8 Days overdue and still waiting
What are your get-this-labour-started secrets?
I am in England at the moment.  I flew here 10 days ago to support my sister who is giving birth to her first child.  Having lived in South African all my life and being of an age where all my friends have had their babies in the last 10 years, I am amazed at how different things are in England.

Of my main group of close friends in South Africa, 2 have had natural births and all the others have had caesareans.  All were in hospital for 2 - 4 days and all babies were delivered by gynae / obs / paediatrician teams.

My sister is now 41 weeks pregnant and has only seen midwives throughout her pregnancy. She has attended classes, been for check-ups, scans, had advice etc. but still no doctor in sight.

Sent home to wait... until 42 weeks!

Yesterday, we went to the midwife for a sweep to help get things started.  The midwife said that she is 2 cm dilated and should go home and rest.  You are only allowed to go into the hospital when your contractions are 3 minutes apart.  If you go in earlier, they just send you home.  They only look at inducing the ladies when they are 14 days overdue……..a whopping 42 weeks pregnant!

We are at home now with what my sister has described as major period pains.  She has a TENS machine and a Doppler machine which are both on loan from the hospital.  The TENS machine sends little electric pulses into your back during contractions to stimulate the nerves for pain relief and the Doppler monitors the baby’s heartbeat.

There is so much emphasis placed on being at home with your partner and being comfortable, resting and leaving the hospital part until the very end.

Different country, different style

Once she has the contractions 3 minutes apart, we have to go to the hospital and the midwives will assist with the delivery.  If everything goes perfectly, she will be discharged with her baby 6 hours after giving birth.  The only time a doctor is called in is if things are going wrong and there are problems.

Once you are home with your new baby, the midwife visits you on days 1, 3, 5 and 10 and more often if you need it.  She assists you at home with breastfeeding, baby blues and general information to get you prepared for parenthood.

Wow – very different to South Africa!  I must say I am learning so much over here but one great question remains unanswered…How do we get the labour to start?  My sister has tried walking, curry, pineapple and a few other things but still no baby.  Any hints would be greatly appreciated as I have to fly home to Cape Town next week and I would hate to miss the whole event!

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