Pregnant during the holidays?
There is a good chance that you will feel some pressure to have your baby before a big holiday, either from your family, your provider, or even just from yourself.
In fact, data from the CDC makes it clear that high induction and scheduled cesarean section rates are having a direct impact on the time of day and the day of the week that a baby is born. It only makes sense that providers and women would like to avoid being stuck in the hospital during a holiday and would instead schedule the birth prior.
It is normal and natural to want to meet your sweet baby. The pressure mounts if you have family coming to visit and they want to meet them too. Induction does have risks though, including an increased chance of cesarean section, especially for first time moms and women with an "unfavorable" cervix.
Here are some tips for dealing with holiday induction pressure and keeping your birth plan on track.
1) Explore your induction options
Knowing a little bit more about induction and the drugs commonly used to induce it can be very helpful in understanding the process. Knowing that pitocin is commonly given via an IV and how it changes labor can help you make a choice. Understanding some of the controversy surrounding Cytotec can help you be more informed. Knowing ways to naturally stimulate oxytocin can help you be proactive and relax and maybe even start labor naturally, if your baby is ready.
Medical induction techniques aren't the only ones available. Women claim success with natural induction by doing everything from acupuncture to pregnancy chiropractic to pregnancy massage.
2) Choose a great provider
If you know you have a provider you already love, trust, and who knows you want to avoid induction, then you can rest assured that you won't be pressured to induce just because it is the holidays. Your doula and childbirth educator can help you find a provider who fits with your desires.
3) Understand what overdue really means
I have talked to care providers who state that it is their clients asking to be induced early, not the provider suggesting this. It is totally understandable to be "done" with pregnancy, especially when the holidays are stressing you out! Knowing that due dates are not exact, that there is variation in when babies come, and that ACOG doesn't consider you "posterm" until 42 weeks can help with that patience.
4) Be firm with family
You don't have to be rude to shut down induction pressure if it is coming from your family. A simple, "I appreciate your concern, but I trust my baby knows when to be born," stated firmly and decisively, is enough.
No, you don't need to justify or prove your choices are acceptable with studies or anything else. Doing so encourages the idea that your choice needs to be defended. It doesn't. You are the decision maker in this situation. Here is a great list of FAQs for family members questioning your birth choices.
5) Enjoy the season!
Even if you don't want to be induced, it is not unusual for women to go into labor with all the prep work required during Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, Independence Day, Easter, or any other holiday.
I had one baby the day before Thanksgiving and the hospital was FULL of birthing women who had baked themselves into labor. Sometimes just not thinking about it and going about your regular life is enough to kickstart contractions!
Or, if you have the opportunity to just put your feet up and relax, this is helpful too. Sometimes some good, relaxing, oxytocin encouraging activities like love making or massage are just what is needed to help a ready-to-come baby make their appearance.
Your baby knows when to be born. Your body knows how to perform natural functions. Waiting on a baby is a lesson in patience and a great way to prepare for motherhood.
Photo credit: alenka_getman via Foter.com / CC BY-ND, christyscherrer via Foter.com / CC BY-ND