What your doula wants you to know
When our doctor tells us our due date, we tend to take that as correct. After all, this is a medical professional telling us something scientific… right? Well, they are not always right.
This is what your doula wants you to know about your due date.
Looking at your Due Date
Your due date is worked out using the first day of your last menstruation as your pregnancy start date (say what??!) – but were you pregnant on that day? No one knows for sure. Because that first day of your menstruation could have been a real menstruation or an in nestlings bleeding.
This gives you already a better perspective, doesn’t it?
It can be that you’ve been already pregnant on that ‘first menstruation day’ for who knows how long… It may have been a week, two weeks even when we look at the most fertile period for a woman, which usually two weeks after her menstruation.
Or, you have been really menstruating and only became pregnant two or three weeks after… So from this broad perspective there are approximate 30 – 35 days of certainty when your baby will be born. That’s quite a big range!
Baby knows best
Having said this, there is something really amazing that you should know.
It’s actually your baby that knows when he or she is ready. This small, intelligent creature inside your womb is the only one who truly knows.
Complex hormonal communication between your baby and your body signals the start of labour.
When your baby is ready to begin birth, he or she will secrete a hormone called CRH (cortico-releasing hormone), which sends a chemical signal to your placenta. When your placenta receives the chemical signal from the baby, it will release estrogen and cortisol. These two hormones help your baby’s lungs to mature.
With the increase of oestrogen from the placenta, your uterus is signalled to create more oxytocin receptor sites within the uterine muscle.
This typically causes you to have more Braxton Hicks contractions. The increased oestrogen production by your placenta also promotes the release of prostaglandins by the amniotic membranes.
That chemical communication starts weeks before labour and intensifies in the days and hours before active labour begins.
Prostaglandin is a hormone that produces enzymes, which will digest the collagen in the cervix, turning it to water, causing the cervix to soften and become thin.
The placental membranes normally become increasingly fragile, porous and permeable in later pregnancy. This means larger molecules from the mother’s bloodstream, like iron and maternal antibodies, can finally cross the placenta.
This also means baby will gain important immunities from you, and about six months worth of iron.
Baby begins their descent
Your ovaries will begin secreting relaxin. This helpful hormone relaxes all of your ligaments and cartilage during pregnancy, making your pelvic joints wider and more mobile. This is especially important in late pregnancy, because your baby is descending into your pelvis, readying themselves for birth in a good position.
The placenta begins making connexin, a hormone that helps the uterus contract in an efficient, coordinated way. These hormonal reactions will likely cause you to have a restless backache before you have synchronized, progressing contractions, which eventually cause your cervix to open.
All of these chemical reactions and coordinated release of hormones take time. Your patience is well worth it. Waiting for labour to begin naturally and on it’s own gives you the best chances at the healthiest baby and the smoothest labour.
This is why in HypnoBirthing we prefer to avoid speaking about a due date.
So there you have it. This is what your doula wants you to know about your REAL due date versus your ‘guess date’. Your doctor is guessing, and your baby knows when they are truly due. Let your body lead the way.