The Ten Month Mama Page
Compiled by Jasmine Smythe
BirthLove Members access this
My Ten Month Baby Jared at about
4 months old (he was born at 46 weeks gestation
Ten month pregnancies can be tiring
and eroding, but for some women- it is simply
how long we are intended to gestate.
Think of it this way: I was 11 when
I got my first period; my best friend was 13.
We "ripened" at different ages. People
ripen prenatally at different ages, too: some
women take as long as 46 weeks before their babies
are ready to come out. (Women like me.)
In healthy, well-fed women long
pregnancies don't lead to brain damaged, nutrient-starved
babies! It's actually the opposite: my own "late"
babies- my 6th and 7th children- are bright, precocious,
healthy, darling, uniquely gifted in language-
it would have been unthinkable to steal away their
precious pregnancy time for my own convenience,
or to follow some ridiculous, arbitrary medical
timetable. (It would have been equally unthinkable
to "naturally induce"- an oxymoron if
there ever was one.)
And even though these babies were
my biggest (10.8 lbs and 12.6 lbs respectively),
their births were my least painful, most straightforward,
and quickest: my body had lots of time to soften
and prepare for birth, and when my time came,
I was ready (as were my babies).
My Ten Month Baby Nathan at 3
years old (he was born at 44 weeks gestation at
It is normal, natural and healthy
to be a Ten Month Mama. (I myself am a child born
when my mother was ten months pregnant!) I will
always deeply regret once believing otherwise-
and allowing four of my five hospital-borne children
to be taken from me by induction drugs and manipulations
before their true birthing times came. (The only
child who was not induced was removed by cesaran
My Ten Month Babies together
in a box... (3 1/2 and 1 1/2) To see more
pictures of Jared and Nathan, go here.
On this page (click to go to the
Also see: Induction
Stories and Pregnancy Journals
Jasmine Smythe's Ten Month Mama
- Rape of the Twentieth
Century -this includes the story of
my sixth child's ten month pregnancy. (Learning
to trust my body before his birth was the
trial of my life- and an act of faith that
changed my life forever.)
- It Hurts
to be a Ten Month Mama- written in my
7th's child laaaaaate pregnancy- at about
- I'm Proud to be a Ten
Month Mama Ten month pregnancies are to
be celebrated! Inducing birth is like destroying
an ancient forest: a crass, petty manipulation
of Nature's beauty and resources that will
haunt humanity forever. This was written when
my seventh baby was about six weeks old.
- Jared Christopher
Smythe A page my husband created just
hours after our 7th child's birth. (Women:
know that if your partners assume their full
places in the birth experience, they will
become better fathers.)
- This One's
For the Babies This is the title of
my 7th child's birth story. It discusses not
only what happened in his birth, but how his
46 week, unassisted homebirth actually saved
Poppy and Fiery (below)
Ten Month Mama Unassisted Vaginal Birth After Two Cesareans, by Poppy! Inspirational and powerful, this includes photos, as well as commentary by Poppy's partner.
Birth Story Kymberli's fifth baby is born
blissfully and unassisted at home in the water.
Kymberli was 26 days "overdue"! (Way
to go ten month mama Kymberli!)
Birth Story Erin's first baby was born at
46 weeks gestation at home with her midwife attending.
Way to go Erin!!! Erin had felt discouraged at
how slowly everything seemed to be going, but
the speed of her birth accelerated when her cervix
was 5cm dilated.
Arrival (at last!) Of Tabitha Cerys King Tabitha
was born at 43 1/2 weeks at home in England; her
birth was beautifully emotional for Joanne- she
was so happy to have a little girl. Noteworthy:
Joanne refused hospital induction on the grounds
that an induction would lead to more complications
than waiting it out, and that she "fibbed"-
to great result- about her due date to her midwives.
Ten month baby genius
"My first child was due Oct
1, and I did not have him until Oct. 31. He
is a gifted child, teaching himself walk at
seven months and to read at two, and scoring
in the 99th percentile on intelligence tests.
