There are tons of mommy forums and mommy blogs that are influential and followed by a great many women. Some provide really great advice, some are humorous and some share stories of triumphs and tribulations. I think that is great. I, personally, belong to a group of physician moms. What I don't think is great is when someone with zero training to do so, imparts medical advice to their readers.
I am not entirely sure why this is so, but I have a sneaking suspicion many people feel that what they read on the internet is equivalent to "doing their research." I cannot stand hearing this because inevitably it is followed up with a statement where you end up either offending the individual or drawing blood from having to bite your tongue.
One of these sore points, for me, is the perniciousness of the "natural" movement. There is a drive to incorporate something "holistic' into a situation that neither requires nor warrants it. To be truthful, I don't even know what that means. Some mommy forums, not all, discourage fellow moms from seeking medical attention when they go beyond the 40 weeks of a normal gestation. Mothers pregnant beyond their due date are encouraged to "stay firm" as if avoiding necessary medical intervention (induction) is like rebelling against the evil medical establishment.
The reason why I am choosing to write about this is because this is insane. These types of forums are causing undue harm ranging from questionable to blatantly awful. Rebelling against medical intervention that is indicated is not "sticking it to the man." Encouraging a woman to place the life of herself and her unborn baby at risk ranks up there as blatantly awful. God help us if they insist on a home birth – which is throwing a match on a blanket doused with gasoline – it is not going to end well.
Current guidelines provided by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists state that at 41 weeks, labor induction may be considered and at 42 weeks it is recommended. What is the big deal about waiting versus not waiting you ask? Simply put, life and death – increased risk of death and disability for both mother and baby. Rates of stillbirth increase after 39 weeks with a sharp incline after 40 weeks. It is believed that utero-placental insufficiency (lack of adequate blood circulation), meconium aspiration and intrauterine infection are the underlying causes of the increased perinatal mortality rates in these cases.
There is a strong body of evidence that demonstrates induction of labor at term and prior to 42 weeks of gestation (particularly between 40 and 42 weeks) is associated with a reduction in perinatal complications without an associated increase in caesarean-section rates. As a colleague of mine put it, "I would way prefer to do pre-term deliveries than post-term. Those are the kids that end up on nitric oxide, on the oscillator (a type of mechanical ventilator) with pneumothoraces and pressors, sedated to the wazoo to avoid having them fight the vent because they are so big and reactive...shudder."
I can appreciate that most of these moms strive to do well by their children. Tragically, they become victims and their babies become victims of gross misinformation. If you have not had your baby by 40 weeks, please don't "listen to nature." Seek medical help.