Are you suffering from the pressure to be induced ? Well maybe my story can help you.

This time last year I was 5 days past my due date. Well, the due date that my midwife had given me. I was doing everything I could to stay calm and present despite knowing that I was hurtling fast into the pressure for induction zone.

I had already batted away my consultant on several occasions, what with me being a high-risk older mum (mmm right!), so I didn’t really feel that I was being allowed to stay calm. I felt more like I had to be in a defensive mode to claim my right to allow my body and my baby to unfold at a natural pace. That experience taught me a lot and one that I am grateful for.

In navigating this challenging path, there were certain questions that kept popping into my mind that I couldn’t shake. Questions to which I wanted the answers;

  • Were older mums really at a higher risk?
  • Surely lifestyle factors are more important than age?… I was 6 weeks over 40 for goodness sake!
  • What evidence was there for placentas no longer sustaining baby?
  • How did they calculate this due date anyway?
  • When do mothers typically give birth if nature is allowed to unfold at its own pace?

The thing is, I can be like a dog with a bone and I’ll keep digging until I find what I need. This quest forced me to dive down deep into research papers in order to find the answers I was looking for. I couldn’t believe that this information was so well hidden from view. Surely all pregnant women have these questions… don’t they? Let me jsut say that I spent quite a bit of time in this researching mode. Thank goodness I was on maternity leave, because it felt like a full time job! But I was grateful for the time I spent on it because the more I read up on all of this, the more confident I became in resisting the pressure for me to be induced.

What I learned from my experience of the pressure to be induced

Well, for starters , the risks I was being warned about were being MASSIVELY blown out of all proportion. But, the kicker for me was that all this seemed to hinge on my due date. And here lies the problem.

Due dates are red herrings!

The due date that I had been given of September 20th was probably way off. It was based on my 20 week scan and one thing that I learned was that scans become more and more unreliable when it comes to predicting due dates, as your pregnancy progresses. The most accurate being your 7 or 8 week scan. But even these can be up to 2 weeks off. By the time you have a 20-week scan the date can up to 3 weeks off. So given they were basing this on my 20 week scan, I knew I had some time to play with.

The next MAJOR discovery for me was the farce that is the due date calculation method. I’ve blogged and podcasted about that already so I won’t go into all of it again. But when I re-calculated my due dates using the science-based methods (get your cheat sheet of the science-backed methods by clicking on the box below), my new dates were coming out early October.

Click Here to Get Your Due Date Cheat Sheet

Once I was sure of my information.. and doubly and triple sure…. I asked to have my due date changed on my records and for this to be taken into account when considering induction. I happen to know my conception date too, so you’d think that they would be open to considering my new due date. Ha! Actually NO! The consultants didn’t care. The 20th Sept would remain as my due date.

I turned down a number of offers for inductions from my consultant, as well as declining a couple of offers of a sweep by my midwife. I managed to put back the absolutely final induction date from the consultant to October 9th which I was much more comfortable with given my revised due dates that I had calculated using other methods (October 5th and 6th).

I accepted to have regular monitoring to keep an eye on baby and me, and that what we did.

Baby Sofia arrived on October 5th naturally without induction at home. And according to the midwives, she looked “on time”. She still had vernix on her skin and my placenta was looking “lush and vibrant” < their words! Certainly not the signs of an overcooked baby or a declining placenta!

What’s the lesson here?

TRUST YOUR BODY AND TRUST YOUR BABY

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Alexia Leachman

Alexia is the host of the Fear Free Childbirth podcast and the author of Fearless Birthing, Childbirth, Midwifery & the Media, and Clear Your Head Trash.

Alexia supports families planning pregnancy and birth. She helps them to overcome their fears and feel calm and confident about birth and pregnancy.

Alexia also trains birth professionals in the Fearless Birthing, a unique approach to birth preparation that is ideal for those who have fears around birth.
Alexia Leachman
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