Your due date came and went, the hospital bag is packed, and the nursery is setup. Yet you find yourself still pregnant and anxiously waiting for your little one to make his/her debut!
If you’re wondering what to do when you’re past your due date, here are some things to consider:
The due date is calculated as 40 weeks on the very first day of your last period. But this is just an estimate as the actual delivery date is dependent on factors like the period of the menstrual cycle and the exact date of conception, which may vary from woman to woman. Therefore, only about one in 25 (four per cent) infants are born on their due date and approximately one in five babies are born at 41 weeks or later.
Although, it’s possible to give birth to a healthy baby even when you’re passed your due date, your gynecologist will be monitoring you closely every couple of days. Natasha, a 29 year old first time mom says, “In spite of having a normal pregnancy I needed to be induced during my 41st week once the level of amniotic fluid started dropping and it was no longer safe for the baby to remain inside”. Other factors like baby’s growth, fetal heartbeat, movements and breathing, will be assessed as things can advance very quickly at this stage.
You will get a of lot suggestions on how best to accelerate labor from friends and family. Sameera, who was two week overdue says, “I went for brisk walks. I ate hot food. I did everything!”
If you look for it, you will get advice such as exercise, dancing, having sex as well as nipple stimulation! It’s ideal to stay away from old wives tales such as these and seek advice from your health care provider before attempting anything.
If waiting is no longer an option; your doctor might induce labor. Typical practices include membrane sweeping and breaking water. Prostaglandin, a hormone like substance that stimulates contractions and Pitocin (artificial Oxytocin) are usually administered to speed up labor. In some cases your doctor might indicate a scheduled C-section too depending on what is most appropriate for you and your baby.
This is a good time to unwind. Pamper yourself and spend a while with your partner because once the baby arrives, you’ll be too busy.