As your due date approaches, you are more than ready to hold your bundle of joy in your hands. But not all things go as planned!
You marked your due date in bold colors on the calendar. But the day came and went without your baby making her grand entrance. So, what is going on? Has your baby taken permanent residence in your womb? That’s how it feels, right? But don’t worry, your baby will come out, in her own sweet time!
First things first – An overdue pregnancy is nothing abnormal. Many women watch as their due dates come and go. It is normal to give birth a week or two after your due date. But why exactly does it happen?
Why Do Some Pregnancies Go Past Their Due Date?
Here are a few reasons for being overdue in pregnancy:
1. Irregular Periods:
If you have always had irregular periods, chances are high that your due date was just wrong to begin with.
2. First Pregnancy:
Your body goes through a lot of wear and tear during pregnancy. If this is your first baby, your body will need to change a lot before it gives birth. This may take you past your due date.
If you are obese, you are likely to experience a number of problems during pregnancy. Obesity is also a big reason for overdue pregnancies (1).
[ Read: Is Overweight A Problem For Pregnancy ]
4. History Of Overdue Pregnancies:
If you have a history of baby coming late, chances are high that this pregnancy too will shoot past its due date. If overdue pregnancies run in your family, you are likely to experience one too.
5. You Are Growing A Boy:
If you are expecting a boy, you are more likely to have a post-term pregnancy (2).
Your ethnicity too plays a role when it comes to your due date! Asians and blacks are more likely to give birth before or near their due dates. While Caucasians are likely to be overdue (3).
7. Problem With Pregnancy:
Very rarely, an overdue pregnancy may occur due to problems with the placenta of the unborn baby.
[ Read: When Placenta Forms During Pregnancy ]
Are There Risks Of Overdue Pregnancy?
Most overdue pregnancies lead to nothing more than a few more days of backache, sleepless nights and other inconveniences. But in some cases, it can also cause more serious health issues. Here are some of them:
1. Can Make Vaginal Delivery Difficult:
If you are overdue, chances are high that your baby will be big. This can make vaginal delivery more difficult.
2. May Cause Oxygen Deficiency:
The amount of amniotic fluid in your uterus might begin to decrease as you inch past your due date. This can cause the umbilical cord to become pinched and lead to nutrient and oxygen deficiency in your baby (4).
3. Aged Placenta:
With time, your placenta ages and doesn’t work as well as it did before. This can make the uterus less than perfect for your baby.
4. Baby Might Inhale Meconium:
The chances of your baby inhaling meconium also goes up with an overdue pregnancy.
5. Increases Odds Of ADHD:
Many children born overdue are likely to experience behavioral issues like Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD in early childhood (5).
6. Can Cause Stillbirth:
In rare cases, overdue pregnancies can also lead to stillborn babies.
With these many risks, we are sure all you want right now is for labor to kick-start and your baby to make her grand appearance. So, what can you do to hurry things along? To start with, go see your doctor!
What Will Your Doctor Do?
If you have a good doctor, he will use a wait and watch policy. But he will also keep a close eye to prevent any serious health condition. He might also check your cervix to see if it’s beginning to thin.
Most doctors don’t worry if you go one week past your due date. If the 42nd week comes without any sign of labor, your gynecologist might start monitoring your baby’s heartbeat. He will also keep a close eye on the amount of amniotic fluid in your womb. If he sees any complications or if you go ten days or more past your due date, he might take measures to nudge your baby to make an entrance.
What Can You Expect?
After 42 weeks, your doctor might suggest measures to induce labor. Here are some methods that can make labor hurry up!
1. Stripping The Membranes: This process is not as gross as it sounds! If your doctor deems it necessary, he might pull the membranes off the cervix. This is not something to be scared of and doesn’t cause much pain. But it sure can soften the cervix and bring labor on!
2. Breaking The Amniotic Sac: In this process your doctor will create an opening in the amniotic sac with a thin plastic hook. This will lead to your water breaking and can bring on labor too.
3. Medication To Soften Cervix: There are medications that your doctor might insert to soften your cervix and nudge it open.
4. Pitocin: This is the ultimate way to induce labor. This medication will induce contractions and make sure you get to hold your baby as soon as possible.
[ Read: Induction And Augmentation Of Labour ]
What Can You Do?
Even before you go to the doctor, you might be tempted to take things in your hand. There are a number of things you can do to bring on labor. And you won’t be the only woman to do that! Around 51% of women use non-prescribed methods to induce labor (6). Here are a few overdue pregnancy tips for you to try:
1. Long Walks:
Walking is a good exercise during pregnancy. And you can also use it to induce labor. But don’t overdo it.
2. Spicy Food:
Though there is no evidence to prove it, millions of women swear that eating spicy food can help induce labor. You too can give it a try.
[ Read: How To Induce Labour Pain Naturally ]
3. Castor Oil:
Here’s a popular option that women all over the world use. But studies show that there is no link between castor oil use and time of labor (7).
4. Evening Primrose Oil:
Many doctors too advice the use of evening primrose oil to hasten labor. But there isn’t sufficient scientific data to prove its efficacy (8).
Most women believe that sex can help hurry things along if you are overdue. Though there is no harm in having sex during late pregnancy, there is no proof that it can induce labor (9).
As you can see, there isn’t much you can do to coax your baby to arrive sooner than she wants. So relax, read a book, watch a movie – your baby will be home sooner than you think. So, enjoy your days before sleep deprivation takes over!
Do you know of any other trick to induce labor? Share with us.
- Is Black Cohosh Safe To Induce Labor?
- 3 Amazing Benefits Of Music During Labor
- 6 Simple Ways To Induce Labour Pain Naturally
- How To Induce Labor With Castor Oil?
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