Recently I have heard stories that premature
babies are developmentally benign and never
do fully catch up. I was so shocked when my
hours-old newborn I was holding lifted up his
own head and learned back to look at me! Just
"The only thing about the
pregnancy was it was long. I had a rupture in
my water at 7 months. It was a tear on top so
only a little spilled out, but after that my
doc had me come in once a week for three months
because they thought the delivery could be anytime.
Then my sister who was due two weeks after me
gave birth, that was the hardest part after
thinking he would come early, watching my sister
with her baby. I was beginning to get depressed!!
I was scheduled to have a stress test (to see
how the baby was doing) and whether they were
going to induce or not, but I delivered a couple
days before the test. The labor was about 24
hours (first baby.) I did have pitocin a few
hours into labor, and had my waters broken (after
the preterm leaking!). It was a normal delivery.
"The only thing that was
a little unusual about going a month past my
delivery date was the pediatrician remarked
that the baby looked like he had been in the
womb about two weeks too long. He had sheets
of skin peeling off because he had lost his
protective, water-resistant coating and had
been soaking in water all that time. Other than
that, the Apgar score was very high and he was
a very strong baby." -Janine
A Family of Ten Month Mamas
"I was born at forty-two
weeks gestation, and my sister was born at forty-five
weeks. My sister is three years younger than
me; my mum actually had a wonderful doctor in
the United Kingdom (!!!!) who despite all pressure
from his peers allowed her to go as long as
she needed to. My mother told me that her mother
had long pregnancies too.
"I was induced in my own
child's birth much against my better judgement
and it ended up in a... surprise surprise...
elective caesarean section. One of the things
I will be making clear to the midwives who attend
my next pregnancy (if I am lucky enough to have
one :)) is that I am fully expecting to go beyond
the 'accepted' term and that I will not be induced
under any circumstances other than severe danger
to the baby or myself. I am absolutely POSITIVE
that if I had been left another week my son
would have come out quite happily on his own.
Never mind :) There is always a next time :)"
Three Strong Moms
"The young, first time mom
in the middle, Julia, 17, went 43 weeks, and
4 days. She had a 30 hour labor, and 2 1æ2 hours
of pushing. She gave birth without a midwife
helping her. She is quite proud of herself,
and now has a lot of self confidence. She also
helped the mom who came over to her mother's
house, and Julia, and her mother took care of
the birthing mom on the right. I call them 'Three
Strong Moms'." -Jerry
Whiting, Tijuana, Mexico
Dear Baby, here beneath my heart,
I thought that you might come today;
The timing seemed just right.
But the stars are out
And the moon is high
And sheepishly I wonder why
I try to arrange the plans
For now I know
You will not come
Until the One who holds eternity
Rustles your soft cocoon
And whispers in tones that I will not hear,
"It's time, precious gift."
"Now it's time."
-by Robin Jones Gunn
for Scout Geoff writes about his family's
first homebirth (he caught the baby!). According
to the hospitals calculations, his partner was
44 weeks pregnant at the time of birth; according
to theirs, she was 42 1/2 weeks. This includes
how Geoff grew patience to "wait it out",
and the needed power to keep the "inducers"
at bay. This includes many photos.
"I have had 44 week, 43, 44,
and 38 week gestations. Each baby was very healthy."
We Did it Alone! Darlene gave birth
to her fifth child unassisted at home at 44 weeks
gestation. external link
Ten Month Mama VBAC
"I had my son at exactly
44wks. Basheer was born on 2/18/02 at 2:09am.
I was in labor for three days. I spent two of
them at home, and on the third day I was so
tired that the pain from the 'baby hugs' had
me doubting myself. I don't think I knew what
to expect during a natural birth. I would definitely
like to learn more about long pregnancies and
births so that next time I will be better prepared.
"When I got to the hospital,
the one really cool midwife was there, and there
was no pressure to do anything I didn't want
to do. But eventually the evil midwife came
on shift and I had to fight for my birth. I
thwarted her diabolical plan for another c-section
by going into the bathroom and had her under
the impression that I was only going in to use
"I pushed my 9lb 8oz son's
head out and the stupid midwife had me hobble
over to a bed where the rest of my son slithered
out effortlessly! No tears, shoulders fit fine,
five pushes!" -Donna
Birth Jenny gave birth unassisted at home
after a healthy 45 week pregnancy. She encountered
problems though when she took some black and blue
cohosh to "get things going", on the
poor advice of a chiropractor.
