Ideas in the medical community seem to change rapidly. Especially when it comes to children/babies/pregnancy. Put them on their tummies to sleep. No, wait. Put them on their backs. Keep them rear facing until age one. Now, it's age two.
These changes are important. They keep our children safe. For example, we no longer have to worry about our child being thrown through the car window in an accident on the way home from the hospital because we have infant car seats. We know to buckle them up before we head out and to make sure they are in a 5 point harness until certain age and weight.
Here's a newer recommendation that you may not have heard of, though. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that no elective delivery should be performed before the gestational age of 39 weeks.
The reasoning for the recommendation is for the safety of mother and baby. studies report rates of 28–35.8% of elective deliveries occurring before 39 weeks and reveal that they also contribute to increased rates of late-preterm births These deliveries are associated with increased neonatal morbidity, neonatal intensive care unit admissions, and associated hospital costs compared to deliveries occurring at 39–40 weeks. (taken from this website.)
In regular people terms, they found it causes more breathing issues and deaths in babies when they are "forced" to come before 39 weeks, (and, again, we're obviously NOT talking about pregnancies with health concerns for momma or baby here.)
This recommendation has even changed since O's birth. I was induced with her at 38 weeks (of course, one could argue that I was 5 cm dilated, 70% effaced, I was contracting, and she was very low. My OB's conclusion was that I may not make it to the hospital in time. Therefore, it would be under the ACOG's list of "okay to induce". But, I still believe her breathing issues stemmed from her c/s and being forced out before she was completely ready.)
Now, my last three children have entered this world on their own timing. A was 38 weeks, Isaac was 37, and Eliza was 39. I can tell you, from experience, that Eliza is, by far, more "advanced" at 4 weeks than my other kids. When I say "advanced" I don't mean that she's talking in full sentences. I mean that E and I have noticed a marked difference in several things when we compare her to the other kids.
1. How alert she is when she's awake
2. How well and fast she nurses
3. How she's able to hold her head up sooner/more
4. How she cries a lot less
5. How she just "looks" older
Eliza at 2.5 weeks
Now, obviously, these are in no way medical issues that would be a cause for concern in a 37 weeker versus a 39 weeker. But, I firmly believe that a lot of these things are due to the fact that her brain is more mature. I mean, if you figure it all out, she's really 2 weeks "older" or "more mature" than Isaac and Olivia were at this same out-of-the-womb-age. She's had more time for her nervous system to mature.
So, there you have it. My soap box post for the month. Let your babies pick their own birthday if you can. If not, wait until they are 39 weeks before you induce. Their little baby brains will thank you.