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Pregnancy Overdue? What You Need To Know If You Go Beyond 42 Weeks
PHOTO BY Shutterstock/Dmitry Galaganov
  • You’re past your ninth month, and still, the baby in your tummy is showing no signs of coming out soon. Should you start to worry? Is this considered “pregnancy overdue”?

    During your first pregnancy checkup, your ob-gyn will likely ask when was your first day of menstruation. The date you give your doctor will be used to calculate the baby’s 40th week, which will estimate your due date.

    According to Mayo Clinic, “Your due date does not estimate when your baby will arrive. It’s normal to give birth before or after your due date. In fact, your pregnancy must continue two weeks past your due date to earn the official label of post-term pregnancy.”

    Most babies arrive between 38 to 42 weeks. When it goes beyond 42 weeks, that’s the only time the pregnancy is considered overdue or post-term. According to WebMD, one in 10 babies is deemed to be post-term. Given this statistic, post-term babies are not as rare as it seems.

    Should you worry about pregnancy overdue?

    The first question that comes to mind, especially among women with first-time pregnancies, is: “Why is my baby delayed?” The medical field has not found concrete answers to this question either, but the following are considered possibilities:

    • This is your first pregnancy.
    • You’ve delivered post-term babies before this one.
    • You have women in your family who have delivered past their due dates.
    • You were a post-term baby yourself.
    • Your baby is a boy.
    • You are on the heavy side (mass index of 30 or higher).
    • Your due date may have been miscalculated, which may be because of confusion over the given date of the start of your last menstruation.

    Whatever the reason, pregnancy overdue is rarely related to problems with the placenta or the baby, and that you must expect for labor to come anytime soon, according to Mayo Clinic.

    Risks of overdue deliveries

    According to WebMD, delivering more than two weeks after your due date may pose some risks for your baby. Some of these include:

    • breathing problems in the baby
    • slowed or stopped growth because of placental failure
    • a drop in the level of the amniotic fluid
    • fetal distress
    • breathing in the first bowel movement or meconium
    • stillbirth

    Once you go beyond your due date, expect your doctor to do some tests and closer monitoring to ensure no manifestation of the risks mentioned above. This may include: 

    • fetal heart rate monitoring (nonstress test)
    • amniotic fluid volume assessment
    • checking your baby’s size, heart rate, position, and your baby’s movements

    When the doctor recommends induced labor

    A discussion about induced labor might be necessary or if your situation might call for a cesarean section.

    Induced labor is the stimulation of uterine contractions during pregnancy before labor begins on its own to achieve a vaginal birth, according to WebMD. Often, pregnant women aged 40 and above may be advised to have induced labor to ensure the baby’s health.

    If induced labor has been decided by your doctor, medication may be given to you to make your uterus contract. On the other hand, CS delivery may be recommended if the baby is big.

    Once the necessary tests are done, and your doctor gives you an assurance that your baby is doing fine, there should be little to worry about. Use this time to fill in the last touches of the baby’s crib or room and prepare for what you will need once the little one arrives. Breathe in, breath out…you’re almost there!

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