Story of Kishkalena's Birth April gives birth
three weeks past her "due date" unassisted
at home with her husband and little son in attendance.
A very honestly and sweetly told story.
Loyer: The Birth of My Brother This moving
story is told by the mother, the midwife, and
the daughter, who was two when her brother was
born at ten months gestation at home. Includes
Story of Jill's First Birth Jill was 45 weeks
pregnant when she gave birth to her first child.
She had an induction, which led to a lot of pain-
but she learned a lot from the experience. Note
that Jill's doctor was uncommonly positive about
"postdates", and that her ten month
baby was very healthy.
Journey to Birth Freedom This birth story
is so richly, spiritually told. Marcia Carlson
had three needless cesareans, then four VBACs-
one in the hospital (at 44 weeks pregnant and
in a self-determined squat!), then three at home:
her first was a homebirth with a midwife attending,
then her last two babies were born unassisted.
Note that her home-borne babies were "late"
as well. A must-read.
Mae's Birth Story This story is sweet and
touching. Ella was born at 43 weeks gestation,
in peace and beauty, unassisted at home. Note
that she was 11 lbs at birth, and that her placeenta
took three hours to be born.
Birth Kiley's third child was born unassisted
at home at 43 1/2 weeks gestation. (Kiley had
two previous c-sections.)
Babies Augustine Josephs tells the stories
of her two unassisted homebirths. She was weeks
"overdue" with both babies, and had
more pain and drama in her births (one a waterbirth)
than she had counted on! She is sure she would
have had sections for both births had she chosen
to be in her local military hospital. Includes
Johns' Birth Stories and Ten Month Mama Pregnancy
Journal Erica talks about her thoughts and
feelings in the tenth month of her fifth child's
pregnancy; and then about the waterbirth that
came at 45 weeks gestation. Note that this page
includes the birth stories of her first four children.
Ten Month Baby Judah
at 8 months old
about Long Pregnancies
Inducing Nightmare Ten Month Mama Erin Donnelly
Sigman writes her heart out about the perils of
being a Woman in today's world- everything from
ingrained shame about our Vaginas to being coaxed
into making our babies be born too soon. Says
Erin about the choice that all mother have about
"Your baby's birth is the
most important event in the relationship the
two of you will have. It will set the precedent
for your entire lives together. Do you really
want it to be one of fear, both on your part
and your baby's? Do you want it to be a white,
lab coat, drug induced nightmare or a soft relaxing,
low lit, waking dream? Do you want to gaze into
your baby's eyes and suckle him or her at your
breast, or do you want to lie in a bed, your
ankles in stirrups, drugged out of you mind,
while your equally drugged baby is whisked off,
isolated and treated for all the medical issues
inducement caused? Do you want him or her to
deal with those issues, those horrible subconscious
memories for the rest of his or her life? Of
course any mother would answer, "No! I
want a beautiful birth and a healthy child!"
So why aren't women being empowered? Why are
babies being harmed and even killed, why are
women's uteruses rupturing? Why, oh why on earth
are we inducing?"
Date" Blues A midwife writes about the
challenges women in late pregnancy face, and the
trustworthiness of women's bodies in deciding
when babies should be born. Included: the story
of a VBAC mom who gave birth at home "postdates".
Look at Postdates Studies (and the fuzzy
thinking that accompanies them!) Midwife Gail
Hart looks at the bizarre thinking that fuels
much of the current induction hysteria.
Sweetest Month Ten Month Mama Kiley Myers
writes about how her tenth month of pregnancy
brought her and her husband closer together than
they ever had been.
of the Placenta: What Are They, Do They Matter?
A "calcifying placenta" is frequently
used as an excuse to pressure women into induction
of labor after 41 weeks of pregnancy. But is this
a reasonable excuse to induce?
