The waiting is the hardest part

Clare between 38 and 39 weeks

Clare between 38 and 39 weeks

So, with any luck, I am nearing the end of pregnancy. We are excited to meet the kid. With the passing of the 38th week milestone comes the anticipation of when labor will actually begin. The “official” due date based on the fetus size at the first ultrasound is 2/8. However, a study of “The Length of Uncomplicated Human Gestation.”, published in 1990 indicates that as a first time white mom with health insurance, my kid is more likely to emerge around Valentine’s day. The study only has 31 first time births, so hard to say how much weight to place on it. But it’s main point it that it is significantly longer than the due date predicted by Naegele’s rule (2/1 for me). According to Rob’s calculations, there is a 50% chance the kid will be here by 2/9. I wish the confidence intervals on this kind of thing were easier to find. It’s hard to mentally prepare for labor and work at the same time.

My love of data and numbers, incidentally, is why I don’t like pain scales. There are lots of resources for pain management techniques for labor, but nothing that is really concrete about what to expect as it does not seem to translate very well from one person to another. One thing I attribute this to is lack of definition or consistency in measuring pain between induhviduals. When a nurse asks you how much pain you are in on a scale from 1 – 10, what does that mean? Is it linear? Logarithmic? That is, is a 4 twice as much pain as a 2 or an 8 10 times as much pain as a 7? Is anything less than a 5 something that you can handle with your daily business? Does acute pain count differently than chronic pain? Do they have a fixed point like a 2 is always how much pain a cloths pin on your ear
causes? No one can ever answer these questions.

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