Your due date come and gone, the hospital bag is all packed, and the nursery is all setup. Yet you find yourself still pregnant and anxiously waiting for your little one to make his/her debut!
If you are wondering what to do when you are past your due date, here are some things to consider:
Due date is calculated as 40weeks from the first day of your last period. But this is just an estimate as the actual delivery date depends on factors such as the length of the menstrual cycle and the exact date of conception, which may vary from woman to woman. Hence, only about one in 25 (four per cent) babies is born on their exact due date and about one in five babies are born at 41 weeks or after?
Although, it is possible to give birth to a healthy baby even when you are overdue, your gynecologist will be monitoring you closely every few days. Natasha, a 29 year old first time mother says, “In spite of having a normal pregnancy I had to be induced during my 41st week when the level of amniotic fluid started dropping and it was no longer safe for my baby to stay inside”. Other factors like baby’s growth, fetal heartbeat, movements and breathing, will be checked as things can progress very quickly at this stage.
You may receive a of lot advice on how to speed up labour from well-meaning friends and family. Sameera, who was two week overdue says, “I went for brisk walks. I ate spicy food. I did everything!”
If you go looking for it, you will come across advice such as exercise, dancing, having sex and even nipple stimulation! It is best to stay away from old wives tales such as these and consult your doctor before trying anything.
In case waiting is no longer an option; your doctor might induce labour. Common practices include membrane sweeping and breaking waters. Prostaglandin, a hormone like substance that stimulates contractions and Pitocin (synthetic Oxytocin) are often administered to speed up labour. In some cases your doctor might suggest a scheduled C-section too depending on what is best for you and your baby.
This is a good time to unwind. Use this time to catch up on your sleep. Put your feet up, read, and relax. Pamper yourself and spend some quality time with your partner because once the baby arrives, you will be too busy.