In the U.S. today, about 4 percent of babies are breech at full term, which means they’re in position to exit the uterus feet- or butt-first rather than headfirst. Before 1959, virtually all such babies were safely delivered vaginally; today, most are born by Cesarean section.
Ask any mom whose pregnancy went into extra innings: Right around your due date, the phone calls, emails and texts start coming: “Is anything happening?” “What does the doctor say?” “Wellll????” Playing the waiting game during the last few weeks of pregnancy is hard, but it becomes especially difficult when 40 weeks turn into 41 . . . or 42. But the first thing to know is this: Your due date is just an estimate. In fact, only 5 percent of babies are born on theirs.
Oregon, my home state, is being heralded as the latest state to take a hard line on out of control c-sections and inductions. Here’s what the headlines say:
Hospitals take 'hard stop' on early elective C-sections and inductions -
Oregon is the latest state where some hospitals are refusing to do the procedures before 39 weeks of pregnancy.
I have two friends who are due at the end of August. Both are first timers, healthy and had fairly easy pregnancies. There’s been a little nausea here and there and a few aches and pains, but other than that they’ve both been really fortunate to have lovely pregnancies.
Melanie had a pretty good idea when she got pregnant. She knew roughly when she’d had her last period and more or less when she and her boyfriend “did it.” That’s how her doctor determined her due date – the 40-week mark when her baby would be more or less expected to deliver on his own (give or take a week or so). She had a normal pregnancy without any pesky health issues other than a persistently achy ligament across her pubic bone and groin. Her doctor diagnosed this as round ligament (the one that attaches to her ever-growing uterus) pain, told her to take Tylenol and take it easy.
While your birth experience will be as unique to you as your new baby, the phases of labor and delivery are the same for everyone. During pregnancy the opening of your uterus, the cervix, is firm and closed. As your due date approaches, you may experience mild contractions that help prepare your cervix for delivery: It becomes soft, stretchy and thin, a process called effacement.
An orgasm involves a series of uterine and vaginal contractions, but there have been contradictory studies about whether it can hasten labor. Do keep in mind that if your pregnancy is high risk, you should check with your doctor before you engage in sex late in your pregnancy.
The longest weeks of my life were the ones right before my due dates. I was convinced with every pregnancy there was no way I'd go full term. I'd contract away for weeks in advance. I predicted undoubtedly 30-40 pound giants. So really, under those circumstances, what woman could go the full 40 weeks? Apparently, I could and they all turned out to be reasonably sized babies.
What do you do if you won't go into labor or your labor has stalled? What do you do if your baby has decided never to be born? What if your water has been broken for 24 hours and you still haven't had a contraction? How about if you've been 5 cm for 8 hours and your doctor is talking Cesarean? What do you do? Sounds like it's time for some vitamin P. That's Pitocin—the synthetic version of oxytocin. Oxytocin is the hormone that runs around your body to make your uterus contract. Under ideal circumstances, you'll make enough to squirt that baby out on your own.
So, when's that baby due? How many months along are you? Why did your ultrasound pick a different date? When is the baby old enough for induction? Are some women really pregnant for 10 months? These aren't always easy questions to answer. Readers want clarification on nailing down the due date, which is especially important when scheduling inductions.
Ten days past my due date, I was tempted to try every old wives’ tale I came across to induce labor. I ended up taking a girlfriend’s advice and went out for a spicy Indian dinner; by the time the check came, my contractions had started. Coincidence? To find out, we lined up some often-tried labor starters and asked which ones work, which don’t and which are downright dangerous. Because many common remedies not covered here, especially herbal ones, have not been scientifically studied, no one knows for sure if they work—and, more important, if they’re safe.