I'm on the other end of the spectrum. A home birth is considered safe between 37 and 43 weeks provided there are no other complications. I'm now sitting at 39 weeks and willing my baby to come. I really don't want to go over, I was born three weeks late and caused no end of trouble to my poor mother! After 41 weeks the hospital like to see pregnant women to observe the baby and the placenta every couple of days, and as long as all is well and healthy then I can just wait as long as I am comfortable.
Who you choose as your primary carer (ie midwife or obstetrician) largely indicates when it is acceptable for your baby to arrive, but the other strange thing is how due dates are actually calculated. It is assumed by those little wheels they use that every woman has a 28 day cycle and ovulates on day 14. Any woman reading this is probably laughing out loud, My cycle for example is 23 days and I ovulate on day 8. How do I know? I can feel it, a little twinge in one ovary, alternating sides around the 8th day after my period. But most women can't tell when they are ovulating so they have to make some assumptions. So if ovulate 6 days earlier than most women then it follows that my baby will be due 6 days earlier. This works in my favour because I can tell everyone the later due date and hope that the baby comes by then. Most first babies are born about one week late, which puts me back to the later date.
To prepare my body and my baby for birth I have been doing a few different things. None of these are directly to induce labour, more just to encourage things in the right direction.
- Many herbal teas ncourage contractions. Choose what feels appropriate for your dosha. I found raspberry leaf too astringent, and have preferred dandelion made into chai, or tea made from two parts fennel and one part fennugreek, brewed fairly weak, about 1 tspn to 500 mls water.
- Walking, squatting, lunging, belly dancing, hula hooping and cat and cow all help to open the pelvis and encourage baby to head South.
- Talking to baby, telling stories about how wonderful the world is and how much love is here waiting, as well as visualing the birth positively surely can't do any harm at all!