The countdown to your due date is an exciting one! The anticipation of bringing new life into the world builds as your due date approaches. So when that day comes and goes with no sign of the new baby, it’s hard not to feel slightly disappointed and at a loss for ideas of what to do next. Even though you knew that there was a good chance that the baby wouldn’t come on your exact due date, it’s mentally and physically taxing to continue on past that 42nd week of pregnancy. Here is a little insight as to what you can expect during post-term pregnancy and a few tips to get you through.
First of all, you’re probably wondering, ‘What’s with the holdup?’ Generally the cause of a pregnancy lasting longer than the standard 40 weeks is unkown. You may be more likely to deliver later if:
- It’s your first baby
- You have had post-term babies in the past
- Overdue pregnancies run in your family
- You’re having a boy
Continue Prenatal Care
Prenatal care will continue after your due date with a few added measures to monitor your progress. As you continue your pregnancy past your due date, there are new risks to worry about with respect to the health of your baby. Therefore, your doctor will be watching for signs of complications. After your 42 weeks of pregnancy, your baby’s placenta may not work as well as it used to and the amount of amniotic fluid may also decrease as your baby continues to grow. Additionally, post-term pregnancy puts your baby at risk of becoming malnourished or of blocked airways due to inhalation of mucus.
Due to the increased risks associated with post-term pregnancy, your doctor will likely engage in one some form of electronic fetal monitoring to measure your baby’s heart rate and the strength of your contractions.
Of course by this point you probably wish you could just push a button and go into labor on the spot, but unfortunately you’ll probably have to wait a little longer before that happens. Once you are 1-2 weeks past your due date and you still haven’t shown any signs of going into labor, your doctor will likely suggest labor induction. In this case, your doctor can induce labor either with medication, by stripping the amniotic membrane or by manually breaking your water. Once labor is induced, you can expect to go into labor within a matter of a few hours or a couple days, depending on the method used.
5 Tips to Make Post-Term Pregnancy More Bearable
- Get ahead on your sleep
- Get out of the house – Do anything to take your mind off of your anxiety and discomfort
- Organize your life – make some freezer meals, pre-address birth announcements, stay on top of the laundry
- Write in a journal to cope with your emotions and document your thoughts and the experience
- Go for a walk with your husband – soon you may not have the luxury of one-on-one time…take advantage!
As you grow more anxious about the arrival of your baby, take comfort in the fact that you won’t be pregnant forever. Your baby has to come out sometime, so the worst case scenario is that you cary your baby for an extra couple of weeks. Once your baby finally makes its appearance, you’ll forget all about those last few grueling weeks of pregnancy.