“Have you had the baby yet?”. As much as they love their friends and family this text or call can be one of the biggest irritants to mums-to-be as they go past their due date. Ironically, the worst culprits are often other women who, without thinking, feel they are being attentive to their friends and bombard them with texts, saying “just checking that you’re ok”, “oh so you haven’t had the baby yet”. An acute example is my own mother, who phoned the hospital and was buzzed through by reception to the intercom in my room, during labour, at least twice to ask how I was doing!
Most people automatically send a text round when baby is born; I’ve received numerous texts at 2, 3 or 4 am. So the rule of thumb is if you haven’t received a text then baby hasn’t arrived into the world yet and if baby is on their way, and mum knows, she’s unlikely to want to text you back or chat to you.
Friends and family should fight the urge to call the mum, who may beat the receiving end of dozens of texts from well meaning people. At the same time mum-to-be may be under pressure for induction – the texts or phone calls may become a reminder that she’s over her date.
Mum may think, “I’ll switch my phone off”. But the sound of an answer message can just stir up the excitement even more, because if your phone is switched off everyone who calls assumes that you are in labour.
I know and you may know that you are not at term until you reach 42 weeks, and that the majority of women birth their babies before this date, but very often over their 40 week due date. Only around 3-4% of babies come on their due date.
We also know that any stress or apprehension can stop labour from starting, so it’s incredibly important that mum doesn’t have these reminders everywhere, and that she is able to go, stress free, into labour when she and her baby are ready.
There are several things you can do to minimise this disturbance late in pregnancy.
- Don’t tell people your due date. Tell them an approximate time, eg. The end of August, middle of September.
- Tell your friends that you will message them straight away when baby is born.
- Ask them not to text you, to ask “how you are”, or “if baby has arrived” after your due date but maybe a “I’m nipping to the supermarket, do you want anything” text is fine.
- Get some lovely relaxation music to reduce stress at the time when you may be getting anxious. Try the Mindful Mamma Mp3 on itunes.