5 reasons not to wish for an early baby
You’re tired and heavy, and wish the baby would just come. But here’s why it’s important to hang in for those last few weeks.
There is nothing fun about the last month of pregnancy. When you are huge and uncomfortable, unable to sleep properly at night and just thinking about food gives you the most horrible heartburn.

But no matter how irritable and tired you are, try to remember that these last weeks in the womb are crucial for baby's development. And although you might think you do, you really don't want your baby to come early.

1. Premature babies tend to have problems

Babies born before 38 weeks are considered premature. They are likely to have breathing or heart problems and are at risk of developing lasting conditions, like mental retardation, learning and behavioural problems, cerebral palsy, lung problems, hearing and vision problems.

There are some studies claiming premature babies are more at risk of developing autism and may even in adulthood be more prone to conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Premature babies may have to spend some time in the ICU and the earlier a baby is born, the bigger are the risks for his/her general health.

2. Early babies are prone to colic

Many experts believe there is no such thing as colic – but ask any parent of a colicky baby and they'll definitely set you straight. There is no scientific proof that early babies are more likely to have colic, but many premature babies are known to have battled colic.

Colic goes away after a few months and though there is no lasting damage for either mom or baby – it pretty much wrecks the first few months for everyone in the family. Sleep deprivation, exhaustion, howling baby….need I say more?

3. You won't be ready

Even if you aren't supermom with a birthplan and music pre-recorded for your water birth at home, you will want to be prepared for your baby's birth.

If your baby comes early, your hospital bag may not be packed or like a friend of mine, you'll be in a restaurant with friends when your water breaks and you'll have one embarrassing exit in front of loads of people.

If you already have children, you'll want to prepare them, making the adjustment to the new baby as smooth and easy as possible.  

4. Your gynae may be on holiday

Yes, it happens. But if your baby comes really early or at an unexpected time, your gynae or obstetrician might not be available and you will have to deal with a new, different doctor, which given the time and circumstances, really isn't ideal.

5. It could be more expensive

You may not have had time to organise your labour with your insurance and hospital and in the rush of things, you may end up in the wrong kind of ward or heading for a procedure that should have been cleared with your insurance first.

This will set you up for months of wrangling after the birth, possibly leaving you to have to pay more than you bargained for, all at a time when you really don't need the extra stress.

Convinced? Here are a few things you can do to limit your chances of having a premature baby or early birth:
  • Take it easy, rest
  • Don't work too hard, don't exercise excessively
  • Don't smoke, drink or use illegal drugs
  • Avoid stress
  • Avoid situations that put you at risk of falling or suffering any kind of physical blow or knock
  • Go to all of your medical check-ups 

Have you had a premature baby – or one born past due date? Share your story below or email us on chatback@parent24.com

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