First Things First

So you’re having a baby! Whether you are ecstatic, scared, jumping for joy or all three, you need to work out when & where you will give birth.


So you checked the expiration date on the home pregnancy test and waited ten minutes, and all signs pointed to yes.  Next question is, when is the baby getting here? I cringe at the word DUE date. When you are told the baby is due on a certain date and the baby isn’t born on that date, the parents become concerned, anxious and sometimes disheartened. These emotions are not helpful if a stress-free birth is part of your birth plan. In the ‘olden days’ you knew you were due sometime in May or Dec, ah, now wouldn’t that be easier? You could circle a whole month on the calendar like Jim Dear does (5 mins and 50 seconds into this YOU TUBE CLIP from Disney’s LADY AND THE TRAMP. [  They also discuss how no one ever knows for certain what the sex of the baby will be. (Darling has a home birth by the way).]

Health care professionals use a standard calculation to ascertain a baby’s birth date. Known as the estimated delivery date(EDD in medical speak), it is based on the premise that conception takes place two weeks after the first day after the first day of a womans last menstrual period (LMP). As Pregnancy lasts around 266 days, this is added to the two weeks to make a total of 280 days, or 40 weeks, from the first day of your LMP.

The flaw in calculating an EDD is that not ALL women have 28-day cycles, and they may conceive in months consisting of up to 31 days. In fact, only about 5% of babies arrive on their EDD:seven out of ten are born AFTER it. Going g past your EDD in the US can be problematic. This is because the placenta ages and may not be functioning optimaly beyond 40 weeks-possibly depriving baby of oxygen and nutrients. For this reason most hospitals advise women to be induced when they are ten days beyond their EDD.

According to Online Athens; ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)recently issued guidelines for doctors to help determine when inducing labor is appropriate. In response to media inquiries, the group warned women not to try to induce delivery on Jan. 1, 2000.
“Inducing labor to meet some arbitrary millennial timeline is frivolous,” said Dr. Charles Lockwood of the group’s Committee on Obstetric Practice.


Most of us are bursting to spread the news, but it may be best to wait a while before alerting the neighborhood. Unfortunately the reason is as follows; one in five pregnancies can end in miscarriage or ‘spontaneous abortion’ – in three out of four cases, before the tenth week, sometimes even before the woman has realized she is pregnant(in which case it seems like a very late, very heavy period).

Also, as well as wanting to make sure your pregnancy is continuing, you may need time to adjust emotionally. Even if you were hoping for a baby, finding out you are pregnant can bring on a flood of conflicting feelings such as excitement, shock and fear-about the impending birth, your ability to cope, how it will affect your work, income and your relationship. Even though your partners body isn’t changing like yours, they can be profoundly affected by the prospect of parenthood. They may have just as many conflicting emotions as you, ranging from joy, shock , pride anxiety and wonder about shared responsibilities and your health and happiness. Now is the time to talk things through, discuss honestly and openly how you feel about all the aspects of your pregnancy labor and impending parenthood. Give yourselves the time and space you need to share your feelings with each other now and though the rest of your pregnancy, this will give you the time necessary to bond as a couple and as parents.

It my be helpful to get the help of a L.M.F.T. (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist)at this time. Or seek counseling through your local Church, Synagogue or Mosque or other place of worship. Regardless, seek help and counseling and support.


After you discover you are pregnant get thee to a healthcare provider. First you need to decide whether you would prefer a midwife or a doctor, has excellent information regarding midwives if you are unfamiliar with the term/profession.

So, where to have the baby? Well, your birth choices may be limited by where you live. For example, as I write this I am in Fresno, Ca. Choices for women here include; the hospital or a home birth. A local group is trying to open a birth center here, but until then Fresnans are left with only two choices. If your pregnancy is complicated or “high-risk” you will be directed to give birth in a hospital.

Your ultimate choice will come from the style of birth you would like. If you hope to avoid interventions and medical (Pharmacological) birth, then a homebirth may be your choice. If on the other hand you are more comfortable with technology high-tech equipment and the closeness of an operating room than the hospital may be your best bet.


Find out first hand, interview midwives, take a hospital tour. Find out the hospitals induction and c-section rates, this information can be very telling. Will they let you have a Doula, can you get alternative care (acupuncture etc..). Will the anesthesiologist be on call 24/7? When talking to your midwife make sure you click, it’s important that she makes you feel safe and confident.


According to ABC NEWS /Health; “While less than 1 percent of all births in the United States take place outside the hospital, the number of those births taking place at home has increased by 3.5 percent between 2003-04 and 2005-06, according to the new report. The stats say there were 46,371 home births in 2003-04, and 49,438 home births in 2005-06. “They’re still not that common, but we did see some increase,” said Marian MacDorman, a statistician at the CDC’s Nation Center for Health Statistics and one of the study’s authors.

The new numbers came after a period in which births outside the hospital, which can include births at a birthing center or in a doctor’s office, as well as home births, had been decreasing since 1990.

Some of the breakdowns behind the new numbers suggest that the most recent trend might be a negative reaction to a hospital birth experience, since the majority of mothers choosing a home birth have had children before.

“The fact that it’s primarily women who had kids before and had birth in hospitals before, certainly suggests it’s a reaction to their prior birth,” said Eugene Declercq, a professor of community health sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health, and a author of the study. “It certainly suggests it’s an experience they don’t want to repeat.”

The advanatges to homebirth include feeling more relaxed, with limited restrictions on what you can eat or how often or where you can move and who can attend the birth. However, pain relief is limited to self-help methods. If complications arise you will be transfered to a hospital.


One response to “First Things First

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