This week is the 39th and final week of the normal gestation period. Of course, there are no guarantees that the baby will be born at the end of the week, and as a matter of fact I would even bet that she won’t. Only 5% of all babies are born on their expected delivery date. Most are born a few days to a couple of weeks after.
During the whole pregranancy, I tried to read as much as I could about what’s to be expected, and try to keep a step or two ahead of the game so that there aren’t any surprises. That way I can be there to explain to my wife the abnormalities that may be happen. I read several articles, medical publishing, watched a few baby deliveries on TV and on YouTube, even watched an actual abortion video (which I don’t recommend anyone do without a barf bag nearby). But one of the best and informative sources of information I could find, came from a online forum for pregnant women. Reading their first hand experience was a lot more informative than any medical journal.
At 39-40 weeks, I have noticed that many women tend to be a bit more tired and emotional, which is understandable. I even read a couple of posts of women just outright ranting and YELLING that they want the baby out of them NOW. I kind of laughed to myself, while also feeling their pain. In contrast, my wife has been a real trooper through this. She does occassionally complain of discomfort, but she’s never gotten really emotional about it. And overall, this has been a text book perfect pregnancy (knock wood). The baby is in good shape, and at good weight. Hopefully this will continue through out birth and the upbringing.
So what happens if the baby isn’t born on Saturday? As I said earlier, it wouldn’t be a big deal. Some women opt for [[induction]], but I don’t think that this is the way to go. From what I have read, induction should NEVER be done without a VERY good reason. Artificial induction should only be performed if:
1. the baby is extremely late. 42 weeks is considered to a good time to induce labor, because the chances of still births increases for any post term pregnancy that goes beyond 42 weeks.
2. it looks as if the baby is no longer gaining weight, losing weight, or considered small for its genstational age.
3. if there is a medical danger to the mother or baby’s health.
I read a post by woman who was 37 weeks pregnant, and decided that shedidn’t want to be pregnant anymore, so sheã€€insisted on having laborã€€induced artificially. She also wanted to surprise her mother on her birthday with a new grandchild. At 37 weeks the baby is considered full term, but this doesn’t necessarily mean fully developed. In many cases, even a full term baby doesn’t have sufficiently developed lungs to survive without a breathing aparatice, which was exactly what happened to this woman. Note: there are theories out there that suggest that labor is brought on by a chemical signal from the baby to the mother’s brain when the baby’s lungs are fully matured. See this 2004 article in the Seattle times. The baby did survive, but not without somebreathing complications. Why subject a child to that kind of discomfort just to satify the mother’s impatience? I was pretty disturbed and even angry when I read that. A baby is not a piece of toast that can be pulled out of the toaster just because one “thinks” its done, and I don’t understand any doctor would undergo such procedure without knowing the consequeces of what could happen. At any rate, thankfully for the woman, the baby seems to be doing well, otherwise I don’t think she would be able to live with herself.
So, are there any ways of naturally inducing labor? I’ve heard two sides of the coin to this argument. Some tend to believe that some foods, especially spicy foods can bring on labor. Ever wonder how Prego Pizza got its name? Well, read this page and you will know why. Pineapples are said to work as well (we just bought a whole pineapple yesterday).
Other less credible theories suggest that such that driving on bumpy roads, long walks, intercourse, castor oil, and a whole host of other things that people say helps induce labor, but I’m not sure if they are just merely myths, or if there is some truth behind them. But either way, we are almost there!