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Going the full 40: Let nature take its course
April 3, 2017
By David Kirk, MD, Haywood Women’s Medical Center
The old adage “let nature takes its course” is sound advice for expecting mothers. But it’s easier said than done when society is constantly urging us to hurry up. Sometimes, expectant mothers want to schedule their deliveries on or before their actual due date. At Haywood Regional Medical Center (HRMC), as part of our efforts to provide the highest quality and safest care to our patients, we discourage early elective deliveries and want to educate moms-to-be about the associated risks.
Early elective deliveries can cause a number of problems for both mom and baby, including hemorrhaging, increased risk of infection and infant prematurity. In fact, a recent study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology shows that more than 25 percent of infants born electively between 37 and 39 weeks required admission to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for an average of four and a half days, compared with fewer than five percent of infants who were delivered at 39 weeks or later.
According to the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), labor should only be induced when it is medically necessary. Rather than force the baby out before he or she is ready, more and more medical experts are encouraging women to be patient and follow Mother Nature’s lead.
In addition to the medical benefits of waiting for natural labor, here are 10 compelling reasons to patiently await the arrival of your baby:
Boost breastfeeding. Babies that go full-term are better feeders.
Recover faster. Un-induced births mean quicker recoveries for new moms.
Birth a brainy baby. Your baby’s brain will grow 1/3 of its size between weeks 35 and 40.
Breathe better. Babies born as little as two weeks early can have twice the number of breathing complications.
Get home faster. More time in the womb generally means less time in the hospital.
Have a healthy tot. Reduce your baby’s risk of jaundice, low blood sugar and infection.
Let your baby pick his or her birthday. It’s a special day you’ll be celebrating for a long time to come!
Build your baby’s muscles. More time in the womb means more time to gain strength.
Take advantage of the opportunity to rest. Once the baby arrives, there will be a constant flurry of activity, so make sure you are well rested.
Let your body do the work. In the womb, your body does all of the work – feeding, soothing, protecting. Once the baby arrives, it is all up to you and your partner – from feeding to changing, rocking to bathing! So enjoy the ride and let your body do the work as long as it’s supposed to.
At Haywood Regional, providing quality care to all our patients is a top priority. We are proud of our Women’s Care Center that offers spacious rooms with beautiful views, private jet tubs, lactation consultants, sleepers, furniture for visitors, gourmet meals after delivery, free lactation consultations, recurring parent education classes, and extraordinary one and one care for your birthing experience.