So, you’re past your due date for your bundle of joy. First things first: don’t panic. Your due date isn’t 100 percent accurate in the first place; it’s often your doctor’s best guess based on the first day of your last period. In fact, only five percent of babies are born on their due date. So, if it’s inching into week 40 or beyond, that’s actually pretty normal.
Doctors usually use several ways to calculate your due date:
- Calculation based on your last ovulation (the most reliable method).
- Calculation based on the first day of your last menstrual period.
- Clinical examination of the uterus for size.
- Your first detection of fetal movement (the fetus usually makes its first movements between 16 and 20 weeks).
- Fetal heartbeat (in normal pregnancies, the doctor can detect it between 18 and 20 weeks).
- Ultrasound, which during early pregnancy can estimate fetal age within seven to 10 days (it’s not as effective later in the pregnancy).
However, even though it’s fairly common to be past your due date, that doesn’t make it any less uncomfortable. Your feet are swollen (actually, everything is swollen) and you just want baby to get here already!
We get it. So, here’s what you can do if you’re past your due date and you’re trying to keep your cool.
What to Do When You’re Past Your Due Date
First of all, definitely consult your doctor or medical provider if you’re past your due date and there are no immediate signs of happening. Also be sure to contact them immediately if you’ve noticed decreased fetal movement.
We recommend you have a medical professional’s opinion before moving ahead with any of the following.
If your doctor wants you to wait it out…
Sometimes, your doctor may just suggest you wait a week or so and let labor happen naturally. If this happens to you, here are some good ways to keep yourself distracted until it’s “go time”.
- Finish any last items on your baby to-do list. If you’re a procrastinator, having some extra time before the arrival of your little one can be a blessing.
- Get a massage. Eastern medicine suggests that getting a massage can possibly help induce labor, though there’s no real evidence to prove this. Either way, it will still feel good!
- Eat some spicy food. Many women report having indulged in spicy foods during week 40 of their pregnancy and it got “things moving”.
- Hit the sheets with your partner. The hormone oxytocin surges when you have an orgasm, which can trigger labor in past due date pregnant women. Plus, sperm contains prostaglandins, which can help ripen the cervix.
If your doctor is suggesting labor induction…
If your doctor recommends that you induce labor, there are a variety of ways this can be done. Here’s what they might want you to do:
- Take medication to help your cervix ripen.
- Your medical provider might insert a tube with a small balloon on the end into your cervix to help it dilate.
- They also might manually break your water.
- Your provider might perform what’s called a “cervical sweep,” using a finger to separate the cervix from the amniotic sac.
No matter what your doctor suggests, try to relax. Your precious baby will get here – sometimes they’re just on their own schedule! And when you get to hold them in your arms, all the waiting will be so worth it.
Are you looking for an OBGyn and live in San Tan Valley? MyOBGyne offers a variety of services for women, including free prenatal, post partum, and parenting support and education. Click to request an appointment today.