After watching yet another episode of "A Baby Story" tonight where a couple decided to induce labor because the mom was 41 weeks along, I'm thinking we need a new way to express when a baby is due. Like an "arrival month" or a "possible week or birth." I know, those aren't good enough, but there's got to be something. Something that clearly communicates that we have no idea what day this baby's supposed to be born, but we're guessing it's probably in July.
The words the parents on the show tonight were powerful and really communicated that they felt like their baby had failed to arrive on time. "My due date was a week ago." "She's 8 days past her due date now." The beginning of the show was them keeping track of how late the baby was.
As the episode went on, they were at the hospital for the induction, she "failed to progress," the doctor told her that either the baby was too big or her pelvis was too small (not that the induction wasn't working) and proceeded to do a C-section that resulted in the birth of a 6 pound, 9 ounce baby (not too big, I'd think). It got me that the doctor assumed that there was either something wrong with the baby or the woman, not the way they were going about things. Nobody said, "Hey! Maybe you just weren't ready to have the baby and that's why you're not progressing!"
The show tonight illustrated how we need to move away from the idea that there is an actual day by which the baby is due. Healthcare providers who work with these moms need to step back and let the pregnancy be, as long as everything is going well with mom and baby.
Whether you're 38 weeks or 42, when your body goes into labor on its own is generally the time that your baby is ready to be born. I personally had three babies at 39 weeks and one at 40+3. I've attended births where the moms were 42+5 weeks and 41+1 weeks. Babies finish gestating on their own schedule.
My question is: What should be call the new "due" thing? What is a good way to tell people about when the baby will arrive without planting the idea of a date in the heads of parents and providers?