2.5.8 How far along is Elayne's pregnancy? --New
Elayne’s babies were conceived on February 17 (Saban 2) [WH 12: A Lily in Winter]. Pregnancy is normally calculated from the woman’s last known period rather than the conception date. This would be about 2 real world weeks earlier, ie February 3. A typical pregnancy is 40 weeks long from the last period, or 38 weeks since conception. Elayne's due date is about November 10, 1000 NE. But twins are often born earlier.
Elayne had her first medical examination on March 8 at 4.5 weeks pregnant [COT 14: What Wise Ones Know], and finally consulted a midwife in Knife of Dreams when she was about 9 or 10 weeks pregnant (7 to 8 since conception) [KOD 35: the importance of Dyelin]. At this time Elayne complains of breast tenderness and frequency of urination, and her fatigue is also due in part to her pregnancy.
Pregnancy interferes with the ability to channel. It is harder to touch the Source or weave the flows. The mood swings of pregnancy and the resulting loss of calm may be part of the reason why. This difficulty often grows worse as the pregnancy progresses and the mother will be unable to channel at all while in labour or giving birth.
Women channellers are unaffected by morning sickness, but it is not known if they are immune to post-natal blues or depression.
Elayne’s midwife, Melfane, examines Elayne’s urine daily, even tasting it. One obvious disease that would show in the urine is diabetes of pregnancy, which would result in sweet-tasting urine. Liver disease results in orange or brown urine, kidney disease, foamy or red urine, and white urine can signify infection. Examination of urine (uroscopy) for color, consistency, smell, and sometimes taste, has been used regularly since ancient times and was still performed during the 18th century, as was examination of faeces.
Examination of Elayne’s eyelids would indicate whether she was anaemic (this is still done). Melfane checked Elayne’s heart with an early stethoscope, and has been listening for the babies’ heartbeats but has not heard them yet. She will first hear them around the time of, or perhaps shortly after, the quickening, the first movements of the baby able to be felt, has occurred, usually around weeks 16-20 for a first pregnancy (14-18 weeks since conception).
Elayne’s midwife has (correctly) forbidden alcohol, which certainly would not have happened in the 17th and 18th centuries, since plain water was often unsafe to drink and alcoholic drinks were consequently very popular. (Coffee and tea also became popular in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries respectively). Other ‘modern’ advice given to Elayne is to read to, and have music played to, her babies. Elayne is also weighed daily, which would have been atypical (Knife of Dreams, The Importance of Dyelin).
At the beginning of June 1000 NE, Elayne would be 17 real world weeks pregnant (4 months). She should be able to feel the babies about this time. By the beginning of July she would be 5 months pregnant (21 real world weeks), and getting large since she is carrying twins. It would have been 19 real world weeks since the babies were conceived.
Elayne doesn't know the twins are a boy and a girl, just that they will be born healthy. Aviendha and Birgitte got so drunk after Min told them this that they don't remember her viewing properly. Min is the only one who can give either future parent the full information. Rand has not yet been informed of Elayne’s pregnancy, the reasons being the women think he has enough to worry about already and his mental health has been poor.
Elayne tells us that there is a high infant mortality rate in the Wheel of Time world:
"My babes and I are safe." Elayne laughed, hugging back. "Min's viewing?" Her babes were safe, at least. Until they were born. So many babies died in their first year. Min had said nothing beyond them being born healthy. [KOD 15: A Different Skill]
Twins are especially at risk. To have both born and strong was not at all common in the real world in the 17th to 18th centuries. However, Elayne's twins are more at risk from their mother's overconfidence in Min's viewing.