Thursday 10 February 2005

back away from the news groups

I really must stop reading the Insane Pregnancy Bulletin Board because it irks me so. It's not that people panic about the most inane issues (we've all been there, I'm sure) it's some of the attitudes about labour and birth that I find so disheartening. I have read countless messages from women who will demand an induction as soon as they go over their due dates - literally, once the 40 weeks are up. Some are scheduling c sections in lieu of induction, but for the same reason. There seems to be this fear about going over due dates, however no one understands the fact that the "perfect" 40 week pregnancy is hugely inaccurate. It's like we've failed somehow if our due date comes and goes without producing a baby, and in the weeks leading up to this dreaded date, women frantically stuff themselves with spicy food, take bumpy car rides, and drag their husbands back into the bedrooms for one last go. At 35 weeks, some are already asking how they can induce labour naturally and start popping raspberry leaf capsules (which don't actually induce labour, but that's another issue) and squirting evening primrose oil on their cervixes. I wish I was kidding.

I totally understand that the last couple of weeks of pregnancy can be frustrating, boring, uncomfortable, and how anxious you can get not knowing when the Big Day will arrive. There is a loss of control, a feeling of inadequacy of missing the due date (and having to contend with all the "haven't you given birth yet?" comments), and an urgency to get your body back. I just wish that the 40 week deadline wasn't reinforced by the medical community and that they spent more time explaining to women that only 3% actually give birth on their due dates; missing this date is not the end of the world. We spend our pregnancies counting the weeks and even the days (I fully admit to doing this myself), being measured by scans and fundal heights to confirm the due date, and then being told that we have a maximum of 12-14 days after this (relatively arbitrary) date before they haul us in for induction. Whatever happened to just giving birth when you go into labour naturally (if there is no medical reason for induction, of course), regardless of what day this actually occurs?

Right, that's it. I'm gonna go read Heat magazine now and watch daytime TV.

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