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Why due dates cause unnecessary stress

Due date... Two innocent little words, right? If you are or have ever been pregnant, chances are you've just said 'Yeah...Right!' in a sarcastic tone and rolled your eyes whilst reading these two little words. Did you know that only 4% of babies arrive on their 'due date'? (UK office for national statistics, 2016). Not a comforting number when you've been pregnant for nearly 40 weeks. So you resort to eating the Vindaloos and pineapple.

I've given birth twice, once I was among the 4% (20 min past midnight! It royally screwed us over for her free childcare hours when she was 2, as the cut off date was... her birthday. So we had to wait another 6 months. Typical! ) The second time baby was 5 days 'late'. (Though I'm still convinced she arrived at exactly 40 weeks - but that's another story). I remember going for one of the antenatal scans and the sonographer telling us she was going to bring the due date forward by 5 days. J and I were so pleased... we would probably meet our baby almost a whole week sooner than originally planned. Too bad the baby never got the memo... !

The term 'guess date' or 'wish date' is much more apt. (If you ever wonder who on earth came up with the 40 weeks gestation time and how... just google 18th century German obstetrician Franz Karl Naegele.)

With so many unknowns in pregnancy (what will baby look like? Will baby have hair? How much will baby weigh?) a due date can feel reassuring. Something to hold on to, because 9-ish months is a long, long time. The problem is that sometimes we get so fixated on this date, that once it's come and gone, disappointment and worry set in. So here are my 3 top tips to not get too hung up on your due date:

Try and use the word 'guess date' instead of due date It will make a big difference!

1 - Think of it as a guess date and actually swap the words 'due date' for guess or wish date. The more you tell your brain that it is nothing more than a (calculated?) guess... the less disappointed you will be when you go over 'over due'.

2 - Tell friends/family/coworkers roughly when you're due. But whatever you do, don't give them a date. Unless you want to wake up to 20 messages, 10 missed calls and 5 messages by post carrier pigeon, the day after your guess date, because 'why isn't baby here yet? Any signs?'. Believe me - that gets annoying very quickly!

3- Prepare for going 'overdue'. Do your research and use your BRAIN (acronym for Benefits? Risks? Alternatives? Instincts? Not doing anything?) for should you carry longer than 40 weeks. Remember that it's your body, your choices. As long as baby is healthy and well, you have nothing to worry about. Find some nice affirmations and visualisations - Your baby will come in their own time. Babies are like fruit and will ripen in their own time. Some sooner, some later... but remember how much easier it is to pick fruit when it's ripe. Babies come when they do. Not when they’re due.

Tx I offer hypnobirthing courses & pregnancy relaxation in Melksham, Trowbridge and other areas in Wiltshire. Get in touch if you want to find out more.

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