Some women are aware of the most likely date of conception of their child, however many women, especially those with less regular cycles, are not able to clearly identify a conception date. For this reason most doctors will initially calculate a due date as 40 weeks from the date of a woman’s last period, however this is likely to be around two weeks earlier than the full 40 weeks gestation.

A more accurate due date can be obtained through ultrasound scanning which looks at the size of the baby and the development of the placenta amongst other factors. However, even ultrasounds are based on broad estimates and it is a fact of life that some pregnancies go on longer than others.

If a pregnancy goes over 42 weeks (however that time period is measured) then hospitals will normally book the mother for an induction. However, according to the National Institute of Clinical Excellence this is not always medically necessary unless the baby is showing signs of distress. Such signs can be the presence of meconium, altered Heartbeat, lack of fluid, and a number of other factors that a midwife and doctor will consider. Safety is always the first priority, but if all is well with your health and your baby’s health then continued monitoring rather than induction may also be an option.


Traditional Chinese Medicine and Labour

Because of the way Traditional Chinese Medicine views different types of Qi (energy) and the way they affect the body there are acupuncture points that are thought to bring on labour. However, because Traditional Chinese Medicine is thought to work with the body rather than against it, a properly administered acupuncture treatment will not cause labour to come on earlier than it naturally should.

Naava Carman will only ever administer such an acupuncture treatment in a healthy pregnancy after the medically advised estimated due date. Treatments involve the placing of acupuncture needles in specific points in the hands, feet and lower back, and may include massaging of acupuncture points in the shoulders. The needles are left in for up to 30 minutes per treatment, during which the mother might experience mild contractions and feel the baby move. The treatment may be repeated over a period of three to five days if labour has not started.

There has been an interesting study originating in New Zealand which appears to confirm that pre-birth acupuncture treatment increases the chances of a prompt labour. Please click here to see more information about this study. (can you please link to the information on the page this click-through takes you to in some way).


The ‘On Time’ Service

This service involves 3 treatments in the three weeks leading up to the due date. As a result of these sessions, almost all of the ladies Naava has seen in her my clinic go into labour within about 5 days either side of their due date, avoiding any artificial induction. Should the baby not arrive on time, as part of this package she offers a ‘natural’ induction session – Naava has only had to do 3 in all these years!

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a complementary therapy and the Fertility Support Company does not advocate it as an alternative to Western medicine. If you are in any doubt about your health or symptoms you are experiencing you should consult your doctor. The Fertility Support Company and its practitioners do not claim to induce birth or to “cure” any ailment.

Naava Carman runs a one hour intensive one-on-one birth preparation sessions for mothers and fathers-to-be. The sessions cover choosing where to give birth, making a birth plan (which is a document that doctors and midwives must consider during labour and birth), your rights to treatment within the NHS and practical tips for dealing with midwives and doctors if things are not going according to plan.

The choice of where to give birth is one which can impact tremendously on the health of mother and baby, and the bond between birthing mothers and their partners. Naava will help newly pregnant women and their partners make themselves aware of their options and she particularly recommends viewing the local hospitals before making a decision.

Similarly, making a birthing plan is an essential part of labour preparation. Although nothing in labour ever goes to plan, having a guide for yourself, your partner and your healthcare professional which clearly states your wishes and preferences can ensure that everyone has a clear understanding of what steps you would like to be taken before, during or after medical intervention.

In this session Naava will also cover what to expect in the first trimester of pregnancy, explain a patient’s care options and the different scans and tests which will be suggested depending on the area in which the patient lives.

Attendees at these sessions receive a briefing pack with key facts and suggested further reading materials to help couples prepare for the birth.

Naava Carman is a fully trained Birth Doula with Doula UK. She also works for Doula UK as a Mentor, shepherding newly qualified Doula’s through their period as a trainee until they are ready for qualification as a Recognised Doula.

A doula is a birth partner or post-birth partner. She can help a pregnant woman before, during and/or after the birth. She can be any age from early twenties to late sixties. However, she must be kind, caring and supportive.

Naava is an experienced Birth Doula, and attends births at venues across London. She has attended births at many hospitals in north London including UCH, Barnet General, St Mary’s, The Whittington, The Royal Free, Edgware Birthing Centre and Watford General. She is always delighted when asked to attend a home birth, and is used to working with both independent midwives and NHS midwives.

Whether in a birthing centre, consultant unit or attending a birth at home Naava is a calm presence, focused on supporting both mother and father during the labour and able to help the parents-to-be navigate any difficult situations which may arise during the course of the birth.

Click here for more information about the profession of ‘Doula.’