WHO STARTS THE LABOUR?
In a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and supported by the National Institute of Health and a Prematurity Research Initiative, researchers found that protein in the lungs of the fetus is a key factor that determine labor. It is said in the journal, two proteins in the baby's lungs send signals to increase the production of surfactant components. Surfactant is substances released from the lungs before delivery process which is important for babies to breathe outside the uterus. In other words, the researchers concluded that the fetus in the womb was in control of the start the labor which was marked by the start of contraction pain.
This study shows that labor is a normal process and this explains the mystery of why each baby's birth date can vary in gestational age. Some babies delivered exactly at 9 months and 10 days, some are less than that, and some are more. For Muslims this is actually not a new information. Our perspective in evaluating something is always inseparable from the perspective of the Shari'a. Let us consider the following translations of the three verses of the Qur'an. What message does Allah give about who determines the labour : the mother? the midwife? Obstetricians? the universe? or our body?
"Allah took you out of your mother's stomach in a state of knowing nothing and He gave you hearing, vision and heart so that you will be grateful" (Surah An-Nahl: 78)
"Didn't We create you from abject water? Then We put him in a firm place (the womb) until the appointed time. " (Al Mursalat: 20-22)
"O people, if you are in doubt about the resurrection (from the grave), then know that we have made you from the ground, then from a drop of sperm, then from a clot of blood, then from a lump of flesh that is perfect and imperfect, so that we explain to you and We determine in the womb, what we want until the appointed time, then we remove you as a baby. " (Al Hajj: 5)
In the western society, the baby is considered the controller of the labour, while for Muslims it remains to believe that it is in the Allah's will. He is the one who intends to make the baby's lungs mature enough to send a signal to start of labor. It is Allah who decides when a baby will be born. Humans are only given a little knowledge of when the labour happen. But the precise time is an absolute decision of Allah. So this should be a guide for muslim parents and health providers who help childbirth. As long as there are no signs of emergencies of the mother and fetus, let the labor process occur spontaneously. Allah knows best when a baby must be born. Not us.
1. Al Qur’an