After a woman finds out she is pregnant, one of the first pieces of information she usually wants to know is "When am I due?"As the due date approaches, both the woman and the health care provider begin to get anxious about whether the baby will be overdue. If the baby has not been born by the 41st week of gestation, most doctors and midwives will start to talk about induction of labor. Most people do not realize that due dates are almost never accurate, and are only of use to the medical establishment so that they have a basis upon which to "manage" your labor. Managed labor leads to most of the complications seen in birth today, and is dangerous for mother and baby.
No two women gestate for the same length of time. The 244 days of gestation used to calculate from your last period is an "average." It does not represent the "ideal" length of pregnancy. As long as you have reached at least 36 weeks since the first day of your last period, it is probably safe for your baby to be born, at whatever time he or she chooses. Only the baby knows when he or she is fully developed and ready to be born, and only he or she knows when it is safe and best to be born. Calculating an estimated due date only makes one anxious about when the baby is going to come, and contributes to the fear that causes complications. In my work with birth, I have personally known women who gave birth anywhere from 36 to 47 weeks, and they have all had healthy babies. A due date is only a guess, and should not dictate the length of your pregnancy.
Researchers from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) were able to pinpoint the moment women became pregnant by taking daily urine samples, and determined that the average time from ovulation to birth was 268 days -- 38 weeks and tow days - and that the length of pregnancies varied by as much as 37 days, according to the research, published in the journal Human Reproduction.
Complications occur when the natural gestation, labor, and birthing process are not honored, and someone begins to try to intervene in the process to speed things along. No doctor, midwife, or any other birth "professional" has the knowledge or the right to tell you that your birth is "overdue." Every cell of your body is genetically encoded with the information about how and when to give birth, and this genetic coding has been passed on to the baby so that the baby's body knows when it is best to be born. In addition to this genetic information, the baby has learned a great deal about you during your pregnancy - he or she has felt the same emotions you feel, and has a pretty good idea whether it is safe to come out or not. Your emotional outlook has everything to do with when your baby decides to be born, and if you are stressed, this inhibits the body's ability to produce oxytocin, the hormones responsible for labor contractions. So you see, we have really no right to interfere with the safe, healthy birth our bodies are trying to create. This is one reason for the high rate of complications seen in hospital births today.
However, if you still want to calculate an "estimated" due date, here is the most reliable method:
1. Start with the first day of your last menstrual period.
2. Subtract 3 months.
15 days if this is your first birth
10 days if this is not your first birth
This represents an estimated due date, but should NOT be used for diagnostic purposes. It really has no usefulness at all except to let you know when you have reached 36 weeks. After that, your baby could probably be born safely at any time. Only 5% of babies are born on their due dates, which tells you how accurate this date is.
We must begin to trust our bodies, trust that they were designed to give birth and they can do it efficiently and safely without any help from anyone. Even if you know nothing about birth, as long as you are alone when giving birth and not influenced by the presence of others around you, your body will lead you to do exactly what you need to do to have a healthy birth. It is when we are influenced by the presence of others that we aren't listening to our bodies and our needs, and we allow things to occur that can cause problems. Trust and faith in ourselves are necessary. Women have been giving birth alone, without assistance for centuries. It is only in the recent past that women have been led to believe by the medical "authorities" that it is dangerous, that there must be someone "trained" at the birth. The disempowerment that this creates has caused women to doubt themselves and their abilities. It has caused them to doubt their worth as women because they are told their bodies can't give birth without help.
There are many explanations for why women do not give birth on their due dates. One reason is that the soul which enters the baby has made plans before coming into this life. They have decided why they are coming, what their purpose is, what kind of obstacles they will face, what kind of personality traits they will have which will contribute to learning their lessons and perfecting their soul, and how long they need to be here to accomplish this. The Bible says "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be" (Psalm 139:16). So before that baby ever comes in, it has decided how long it is staying. This relieves the guilt that might occur when a baby dies. It has also decided when it is going to be born based upon the traits that the soul needs to instill in the psyche. The position of the stars and planets at the time of birth does affect these inborn traits, so sometimes a baby will be a month early or late in order to be born during the right astrological sign. The soul of the babies themselves control this, so there is no way a doctor or any other health care professional can say, based upon the calendar, that you are "overdue." You do not know what is going on behind the scenes. Many people do not place any faith in the idea that the stars and planets have anything to do with an individual's personality traits. However, if the magnetic pull of our moon is capable of moving all our oceans, raising and lowering the tide, then it is definitely feasible that the magnetic pull of the stars and planets can effect our bodily fluids and the electrical and chemical reactions that take place within the body. So it is not difficult to believe this.
Also, though it is sad to think about, sometimes souls come in just to experience pregnancy and the birth process, and that's all they have planned for. They don't have any intention of continuing on, and so often their passing is attributed to birth complications, when it was simply that they had fulfilled their lifeplan for this incarnation, and it was time to go. Expectant parents need to prepare themselves ahead of time for the possibility that this can occur. Respect the soul that is coming in and don't be too upset if something happens. Also realize that, in the scheme of things, you also planned this in your own chart before you came here. You planned to experience the loss of a baby (although they are not really lost) and so this is something you must fulfill. It is a healthy part of your growth process, and should not necessarily be looked upon as a negative event. It is possible to be sad that you will not get to spend a lifetime with that baby, while at the same time be in awe of the soul that came and that they are continuing on their journey, as well as being proud that you were chosen by them as the perfect parents to experience this with. We don't want to dwell on the fact that this can happen, because we want to create a positive atmosphere for birth, so just be aware that it can happen, but does so very infrequently.
There is a legitimate need for medical intervention in less than 5% of all births. The need for most of these interventions we cause ourselves. We are completely responsible for the outcome of our own births. We call the shots, unless we hand over that authority to some other person, usually a doctor, midwife, or family member. There is no reason to fear the birth process, and no need to worry about our due date. In keeping with our theme of unhindered living, putting too much faith in due dates does "hinder" the natural birth process. The main reason for a due date is so that a medical professional can pressure you into have an induced labor. Please do not allow anyone to induce your labor based upon your due date. Pitocin is a dangerous drug, and induced labors are much more dangerous than allowing the baby to be "overdue" and come when they are ready.
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