So you’re due on or around Christmas and your doctor has offered to induce you (or schedule a C-section) a week or so before the big day.
Do you take her up on it, or do you wait until you go into labor on your own?
Ask anyone — they’d probably prefer to not be in the hospital for Christmas. And a Christmas birthday? Most of us have heard the horror stories about kids getting ripped off in the gift department. But if you really had a choice, would you induce early just to avoid the possibility of a holiday birthday, or would you prefer to let nature take its course?
Quite a few moms we talked with thought that choosing a baby’s birth date for what amounts to convenience was not the way to go. “I would never,” stated Lindsay, mom of two. “My child's health means more than a day on the calendar.” While many inductions go very well with no ill effects on the mother or child, sometimes it can lead to a cascade of medical interventions that sometimes lead to a C-section — or the induction may not work at all because Mom’s body wasn’t ready. Even worse, sometimes the baby isn’t ready for life outside the womb and serious complications can arise.
Not so bad
While being in the hospital on a major holiday has its drawbacks, it can also be kind of nice. “My baby was born on Christmas Eve, so we also spent Christmas in the hospital,” shared Amanda, mom of four. “It was very peaceful and really quite special to spend Christmas Day in the hospital with my new baby. The halls were quiet and visitors were few. It’s a good memory.” And Claire, mother of one, said, “In fact, if I had to be induced for medical reasons, and Christmas Day was one of the options, I would pick it!”
Scheduled C-sections are often a different story — they are usually offered to prior C-section mothers who don’t wish (or don’t meet the qualifications) for a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) trial. “Any future births of mine will be planned C-sections, so yes I would avoid Christmas Day and the three days before,” explained Liz from Iowa.
And there are other reasons moms have to avoid specific dates, whether they be Christmas or not. Rachael, who lost her daughter last year to SIDS at 5 months of age and now expecting her third child, told us, “If they told me we need to take this baby out a week early, which would be the day Scarlette died, I would request any day but that. A baby born on Christmas wouldn’t bother me, but a baby born on my baby’s death date would be really, really hard to swallow.”
Expectant mothers should carefully consider any reason for electively inducing labor — holidays or not — and work carefully with their care provider to understand what the risks may be. In many cases, inductions go well, but they don’t always, so you want to be prepared in either case.