nearly nine out of 10 babies will make their appearance of their own accord, naturally, after the due date. And, whilst it’s important to be looking out for signs that your baby is struggling, being overdue should not be a reason in itself to get induced.
Are you feeling pressured to book an induction or cesarean this festive season?
If this is you, what can you do?
- Nothing. If there’s nothing wrong, do nothing. Wait. Eat mince pies and watch Christmas movies.
- Ask questions. Always remember there’s nothing wrong with asking questions.
- What are the benefits to you and your baby?
- What about the risks?
- What are your alternatives?
- Breathe and take your time. If there’s no emergency and no one’s at risk, try and stay calm.
- If your doctor hasn’t identified any real risks to you or your baby’s health, feel able to say no. Your birth, your choice.
Pause, breathe, stay calm…It’s your baby, your birth, your choice.
Although it’s good to understand the pressure the medical team is under, if you feel that your induction is being done out of convenience, you shouldn’t settle for an experience you don’t want.
Santa always manages to deliver the presents and Mary & Joseph made it to the stable. Your baby will arrive when it is ready and the Wise Men (and Women) will still be there to serve your needs in the case of an emergency.
One thing is for sure: there will be a miracle and your eyes will sparkle like the Star of Bethlehem when you meet your baby.
Note: All statistics are from the AIMS (Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services) or WHO websites.