BirthKuwait Inagural Gala

BirthKuwait Inagural Gala
celebrating 4 years of giving (note: it's by invite only)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Feeling Pressure to Schedule Your Baby?

It’s nearing summer holidays, and you’re a pregnant woman due over the summer. Not only do you have to go through pregnancy during the HEAT of a Kuwaiti summer, but there is added pressure from family and healthcare providers  to “schedule” your baby’s birthday around travel plans, Eid Holidays, and scheduled work-leave.  So try to remember- that scheduling a baby’s delivery without a compelling medical reason can put your baby at risk.

There are not many doctors who want to be pacing the hallways right before leaving for their summer holidays, or even when they'd rather be out on the jet ski enjoying a beautiful summer day. So it’s not uncommon to see a surge of women with normal pregnancies being told that there might be an issue and that they should consider scheduling the delivery, coincidentally, right before a holiday.


It’s not just your healthcare professional who may try to rush your baby’s arrival.  You may have family flying in from far away for the big event or family leaving for holidays who want to be there for the birth; or you may need to travel to another country and only have a window of time (maternity leave) before you need to return to work; or you might find the idea of a symmetrical birthdate appealing: 11/11/11 and 01/11/11 were both big day for births in Kuwait!  You may also fear that your preferred healthcare provider will be on holiday and might be tempted to agree to a scheduled early delivery to guarantee that your provider will be available for the birth, or you might be trying to schedule your birth around the availability of that perfect reception room!


I totally understand these kinds of pressures. There are so many people who you want to be a part of your birth team, family and cultural traditions you want to incorporate, and summer plans that you are trying to accomodate. But if you schedule your deliver, whether through induction or cesarean, will you still think it was worth it if you or your baby experience complications as a result? One complication of scheduling your baby’s birthday, is that often your baby is delivered just a little too early.  A growing body of research shows that giving a baby those last few weeks or days inside the uterus can be crucial to the baby’s health.  Babies born even a “little” early face risks including breastfeeding difficulties, learning and behavioral problems, breathing problems, increased chance of time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and risk of death.

"You can play a key part in driving down avoidable prematurity.  Red flags” that might signal being pressured into an unnecessarily early delivery include:

 • The care provider suggests that the baby is too big and will be easier to deliver “a little early”

 • The suggestion is made that the care provider won’t be available for a holiday delivery or will be “booked up”

 • The timing of the delivery is centered on travel and celebration schedules

 • Holiday stress is driving feelings of wanting to get the pregnancy “over with”

Here are some things you can do if you feel you are being pressured into an early delivery:

 Ask your provider if you need to make a decision right now.  If not, ask why not?  Few decisions need to be made on the spot unless the mother or baby are clearly doing poorly.

 Research your options.  Use credible sources of information, like Lamaze, Childbirth Connection, Mothering Magazine’s online forum or your doula to see what the research says and talk to other moms about their experiences.

 Make a pro/con list.  Label your pros and cons with “medical” vs. “personal” and weigh the “medical” pros and cons more heavily.  If you are talking about a major medical intervention like cesarean or induction and you don’t have a good list of cons, it’s a good sign that you need to do more research.

 Trust your gut.  Your instincts are geared to protect you and your baby from risk.  Listen to what your gut is saying in the context of the research.

 Find support.  It’s hard to disagree with your health care provider, so be sure that you go into your appointments with someone who can help you have an informed, evidence-based conversation about your best options [a doula, husband, mother, sister, friend".  Birthing With Confidence