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Worth the Wait

Nine months can feel like an eternity when you are waiting to meet your new baby.

As a pregnancy progresses, it seems like the day will never come when you can hold your baby for the first time, count all those fingers and toes and be done with the discomforts of your growing belly.

But as hard as it can be to wait, every day counts when it comes to a developing baby, says Dr. Christine Keup. “If your pregnancy is healthy, the best gift you can give your baby is to give birth at full-term,” says Dr. Keup. “A lot is happening those last few weeks.”

Some mothers don’t get a choice about when to have their babies. Medical issues force them to have their baby early. Some mothers may want to choose an early delivery.

According to the March of Dimes, during the past 20 years the number of inductions has more than doubled. They say many of those births are being scheduled early for non-medical reasons.

By waiting until at least 39 weeks of development to have a baby, a new mom gives her baby the best chance to develop. The March of Dimes wants new moms to know “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait.”

Moms who wait for labor to naturally start make sure their babies are fully ready to be born, says Dr. Keup. Your medical provider looks at several factors in determining a due date, but even with an ultrasound, that date can be off as much as two weeks.

Important organs, like the brain, lungs and liver, are still developing up through 39 weeks of pregnancy. In fact, a baby’s brain doubles in size during the last six weeks of pregnancy.

Dr. Keup says during those last few weeks, a baby is still learning to suck and swallow, and stay awake long enough to eat after birth. That baby is also still growing, making progress every day toward being born at a healthy weight.

A baby’s eyes and ears are still developing. Babies born too early are much more likely to have vision or hearing problems later in life. Talk to your Sanford medical provider about things you can do to help you and your baby make it to a full-term birth.

“Have that discussion with your health care provider, knowing what the benefits are to your baby of each additional day,” says Keup. “Give yourself and your baby the best start possible.”

To learn more about how to ensure stronger, healthier babies, click here.

Posted Date: October 2013