Labor and Informed Consent in Canada by Gail
J. Dahl. This is the story of how one woman's
hospital birth experience turned her from a real
estate agent into a bestselling author and childbirth
and midwifery activist. Includes mention of how
there is no good proof at all that babies must
be born at a certain time. A must-read!
Dangers Chemical labor inductions are dangerous
to both mother and child, and can lead to even
Who Carry Longer Than Is Accepted Midwife
Mary Ann Watson shares her wisdom and experiences
about "post term" pregnancies. Note
that she has attended women who have gone to 47
weeks pregnant- both women had radiant, healthy
Ten Month Mamas
-by Jasmine Smythe and Gloria
- AVOID SUGAR. This cannot be overstressed-
sudden drastic peaks in maternal blood sugar
can harm a baby. (I even know of one baby
who died in utero after his mom, at 43 weeks
with undiagnosed gestational diabetes, ate
two ice cream sundaes). Drink no fruit juice
either, and avoid the simple sugars found
in refined foods, like white flour products.
- Eat lots of high quality protein foods,
and keep your blood iron levels high.
- Eat lots of dark leafy greens for the nutrients,
and to fight constipation.
- No drugs!!! (Including alcohol and "natural
herbals" that are smoked.)
- Remember to exercise- swimming is best.
Exercise has been shown to reduce the likelihood
of developing gestational diabetes by HALF.
- If you can't sleep, use that time to write,
draw, paint, look at the night sky- connect
with your creative and spiritual side.
- Remember that the fruit that is taken before
it is ripe is hard, bitter, and not able to
bear seeds well that will propagate new life.
Adding chemicals to ripen fruit leads to an
inferior product as well. And when fruit is
chemically treated to appear ripe, it tends
to rot from the inside (right at the pit)
outwards. This bizarre process is like how
the effect of induction agents eat right through
the posterior fornix of the cervix, causing
back wall ruptures of the uterus.
- Trust in your body, trust in your birth.
Nature is brilliant; human minds are flawed.
- Avoid people who give you fear "vibes"-
even your mother.
- Set your answering machine so your phone
only rings once, and give updates in your
message, if you like. DON'T PICK UP THE PHONE
if you're feeling weak and sad inside- an
invitation to callous people to start to hassle
- Connect with other ten month mamas- we are
few and far between with the current induction
epidemic, but we do exist- and can offer great
support to each other.
- Rest if you want, walk if you want, eat
if you want- do what feels right (as long
as that doesn't involve chocolate bars).
- Have lots of orgasms. They are relaxing,
and wonderful for preparing your body for
- Some women like to drink red raspberry leaf
tea (I never bother, personally.)
- For most women, long pregnancies are safer
and healthier than labor inductions- which
carry far greater risks in and of themselves.
If confronted by hostile people, tell them
that labor inductions are dangerous, unproven,
and put you and your baby at risk of a hazardous
cascade of interventions- possibly leading
to c-section. Also tell them that your baby
is smart enough to pick her own birthday.
- Remember that your body was smart enough
to conceive, and then grow a child beautifully;
it is also smart enough to know when it is
the right time to give birth.
How can you tell your baby is
doing well past 40 weeks of pregnancy?
- One: heart rate- and you don't need a fetoscope.
Have your partner put his ear to your lower
belly with a toilet paper roll- let him move
around from place to place to find a good
spot. The baby's heart rate, if he is listening
carefully and patiently, should be evident.
140-160 beats per minute is good.
- Two: do the Cardiff fetal movement test.
From 9am to 3pm count each of your baby's
movements- there should be 10 movements at
least in that time frame.
Wisdom about Long Pregnancies
"Postdates" does not mean "postmature",
and ensuring a good outcome
"Maternal weight loss is
the key: it can tell us if the placenta is beginning
to lose function (which causes the baby's rate
of growth to slow, and the amniotic fluid to
decrease. But as long as the baby is still gaining
wieght, and there is plenty of amniotic fluid.
then the kids can go a long time over dates.
