OK, I’ve officially made it to 40 weeks!
Now what? Every day I ask myself and my baby, “Is today the day?” I know I should stay distracted and continue doing … what? Reading more baby books? Getting the baby room ready (already done)? Packing my hospital bag, again? To be honest, I’m just ready for my little one to arrive so I can put to use all the fantastic knowledge I’ve gained from months of reading and research! It’ll be easy, right?! (Are you laughing already?)
The anticipation, the restless nights, the boring days filled with activities that used to be fun and are now just ways to fill up time. I must admit though, today was a great day! I went to Soggy Peso (a beach bar/restaurant) with my friends, B. (due three weeks after me) and L. The ocean temperature was perfect and the dogs loved running up and down the beach!
To be honest with you though, I can’t stop thinking about when our baby will arrive. (I guess my little one didn’t read my previous post about full moon babies, since the full moon window of opportunity has passed!) To go along with my obsession, I’ve looked up some interesting statistics:
The most popular day for births in the U.S. is Wednesday. (hmmm … that would be tomorrow!)
More newborns arrive during July, August, and September – with August hosting the most U.S. baby births in 2006. (I think we’ve got that one in the bag.)
A normal pregnancy can last anywhere from 37 to 42 weeks. Only 4% of babies are actually born on their “due dates”.
So, this got me thinking … why do we want so much control over this process called “giving birth” that is really very natural for our bodies? Is it fear? Is it the need for control? Is it our belief in science and medicine? Is it cultural? And why in the world would we still use a formula for calculating a woman’s due date made popular by a German obstetrician, Franz Naegele, in 1838, not even based on empirical data?! He averaged gestational length to be 40 weeks from the first day of the mother’s last menstrual period, assuming that the mother ovulates on day 14 of a 28 day menstrual cycle. (Because we all know that every woman has a regular four week cycle and ovulates every month exactly on day 14 … not!)
Based on the continued adherence to Naegele’s Rule, we now have the following happening:
22.5% of U.S. births in 2006 began with labor being induced (more than double since 1990), with “post-date” pregnancy being the most common reason for induction (25.1% in Australia).
31.1% of U.S. births in 2006 were by cesarean deliveries (Australia is about 30%).
The low-birth-weight rate has risen 24% since the mid-1980s. (Induced labors, c-sections, older maternal age, and fertility therapies are reasons given for the trend.)
If you’ve read my previous posts about having a baby in Mexico, you’ll know that my hubby and I want a natural birth with no medications (unless necessary). From my research tonight, I discovered that in 1990, Dr. Robert Mittendorf and his cohorts studied 17,000 births and thereby calculated the average length of uncomplicated human pregnancy to be an average of 41 weeks and 1 day from the first day of the mother’s last menstrual period for first time mothers. Even the ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) does not recommend interfering with a normal pregnancy before 42 completed weeks.
And yet, most doctors don’t want to allow pregnancies to go beyond 40 weeks!
So, now that I’ve reached my “due date”, what do we do?
We just keep playing the waiting game!
Sources for above statistics: