U.S. gestational age has shortened dramatically 1990-2020
Back on my shit about how looking at other countries' data gives context for the U.S. perinatal system. Can you think of a reason why gestational age decreased dramatically from 1990 to now? Or why that might be so different from two other countries in the year 2020 (graph on slide 2)? Or why other countries deliver a measurable number of babies at 42 weeks but the U.S. does not?
One part of that answer is that providers don't get sued for taking extreme measures to save an unborn baby's life. Another answer is the ARRIVE trial. Another answer is racism and the systemic intentional eradication of Black midwives.
So what does this look like irl? You go in for an ultrasound and one small thing looks off. You're "overdue" at 40 weeks and 3 days, or the fetal heart rate slowed once during your NST. Your provider tells you that it could be nothing but they highly recommend that you head to the hospital immediately for an induction. Better safe than sorry, right? You rush there without your stuff. Then, you have a multi-day induction that is hard on you, your partner, and your baby.
Maybe zooming out like this or reading research is overwhelming. That's why you hire a doula - preferably one who knows how to reach and decode research. Maybe even one who has published their own research. 🤓