Only three per cent of Australian babies are born on their due date. Be assured that an absolutely normal pregnancy can last anywhere from 38-42 weeks.
Labour may start with a “show” which is when the mucus plug comes away from the cervix, your waters breaking, or practice contractions that give way to the real thing. Or you may have a dull ache in your lower back signalling the onset.
As your baby’s head pushes down into your cervix, your body is stimulated to produce oxytocin, a labour-inducing hormone. It also acts as a natural painkiller, numbing the area during contractions. As the level of the hormone progesterone drops, this also acts as a trigger. The hormone prostaglandin is released, softening the cervix to allow dilation.
Take some high energy snacks to the hospital to give you that much-needed energy boost during labour.
Aromatherapy massage with essential oils jasmine and neroli will help back pain and prepare you for labour. You also deserve it!
Beyond 40 Weeks:
Babies grow and develop at different rates. Some medical professionals wait for two or more weeks before considering induction. Others wait for a week or ten days before advising a test known as a biophysical profile that is carried out to determine the baby’s wellbeing. This involves an ultrasound to evaluate movement, breathing and the amount of amniotic fluid present. If all seems normal, induction may not be necessary.
The placenta is an organ that your body grows specifically for pregnancy. It looks like a piece of raw liver with a rough side that was attached to the uterine wall and a velvety smooth, soft side that cushioned the developing baby. In the animal kingdom and in many traditional societies, the placenta is eaten, valued for its high nutrient content. It is the richest source of zinc, a micro-mineral strongly linked to post natal depression and hormonal imbalance.
Eating the placenta restores zinc levels, helps heal cracked nipples, speeds tissue repair following tearing and enhances postpartum recovery. The significance of the placenta in its role of creating and sustaining life has long been recognised by tribal cultures. Some choose to mark its importance with a burial in a sacred place, creating what is considered to be a “place to come home to.” If you wish to take yours home with you, don’t be afraid to ask.
Listen to your body. If you are really worried call your doctor, no matter how trivial your concern may seem.