The little bit of weight a kid gains each week
after 40 weeks isn't likely to be a factor on
birth (rate of growth slows to about 4 - 6 oz
a week after 39/40 weeks). A kid who is big
at 41 is still going to be big at 43, and that
little bit extra won't be a factor then- unless
the fit was so tight it would have been a factor
earlier. Only in the most rare case is 'size'-
by itself- a factor in birth.
"But we need to watch kids
after 43 weeks. The rate of stillbirth does
start to rise- very slowly- after 43 weeks (NOT
'after forty' as some have been taught!). The
rate rises more steeply with later dates- post
44, 45. We need to be watchful for signs of
dysmaturity. The kid who has little amniotic
fluid and is sort of 'shrink wrapped' in the
womb may be in big big trouble within a few
days, if not hours! He needs to get born! But
most kids aren't like that. Most kids do great-
and the calendar means nothing to them. Our
job as midwives is to find the ones who are
getting sick. I've had a good number of moms
over the years go to 43 weeks- and a few over
that- with no problems. I've also had the occasional
kid who had GOOD dates and was on-time, yet
looked like the baby we call 'post-dates' (clearly
lost weight, little water and meconium stained).
"I think we should follow
the lead of some texts which advocate using
the term 'dysmature' for baby's who show that
syndrome- because it can happen at any point,
and the great majority of babies who are 'post-dates'
are not 'post-mature' or 'dysmature'. The stats
point out that less than 10% of babies at 43
completed weeks show any signs of 'post-maturity'."
Gail Hart, Midwife, Oregon
Mom is different and has varied gestation cycles
"Most births that I attend
end on their own from 40-42 weeks. I have done
a few that were 43-44 weeks. In my opinion,
let the Mom go unless there is a cause to intervene,
besides the normal, 'I want to have my baby
now'. : ) Remembering that two weeks either
way of the 'estimated' due date is very normal.
Then add that every Mom is different and has
varied gestation cycles. Who are we to say in
a normal healthy pregnancy: 'you need to have
your baby now'? In most cases, it takes a lot
of encouragement from me for the moms. As we
all know, the last weeks and days feel like
forever and when there was still no babe, moms
would be very anxious (to have babe in arms).
So, lots of encouraging words, lots of humor,
and lots of patience!" -Jill
Peck-Colin, CPM Las Vegas, NV
Prond Mama Apple Tree, letting
her babies grow
"Babies really need to 'ripen'
in their own way- regardless of whether that
fits an arbitrary timetable or not.
"Imagine a tree filled with
apples. Now we all know that some apples ripen
early, many at the same time, some much later-
we all know about how one apple will just stay
on the tree for days and days- even weeks- after
all the others have fallen off. I have personally
waited for apples like that- and gently shaking
the tree has no effect on getting them to come
off. Whacking the apple with a stick would make
it fall off... but the apple would not be at
its most delectable. So- I wait, and my reward
is a sweet, big, juicy apple.
"Well hitting the apple to
get it off before its ripe time is like inducing
a baby because of 'postdates'- making it be
born just because other babies mature earlier.
And I would rather get hit as a baby than be
made to be born before my time, before my systems
and brain have 'ripened' to what they need to
be for my own optimal health and wellbeing.
Induction is a grave insult to the baby.
"My own babies are like those
apples that take so long to come off. I wait
and I wait- and when the time is right, my babies
come down to me- as perfect as their internal
schedules dictate they should be. And, writing
this in my tenth month of my tenth pregnancy,
I'm proud to be that strong, healthy mama apple
tree- and I will nourish my newest baby as long
as he or she needs." -Jasmine Smythe,
Lots of late babies in her practice
"I have a good number of
late for dates babies every year and that I
find a healthy, well-fed woman usually grows
a baby longer, and that's not necessarily all
bad. Women just need and want reassurance that
it's OK. I've assisted women as late as 43 and
44 weeks at home with no repercussions, but
I think it's a good idea to have a good score
with a biophysical profile and/or non stress
test. I have also seen women birth in hospitals
on my L&D unit (years before my midwifery
calling) birth that late both fine and not so
fine, yet most did birth without a hitch.
