Once you enter your last month of pregnancy, you’re bombarded with questions about your due date and if your baby is ready to pop out. The anxiety builds up quick. But what you need to remember is your due date is only an estimate. Only 5% of the babies are born on the given due date. Your friends and family will start asking you what the doctor says, especially when you’re past the 40th week.
“No woman should feel nervous or anxious if she’s still pregnant after her due date,” says Alex C. Vidaeff, M.D., M.P.H., a maternal-fetal medicine researcher and practitioner at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. “Due dates can be off by a week in either direction.” Sometimes, you may be delayed by even two or more weeks, but this is no reason to worry. Many women get worried and distress when it’s past their due date.
Your doctor calculates or estimates your due date in the first trimester by adding 40 weeks to the first day of your last menstrual period. Then, this timeline is synced
When you go post-term that is when your pregnancy is well beyond 42 weeks, is when your pregnancy is going overtime. Research shows that delivery after 40 weeks has its own complications and certain risks. “We now change our clinical practices at 40 weeks to prevent potential complications in both mom and baby,” says Carri R. Warshak, M.D., an assistant professor in the department of maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Cincinnati.
Once you hit your 40-week mark, your doctors or midwives will become more careful and will monitor your baby more. Studies show post-term infants are at a higher risk of problems with glucose metabolism, which may lead to excessive birth weight. Another problem is inhaling meconium (fecal waste) which can result in breathing problems or infection at birth.
It is best to deliver your baby when you’re 39 or 40 weeks pregnant. Most studies point out that admissions to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) increase when your pregnancy lasts beyond 40 weeks. The chances of stillbirth too though less come into play. It is estimated at 40 weeks, the risk of stillbirth is 2 to 3 per 1,000 babies, and at 42 weeks the risk is 4 to 7 per 1,000 babies. Your doctor may induce labor if you still haven’t entered labor even after your 41st week. “If your cervix has started to dilate, odds are in your favor for a successful induction,” Warshak adds.
Inducing labor depends on a lot of factors like your own health, the status of your cervix and your baby’s well-being too which
Midwives though wait a little longer than OB-GYNs. “In our practice, we wait until 42 weeks for women to go into labor naturally,” says Joanne Hasman, C.N.M., a certified nurse-midwife at Special Beginnings Birth and Women’s Center in Arnold, Md. “If they don’t by then, we schedule an induction at our hospital. We also try natural methods and refer women for acupuncture, reflexology or reiki.”
Your cervix is dilated at least 2 centimeters when you are 40 to 41 weeks pregnant. Midwives use a finger to separate the cervix from the amniotic sac, a practice known as ‘cervical sweep’. “If the woman is really ready [to go into labor], I’ll see her back here in 24 to 36 hours,” Hasman says.
A major concern among doctors and healthcare experts is whether
In all seriousness though, once you hit your 39th week, you are tired and just want this to end as soon as possible. But sometimes, it may take longer than you anticipated. And these few extra weeks can be really exhausting with the incessant backaches, heartburns, and hemorrhoids. So here are a few things you could do while you wait for your baby to finally make his/her entry into the world:
- Catch up on your sleep and finish that nursery. Use this time to finish your thank-you notes and birth announcement cards.
- This is the time when you’re constantly getting calls about your delivery. Record voicemail messages or create a blog to answer the common questions regarding your delivery.
- However, do not try the DIY labor starters you see online. “There are no home remedies that reliably and safely initiate labor,” says Warshak. “If