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Hospital policy and Ari's birth...

Every now and then I see someone ask about birth weights and times of delivery (whether before or after 40 weeks). It's always a bit of shock to the system when the inevitable prem birth (36 weeks or earlier) is mentioned. Often these prem babies weigh the same, if not more than Ari did at birth.

You see, Ari was born at 41 weeks and three days. So, a week and a half past his estimated due date. He weighed 2.6kg, which is the average weight of a baby born at 36 weeks.

For having been born at 41.5, Ari was in the 3rd percentile for gestational age. Now, that in itself is not significant - many smaller babies are small because their parents (particularly, the mothers) are small in stature. Small babies are not surprising in those cases.

However, my first three babies were 4.5, 4.0, and 3.9kg each. So, my babies tended to be bigger than average for gestational age, not smaller.

This has often had me wondering what would have happened if I had been managed within the hospital system. Would I have been monitored with more ultrasounds? Would Ari have been considered at risk for failure to thrive? Would I possibly have been induced early?

Ari was average length for my kids, about 51cm. He did have the smallest head circumference, though, at 31.4cm, basically PI! The others had been 38.5cm (yes, really, and yes, that did hurt), 36cm and 37cm. So, Ari's head circumference was also significantly smaller than my other babies (mind you, he's gifted, so small head does not equate small intelligence capacity).

Ari was born at home. His birth was boring and uncomplicated - and fast, a whole hour of active labour. He wasn't sick in any way. I did have to send a friend out to buy him 00000 baby rompers (which were big on him), because my kids had never been smaller than 0000 - and then only for two weeks or so. That's was probably the most exciting thing about his birth.

Would he have had such a peaceful, uncomplicated birth in a hospital?

I guess I'll never know.


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