Hey fellow mom!
If you happen to be pregnant right now, first of all—congratulations! It’s definitely a long journey and I would completely understand if you’re already feeling a little too antsy about your due date!
Being a mom of four young kids, I remember my pregnancies just like they were yesterday. Not only was each journey exciting, it was also unique in its own ways. I definitely know how it feels to be just done with the whole thing and want to get it over with! Besides, I couldn’t wait to finally hold my new baby in my arms.
Apparently, up to 15 percent of women who give birth in the U.S. feel the same and end up choosing to give birth before the 39th week of their pregnancy. While there are valid health reasons to induce (like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, etc.) and their babies are already developed enough to be born, there is a reason why they still say the 40th week is the real finish line.
The best—and healthiest!—presents are definitely worth the wait. Below, you’ll find more reasons why you’re both better off enjoying the bumpy ride until your baby decides he’s ready to be welcomed into the world!
It’s true that our little angels are considered “fully developed” by the time we reach the 37th week. Infants born after that marker won’t necessarily have to be admitted in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) as a precautionary measure, not unless there are any unexpected complications after birth.
However, a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology shows that 25% of infants born electively between the 37th and 39th week in the U.S. are still required admission in the NICU for at least 4 days.
A couple of days in the NICU might not sound like much, but you wouldn’t want to have to worry about your baby being in the most expensive hospital unit when you could be bringing her home just by waiting a couple more days!
Similarly, labor inductions could also present health complications for you, particularly when your labor doesn’t progress fast enough and you have to get an emergency C-section. While they have become somewhat common for many moms, don’t forget that it’s still what it is—surgery!
Size matters for immunity-boosting feeds
One of the most common factors in determining whether or not a baby has to be brought for monitoring into the NICU is the baby’s size. Early babies are obviously a lot smaller in size, not to mention have a harder time regulating their body temperatures, compared to babies born closer to their due dates.
I was a preterm baby myself and any baby who’s smaller than the required average size almost ensures that he or she will have a hard time at the breast—and we all know the importance of having breastmilk during those first few weeks!
If the baby doesn’t get to nurse enough, he might end up going back to the hospital for lingering feeding or jaundice problems, on top of missing the benefits of our immunity-boosting liquid gold.
Okay, let’s get to the facts. Many don’t know that babies’ brains by the 34th week are only two thirds of what they will be by the 40th week. Can you believe that? Even if your baby is born by the 39th week and a half, although a lot more developed of course, it would still be same size as when your baby was only 34 weeks old!
Why is size so important? Well, there are over millions of studies showing that bigger brains mean increased mental performance. Professor Bryan T. Oshiro, M.D. of the Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California has revealed that there is actual data proving full-term (bigger brained) babies perform “better in school than those born early,” which makes sense considering premature birth often presents mental and behavioral problems.
You probably already know that one of the last organs to mature is a baby’s set of lungs—also one of the most crucial organs for survival! Giving birth anytime after the 37th week definitely increases the chances of a baby breathing normally and on her own, but it doesn’t always mean your baby would be in the clear.
According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 37-week-old babies are still three times as likely to experience a severe newborn lung disease (respiratory distress syndrome), rapid breathing, pneumonia and even respiratory failure as babies born between the 39th and 40th week!
So mommas, all I’m saying here is that the best things should not be rushed! Unless you’re given medical advice urging you to give birth earlier than your due date, opt to sit it out and wait for your little one’s go signal.
I regularly hear and receive both heartbreaking and stories about NICU term-babies through our advocacy at Kinder Keepsakes and there’s really no denying the hardship that those babies and their families have to go through, so I really do hope you do whatever it takes to increase the chances of you and your baby coming out of this pregnancy as healthy as possible!
By doing so, you are allowing your baby to take his time in his first, most favorite little place in the whole world!
Trust me, no matter how many times you plan on getting pregnant, you’re still going miss those exciting little kicks, the royal treatment, your beautiful glow and those one-on-one quiet moments with your bump.
Go ahead and savor the moment while it lasts!