Let Baby Squat or Try to Evict?
A healthy, full-term pregnancy can technically last as long as 42 weeks. But for many of us, any amount of time past our estimated due date and we feel overbaked and ready to do whatever it takes to have a baby. If your doctor offers to induce you, should you take her up on the offer?
I’ll be 41 weeks this Friday, and then it’s up to me when and if I want to try induction in the following handful of days. According to my OB, I’m currently not all that favorable for an induction, since I’m only dilated one centimeter and my cervix is still pretty high. Of course that could change quickly, but even if it doesnâ€™t, I could still request to be induced.
What’s a little crazy is that at this point there’s not a medical need for this baby to be born in the next week: the amniotic fluid level is good, the baby and her heart rate look great, my blood pressure is fine, and I’m not measuring big. The sole reason to induce this weekend â€“ and put myself at risk of a failed attempt and a C-section â€“ really would be out of pure impatience on my part. Am I considering taking such a superficial risk? Letâ€™s just say Iâ€™m not completely ruling it out.
Womenâ€™s bodies have their own clocks that generally function correctly; the majority of babies arrive within two weeks of their due date. But the problem is that due date! For years it’s set up doctors and moms to feel OK about inducing up to three weeks before, although new definitions of full-term by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology hope to change that. Now it still remains as the target eviction date for baby, and any time beyond Â it seems like unlawful squatting on the part of the baby, not just to the mom bearing the load but to seemingly everyone she comes into contact with, even old-timers like grandparents who should know better than to expect that every baby to be an on-time arrival.
As a society we’re increasingly instantly gratified: we can stream our favorite TV shows at the touch of a button, find immediate answers to our most pressing questions with a simple search, and have any food we want delivered to our homes in minutes. Growing and birthingÂ a baby is one area where we can’t really do much to accelerate the process. Even using modern medicine to convince a baby to evacuate the womb could take two or three days, and could increase the risk of C-section by as much as 67%. So is meeting your baby maybe a few days earlier than nature intended, is ditching most of the big, awkward belly, worth the risk? That, as my doctor tells me, is up to you.
Katie Quirk is a mom of two, a boy and a girl. She lives and writes in Seattle, WA.