"Historically, I've heard
of fine babies birthed at 10+ calendar months.
The Christian missionary Nora Lam from China
birthed her son after being in a concentration
camp years ago (verified by Chinese doctors
at that time) at exactly 12 months. Apparently,
it wasn't 'safe'for her to let go of her baby
boy during her interment. Once she was allowed
to leave, she successfully gave birth to him."
Sizemore CM, RM, Colorado
Meconium in postdates babies
"The philosophy that women
should be induced to prevent having a baby with
meconium in the amniotic fluid ignores the possibility
that the induction causes the passing of meconium.
I have seen a lot of late babies in my career.
We seem to grow them big and late up here in
the Pacific Northwest, just like the trees.
I very seldom see meconium in the amniotic fluid
of 42 week plus babies.
"I associate meconium in
the amniotic fluid with smokers (dope or nicotine)
in the few cases I do see. Every time a woman
smokes a cigarette it has the effect that putting
a pillow over the face of a little baby would
have. When the baby is getting mature it can
evacuate the bowel as a response to oxygen deprivation.
You know the expression 'scared the s___ out
of him' - when we're scared, smothered or choked
we will poop or have diarrhea as a defense.
When they used to hang prisoners by the neck,
they knew that they would poop once the oxygen
was cut off.
"The thing about meconium
is that it's not really a problem. It's a wake-up
sign for the practitioner to watch for distress
but it's estimated (don't know by who) that
only 10% of the time it is distress. The other
90% of the time it means nothing. So, to induce
thinking you're going to prevent it is ridiculous."
-Gloria Lemay, Vancouver BC. For more about
meconium, go here.
Babies mature at their own rate
"Some babies take longer
to bake. Just think about babies' development
after birth: there is great variation in when
they reach certain milestones of growth, activity,
achievement, etc. Why do we expect them to all
mature at the same rate in utero?
"I have done a birth for
a woman an absolutely-known conception date-
she went 42 1/2 wks and had a term-looking baby,
clear fluid, lots of vernix. I did a birth for
a woman with twins this Spring- Baby #1 weighed
7 lbs and looked full-term. Baby #2 weighed
4 lbs12oz and looked about 35-36 wks. They were
born at 39.1 wks. NO QUESTION about any of those
conception dates/gestational ages." -Patrice
Bobier, Midwife in Michigan
Letting births happen in their
"There is a sort of chemical
combination lock' that starts labor. Everything
has to be lined up just right to unlock'
a good labor pattern. When we interfere with
that, it can be as frustrating as using the
wrong combination of numbers to open a locked
safe." -Midwife Gail Hart, "The
Birthkit", Autumn 2000
Should women be induced when
they go "postdates"?
"Women in good health (non-smokers,
with normal blood pressure, and no history of
diabetes) are best left to have the baby by
Nature's clock. There is no SAFE induction method."
private birth attendant
Advice for women with long pregnancies
"With my last (my 7th) I
was in prodomal labour for a good 6 weeks, and
she came 4 weeks later than all the rest. She
decided to come once I had given up watching
and waiting for her. Let yourself relax and
do stuff just for you, it may be the last time
for quite a while. Enjoy those last little kicks
and movements. I missed them almost right after
the birth, and feel some regret for not enjoying
the last days of pregnancy. It was probably
my last." -Jamie
Lovely blossoms open when they're
"Attending births is like
growing roses. You have to marvel at the ones
that just open up and bloom at the first kiss
of the sun, but you wouldn't dream of pulling
open the petals of the tightly closed buds,
and forcing them to blossom to your time line.
" -Gloria Lemay
From a doctor regarding postmature
"In the eight years when
I practiced homebirths as a registered doctor,
out of the 1,190 bookings I had 106 postmature
babies (more than 42 weeks) of which three went
to 48 weeks, a few more went to 46 weeks, and
lots went to 44 weeks- and all these babies
fared very well. Of those 106 babies, only one
fitted the textbook description of postmaturity,
looking like a little wrinkled old man with
stained skin, but that baby was extremely alert,
and insisted on looking around the room instead
"What decided me to do no
inductions for postmaturity was a very early
mother in my homebirth series who refused induction
despite my anxiety, went to 44 and a half weeks
and gave birth to a chubby pink, strong healthy
baby, with absolutely no sign of postmaturity.
