I was fortunate enough to spend the weekend in the company of KG herself: the inspirational Katharine Graves, and midwifery guru: Kemi Johnson. We talked at length about the fallacy of the 'due date'. Kemi ranted about it on FB earlier this week and I've decided to have my say too!
Due dates can be a delusion and the cause of extreme and unnecessary stress, definitely not something we want to experience during pregnancy! Stats show that only 4-5% of babies are in fact born on their 'due date'.
Various declarations have been made - with insufficient evidence - claiming that the 'average' length of pregnancy is 40 weeks. However, whilst in the UK full-term pregnancy is generally considered to be 40 weeks, in France it's considered to be 41 weeks and in Kenya it's 43 weeks! Confused?!
The WHO (World Health Organisation) considers full-term pregnancy to be anywhere between 37 and 42 weeks, which is much more realistic, as most babies arrive somewhere between these weeks. However, some babies like to stay in there for up to 43 weeks and some are born at a normal size and perfectly naturally at 44 weeks, some even a few days more.
There are so many factors to take into consideration, rather than becoming transfixed by the hospitals given 'due date' calculations, which are based on the dates of a woman's 28 day cycle; assume that she has regular periods and that she ovulated on day 14! Lengths of pregnancy will vary. IVF mum's who only 'did it once' (!) know exactly when they conceived, yet they're often given a 'due date' which doesn't correlate! Scans too, are not always 100% accurate.
With this in mind, it's a good idea to dispel this ridiculous notion of a 'due date' and opt instead, for a 'due window' or a 'due month' - it worked for Kate Middleton! You could say, for example; '"Our baby is due in March." As soon as you have a 'due date' you are immediately put under pressure; you may panic if baby doesn't arrive 'on time' and stimulate the sympathetic nervous system: your fear response.
So, give yourself a break: reframe your thinking - and your language: baby will arrive when baby is ready! Rethink your expectations: a baby born at 37 weeks is not an 'early' baby, it's full-term; just as a baby born at 43 week is not a 'late' baby. Put simply: women have different lengths of pregnancies!
Why not think of it another way and treat every day past your 'due date' as a gift! Imagine all the things you could do (which you certainly won't be able to enjoy once baby is earth side - for a while at least!) You could: go to the cinema without worrying about childcare... go for a walk without packing; go out for dinner - just the two of you; read a book, curled up in a chair without interruption; enjoy a soothing pregnancy massage; book a yoga class; get your nails done - they'll look fabulous in the photos; enjoy a beautifully relaxing bath; sleep all night without being woken; go to the theatre; have your hair done! I could go on... and on...
Whatever you do - enjoy your pregnancy! It's a truly magical time to be treasured. As long as mum and baby are both well - there really is no rush.
If you're ready to begin your Hypnobirthing journey the BirthWright way, then please - get in touch so we can start planning!
All the love,
Your body, your baby, your birth.
Helen Wright: Double Mama to two gorgeous little humans; Positive Birth Coach and Postnatal Revival Expert, is on a mission to support parents achieve the right births for them and their babies and help them to thrive in the precious postnatal period and beyond.
Helen is an experienced KG Hypnobirthing Teacher, Positive Birth Coach and Creative Genius behind BirthWright Affirmation Cards; she's also a Certified Placenta Remedies Specialist with the Placenta Remedies Network, a Registered Breastfeeding Helper with the Breastfeeding Network and she co-hosts a monthly Family Meet Up & Support Group in the East End of London where she lives.