A date is set, an estimated date for when your baby will be born. The date when you will finally meet the one you have been waiting to meet for so long. The date approaches, and with it, the ever-present expectations, fatigue, complications and patience. The date comes and goes, and still no baby.
At this point, it’s good to remember that the estimated due date is just an approximation, and that most women give birth past their due date when they are expecting their first child. While this can be frustrating for many women, there are actually advantages to going over time and allowing your body to start when it’s ready.
Your body has adapted and prepared for childbirth since early pregnancy. The hormone relaxin cause the ligaments in your pelvis to soften to allow more flexibility. At the end of pregnancy, when the baby’s head descends into the pelvis and, in some cases, baby positions him or herself, the ligaments soften even more, and the pelvis becomes even more flexible. Allow this process to take time. The cervix also has time to ripen and soften. Both these processes improve your chances of as good a delivery as possible once it starts.
And maybe baby needs a few extra days to prepare. During labor, baby makes four rotations through the pelvis. The first is a flexion of the head, meaning that baby bends the head, pressing chin against chest. The first rotation, cervical flexion, often occurs before the contractions begin. We typically say that the baby is positioning in the pelvis. In this position, the baby has a smaller diameter, which assists passage through the pelvis. Just like your body is preparing and adjusting, your baby needs to do the same.
It’s perfectly natural and perfectly OK for a pregnant woman who has gone past the due date to feel frustrated and impatient. But it might help a bit to know that your body and your baby are preparing for your sake, to ensure the absolute best conditions for when you meet, your baby’s birthday.
Sources: - Kaplan, A. (red.) (2009). Lärobok för barnmorskor. (3., omarb. uppl.) Lund: Studentlitteratur.