pregnancy

Meghan Markle might be past her due date. Here's what that means for her birth plans.

An expectant mum can plan a lot of things, but how the actual delivery will transpire isn’t one of them – and the Duchess of Sussex’s (probable) current situation of being overdue is a perfect example of that.

Although, that doesn’t mean she didn’t try to make some of her own birth rules.

Last month, Meghan Markle and her husband Prince Harry announced to the world that there would be no ‘showing’ of the newly minted seventh-in-line to the throne on the famous steps of the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital, as her sister-in-law Kate Middleton and even mother-in-law Princess Diana did with their babes.

Meghan and Harry: From birth to now. Post continues after video. 

“Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private,” Kensington Palace said in a statement.

“The Duke and Duchess look forward to sharing the exciting news with everyone once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family.”

From that statement, we discovered the Sussexes had private plans for their birth and the absence of a public viewing of the royal baby caused many to conclude that the Duchess may be opting for a home birth at Frogmore Cottage.

While some reports suggested she was considering the nearby Frimley Park hospital, where Sophie, Countess of Wessex, also welcomed her two children, others believed Meghan, 37, has instead chosen to have her baby at home.

royal baby name
Meghan and Harry won't be posing on the steps of the Lindo Wing after the birth of their first child. Image: Getty.
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The decision to have a home birth would make sense for someone like Meghan, who’s historically bucked tradition. A home birth is often chosen when a woman trusts the natural delivery process, and her own body, to safely deliver her baby; and being the strong, independent woman Meghan is, that sounds like a fitting choice.

It would also make sense as it would be a nod to the Queen, who was born at the Mayfair home of her grandparents, and who gave birth to all four of her children at either Buckingham Palace or Clarence House.

So, if a home birth is the plan, where does it leave the Duchess now? Because it seems that there’s a factor that most likely wasn’t in her birth plan – she is overdue.

We officially know the baby is due sometime in the spring of 2019, and Meghan herself has said she’s due “late April/early May.”

We also know Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, flew into the UK from Los Angeles a fortnight ago, and the Duchess' friend and trusted makeup artist, Daniel Martin, has also been spotted around her home.

Meghan Markle mum Christmas 2018
Meghan Markle and her mother, Doria Ragland. Image: Getty.

And on May 4th, just two days ago, Harry announced he would be delaying an official trip to Amsterdam.

So, if the very private Meghan hasn’t already given birth, unbeknownst to all of us, and she is still expecting, what will, or should, happen next?

We asked Dr Philippa Costley, Melbourne OB/GYN and spokeswoman for the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

If Meghan goes into labour now at Frogmore Cottage, will she need to be transferred to a hospital?

“It’s difficult to assess that as there are many factors we don’t know about Meghan,” Dr Costley said.

“We’re not sure how overdue she is, but we do know that the longer she’s overdue, the higher the risk factors of foetal compromise - which is most likely to happen due to the placenta failing.”

Dr Costley further explained the risks of an overdue pregnancy that may warrant a transfer to a hospital.

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“A normal term is 37 to 41 weeks. In an otherwise uncomplicated pregnancy, most protocols recommend induction of labour between 10 and 14 days overdue," she said.

“The further overdue a patient is, the higher the chances of a C-section, because the foetus might not tolerate the labour, and also, the foetus is probably larger.”

As to what Dr Costley advises her patients about home births, she said: “I normally only see patients when their care been transferred after an attempted home birth.

“Patients are often disappointed that their plan hasn’t worked out. But by the time they’ve come to hospital, they’ve been fully informed as to why it was necessary, so they’re accepting of the situation.”

And is there ever a time when an induced labour is legally mandatory?

“No. At all times, a woman is in control of her own treatment," Dr Costley said. "The foetus has no legal rights, so even if a doctor thought an induction might be in the best interests of the baby, the procedure would still need the woman’s consent – unless, of course, it was an emergency situation.”

Considering the situation, it’s natural for us to wonder how Meghan's faring now, with her birth plan likely derailed. Would she be freaking out that things have not gone as she expected, or gone her way?

Contrary to some people’s opinion of Meghan being ‘a difficult woman’, we think ‘freaking out’ doesn’t sound very Meghan Markle at all. And just a couple of days ago, we had confirmation of that.

Harper's BAZAAR reported that a source close to Meghan said she was feeling "comfortable and content as she awaited the arrival of her first born. Meg is with the most important people in her life … she's calm".

This news is great to hear, since the first rule of motherhood is expect the unexpected. But before that, plan to ignore the birth plan.

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