Counting down to Christmas can be a bit like counting down the weeks until your baby is born. Christmas, however, can be relied upon to happen every year on 25 December, whereas only around 5% of babies will arrive on their due date.
Whilst many of us know this fact, it can still feel quite stressful to spend 9 months focused on a date that’s etched in your brain, which might then come and go without baby arriving. And whilst we convince ourselves that we’ll be fine if this happens, I don’t think there’s a pregnant woman out there who hasn’t been a bit disappointed when it does. So here are a few things for you to consider…
- Babies are “supposed” to be born at some point between 37 and 42 weeks, so consider counting down to 42 weeks (not the usual 40), as this is the point when you’re technically overdue.
- Tell people the month you’re due in or give them your 42-week date when they ask, rather than giving them the due date on your pregnancy notes. You’ll thank me for it if you do go past 40 weeks as it will save you hundreds of frustrating “any news?” conversations & messages.
- Your due date is calculated using a formula called “Naegele’s rule” which was developed in 1778! I’m sure there’s scope for refinement given what we’ve learned since then. And we can’t even agree on due dates across the developed world – did you know that in France they’re based on 41 weeks of pregnancy, not 40 like here in the UK?
- Feel free to eat all the curry and pineapples you like, and have as many sweeps as you feel comfortable with, but know that labour won’t start until you feel safe and relaxed and certain chemical & physiological changes have taken place in both you and baby. The more stressed and anxious you are about baby’s impending arrival, the more you’ll inhibit your body’s ability to produce oxytocin (which is the hormone needed for labour). Trying to “help” make baby arrive “on time” can often be counterproductive.
- Instead focus on stimulating oxytocin by relaxing in whatever way works best for you, using affirmations like “I will meet my baby soon” and “I trust my body to birth when the time is right” and go with more helpful methods like cuddles, orgasms and nipple stimulation (not necessarily in that order).
You won’t be pregnant forever, I promise!