Babies mature at different rates, not exactly
at 40 weeks, just as we adults do not become
senile at seventy years." -John Stevenson,
MD, "The Birthkit", Autumn 2000
Note that Dr. Stevenson also
advises prospective parents to not tell family
and friends exact "due dates", but to
be vague, with "due seasons" to avoid
being pestered by nervous well-wishers.
God Knows Babies
"I've come to realize that
a God who is big enough to so perfectly form
little eyes and ears and a little round nose
and a heart and lungs and every single part
of a little person is certainly big enough to
work out the details of their coming into the
world." -Vicki in Mars, PA
About castor oil inductions and
"Inducing with castor oil
isn't safe. Once swallowed the castor oil is
hydrolized by intestinal lipases to recinoleic
acid which stimulates intestinal secretion,
decreases glucose absorption and increases intestinal
motility. Castor oil is used in lipsticks, too.
Many women who can tolerate the oil quite well
on their lips get a reaction on their mouths
if the oil converts to recinoleic acid. My question
to a midwife who says castor oil is not absorbed
is 'Would you please provide me with references
for that statement'.
"It's not so long ago that
birthing women were given soap suds enemas (high,
hot and a helluva lot) because someone started
a rumour that soap was not absorbed through
the colon. We know this is not true and that
this black page in Obstetric history is best
forgotten. Too many women have turned from saying
'My doctor says' to saying 'My midwife says'.
Take responsibility for your and your family's
health. It's fine to respect professionals but
ask for references on everything you're not
l00 % sure of and use your internet to scope
things out. There is so much crap that passes
for science without anyone questioning it.
"On the subject of all the
women in a hurry to get their babies born: I
was 3 weeks 'overdue' with my oldest daughter.
What really helped me was that I had lunch with
a friend at about 8 mos pregnancy. Her son had
been born 6 months before. When she saw me walk
in the restaurant all hugely pregnant she said
'Oh, Gloria, when I see you I miss my pregnancy
so much'. I knew that one day I'd be saying
that, too, so I made up my mind to enjoy it
as long as poss. and I'm so glad I did. Six
months from now you'll be wondering what the
rush was. I worry about women taking castor
oil because you also give your baby castor oil
when you take it through the gut. This means
the baby will get diarhea and pass mec, too.
then you're into all the transports for mec.
"The other thing about self-inducing
is that you end up with erratic labours that
stop and start and are difficult to complete.
I just attended a Coroner's inquest here into
the death of a full term baby girl. The midwife
stripped membranes and got the woman into labour
but she had no urge to push. She was in second
stage a long time and then her perineum wouldn't
stretch. They cut an episiotomy to get the baby
out. Baby had bleeding in the brain and only
breathed on life support. Later, Mom's placenta
had to be manually removed because it wouldn't
come out. It seemed to me that this woman's
body wasn't ready to give birth and that the
membrane stripping caused an emergency response
in her body that produced dilation but eventually
"Bottom line: be patient
with your little babes and yourself."
A cervix isn't made "ripe"
by induction drugs or Foley catheters
"I recommend using caution
with language and question the use of the word
'ripening' to describe the process of irritating
the mother's body by inserting a foreign object.
This should properly and descriptively be called
'Foley catheter invasion and irritation'. Prostaglandin
gels applied to the cervix should be more honestly
described as 'chemically altering the consistency
of the cervix'. THERE IS NO RIPENING HAPPENING
WITH EITHER OF THESE METHODS.
"Midwives have used the term
ripening to describe a NATURAL process of the
cervical changes of late pregnancy. We take
a word from the plant kingdom because it is
similar to the slow, harmonious process that
happens to a plum as it turns from green and
hard to darker and darker purple, soft, mushy
and sweet. If one puts a whole bunch of plums
in a box when they are green and hard and sprays
them with chemicals, it is possible that in
a few days they will look like dark purple ripe
fruit. However, one taste will tell you that
Nature had nothing to do with the end product.
