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Lessons from Acorns

February 22, 2012

My son and I enjoy going for walks in our neighborhood and he especially enjoys visiting a neighbor that has a whole yard full of acorns. We usually pick up several and bring them back to our house where they entertain him for a good 10-15 minutes. His favorite nuts were the ones still wearing “hats” (actually called a involucre or cupule)

One day while we were playing with our loot I started wondering why were some acorns still wearing their hats while others were not. All of the acorns started growing about the same time. They had all been gestating on the tree for the same amount of time yet clearly some were ready to go onto the next phase of their life (germination or food for another animal) and others needed more time on the tree.

As a birth professional, it is only fitting that I draw a comparison to childbirth. I have a firm belief that some babies need longer in the womb then others. Some mothers give birth at 39 weeks and others not until 42 weeks. I see it as simply as I the nuts in this picture.

I recently had a conversation with a pregnant mom about her OB and how he practices. She said that he likes to induce his patients at 39 weeks for two reasons. 1) Because the baby is a bit smaller and will therefore be easier to birth and 2) Because the final weeks of pregnancy are hard on moms and they will have a bit more energy for labor if induced earlier. This conversation shocked and frustrated me. How could someone really think that those were good reasons to induce? How could his patients think these were valid reasons and worth the risks associated with induction?

Why do we feel that at the very end of the process that we know better? Why do we feel that our bodies no longer know what to do? Babies seem to know what they are doing. They grow hearts, livers, brains and even fingernails without our help. Our bodies create placentas and umbilical cords without our assistance.

My question to the care providers in the world is why can’t we honor mother nature and let babies choose the day of their birth? Give the baby a chance to tell us when it is ready. Have you ever tried to take the ‘hat’ off a green acorn? It’s nearly impossible. Give the acorn a few more days/weeks and it easily falls off by itself. Try to induce a mom with a low bishops score and you are bound to have a difficult time getting labor started. Give her a few days/weeks and she will go into labor on her own.

Come on people..Don’t give up on mother nature!

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