"Let's not fool ourselves
in birth either. This whole hospital induction
thing has got to stop. Whatever area we work
in we can call these invasions by their proper
names- irritation and chemical altering. Lying
about what's going on perpetuates the practice."
***Note- for studies about induction
dangers, go here.
The studies show that labor induction leads to
c-sections, shoulder dystocia, and instrumental
The baby will say when it's time
to be born
"Birth is more than a cervix
opening and a uterus squeezing a baby out. It's
more than the nuts and bolts mechanics of a
baby exiting a vagina- there is such a complex
dance of physiological, emotional, mental, and
spiritual elements involved in birth. And when
this balance is thrown off, distressing things
begin to happen with the baby.
"When a baby chemically announces
to her mother that it's time for the birth-
and many people believe that the signal to begin
the birth process comes from the baby- she does
it when her body systems are strong, and ready
to meet the extra-uterine world. She will not
instigate the birth process when her lungs and
digestive systems are still immature... and
even a few days of maturity will make the difference
for a baby's maturity and ableness to survive.
"It is the height of human
arrogance to dictate birth- time, mode, speed-
to a baby. They have their own needs and innate
demands (as in length of birth process); there
is no "one size fits all" in birth.
It is crucial that this is respected- especially
by mothers! We must learn to respect our babies
at birth- the most important, crucial event
of their lives. The events surrounding birth
last a lifetime... as does the respect and dignity
a mother learns to give her child."
pregnancy: what is the clinical evidence?
Rachel Westfall discusses forty-nine references
that illustrate amply that there is no definitive
reason to universally induce for "postdates"
(especially since on-time babies often have more
signs of "postmaturity" than ten month
Isn't the Problem; Induction Is Midwife
Gail Hart shows that even thick meconium isn't
problematic for babies, provided that the
meconium isn't a symptom of distress- and then
problem is the distress, not the mec. Included:
a large study that shows that postdates babies
are no more likely to suffer meconium aspiration
syndrome than on-time babies.
Paper about PostDates -excellent research
Postdates not associated in increased stilbirth,
meconium, or fetal distress: study
"Here's a large study that
deals with almost 2000 postdates women with confirmed
dates, and compares them to over 2500 controls
who are under 41 weeks. Note that incidence of
stillbirth and meconium were no different in the
groups, and that fetal distress was actually LOWER
in the postdates group!" -Gail
Hart, Midwife, Oregon
Expectant management of post-term
patients: observations and outcome.
Weinstein D, Ezra Y, Picard R,
Furman M, Elchalal U. Department of Obstetrics
and Gynecology, Hadassah University Hospital,
Ein-Karem, Jerusalem, Israel.
Post-term pregnancy is associated
with increased perinatal mortality. In a retrospective
study based on our post-term protocol from 1990
until May 1995 1,798 post-term pregnant women
with reliable dating were evaluated for expectant
management. A group of 2,633 pregnant women
who delivered between 37 and 41 weeks during
1994 served as a control group. The perinatal
mortality (0.56 per 1,000 vs. 0.75 per 1,000
in the control group) was similar in both groups.
The incidence of induction of labor (7.45% vs.
7% in the control group), meconium of more than
+1 (5.2% vs. 4% in the control group), shoulder
dystocia (0.33% vs. 0.19%), high birthweight
(> 4,500 g) (1% vs. 1%), and cesarean section
rates (7.5% vs. 7% in the control group) were
similar. However the fetal distress rates (11.6%
vs 16%; P = .004), instrumental deliveries (10.1%
vs. 13%, P = .002), and the rate of 5-minute
Apgar score of less then 7 (1.1% vs. 5%, P =
.000001) were found to be significantly lower
in the post-date group than in the control group.
We conclude that the expectant management and
our intensive observation and follow-up in post-term
is indicated for both mother and fetus.
J Matern Fetal Med 1996 Sep-Oct;5(5):293-7
Gail Hart, Midwife
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