When your expected delivery date (EDD) approaches, you’re definitely not the only person excited about it – everyone is! That is probably putting a lot of pressure on you! However, it’s actually rare to give birth the exact day your EDD falls on. So, what do you do when your EDD has passed and your pregnancy is overdue? Let’s look at the percentage of mothers giving birth after their EDD has passed, what kinds of risks exist, and other moms’ stories.
Overdue pregnancy: What to do after a pregnancy passes week 42?
The first day of your very last period is considered to be Week 1 Day 0 of pregnancy. When a delivery takes place sometime in between Week 37 Day 0 to Week 41 Day 6, this is considered a term pregnancy. A preterm pregnancy is defined as a delivery that happens on Week 36 Day 6 and before. After a pregnancy passes Week 42, it is termed a late term pregnancy.
Late-term babies are usually delivered by inducing labor before Week 43. Research says that there is an increased likelihood that babies born after 42 weeks are at risk of behavioral and emotional problems. Thus, most doctors will encourage you to induce labor before the pregnancy becomes a late-term pregnancy.
What are the risks of overdue pregnancy?
The problem with a post term delivery is that as time goes by, the function of the placenta decreases and amount of amniotic fluid decreases. This results in the decrease in oxygen and nutrients reaching the baby. Also, when the amount of amniotic fluid decreases, the umbilical cord might become compressed, and this also poses a risk to the fetus during delivery.
The baby also continues to grow when the pregnancy extends past the EDD, and if the fetus is a macrosomic baby – more than 8 lb 13 oz (4,000 g) – this can be a physical burden to the mom and put the baby at risk.
Stories about overdue pregnancies: Week 41 Day 1 to Week 42 Day 0 delivery
“It was year-end and the possibility of me giving birth in December or January was equally high. Some people were telling me December is better; some were rooting for January. It’s to do with the academic year, but honestly, I felt that it was just confusing and needless worrying.”
“Once the EDD went past, I woke up every day in the morning wondering why no contractions came. I was so worried that I would break down in front of my husband asking him why I wasn’t going into labor.”
Everyone around you is eagerly awaiting the arrival of the birth, but their expectations and all the ‘not yet?’s might be giving you some stress. In the first pregnancy, it’s common for most moms to have their pregnancies go past the EDD. The baby has their own timing, so follow the doctor’s instructions and continue to monitor your own condition.
Stories about overdue pregnancies: Week 42 Day 1 to Week 43 Day 0 delivery
“I just wanted to deliver – it didn’t matter if it was through a cesarean section or an induced labor. That’s what I told the doctor after I had passed Week 42. I was way more anxious than I imagined I would be.”
“As my EDD drew closer, I got more messages from my parents, and I was on tenterhooks every single day. Although I was able to keep calm until the EDD, my parents phoned me so frequently after it passed that I came to dread the ringing of the phone.”
“My waters didn’t break even though I took a labor-inducing drug. The baby was so big that the doctor was pushing down so hard on my belly. In the end, a vacuum extraction had to be used to get the baby out.”
In most cases, doctors monitor the conditions of expectant moms in Week 42 and use various methods to induce labor in Week 43. Even if there aren’t any problems with the mother and the baby, the pressure of the expectations of family and friends can affect the mother physiologically, and so, inducing labor then is considered a timely intervention.
Stories about overdue pregnancies: Week 43 Day 1 to Week 44 Day 0 delivery
“The EDD has passed and there weren’t any signs of labor contractions. I was hospitalized in Week 43 and labor was induced. However, it seemed as if Baby was bent on staying in the uterus, so I had a cesarean section done on me in the end.”
“‘If the contractions don’t come tomorrow, let’s do whatever we can.’ That’s what the doctor said to me in the day, and that night, the contractions came. And so, Baby was born on the first day of Week 43.”
“I wasn’t worried even when the pregnancy had already reached Week 42. The doctor, however, recommended that I undergo a cesarean section the very next day. I was really sad even as I went home from the hospital. To be honest, I don’t remember exactly what happened, but the next day came, and still there weren’t any contractions. I was disappointed. However, when I reached the hospital, the doctor told me that the uterus had dilated to 3 cm, and so they administered labor-inducing drugs on me and I was able to have a vaginal birth!”
Usually, when the pregnancy reaches Week 43, a cesarean section or drug-inducing labors will be used to deliver the baby. The method will differ depending on the condition of the mother and the consideration of the effects on the baby. You might be already worrying about your baby, and the worried voices around you could only add to your worries. Don’t lose heart – you’ll soon see your baby!
The EDD is only a date, so take heart even as you wait!
The EDD is only a rough estimate of when your baby might pop out, so don’t be too fixated on that very date! When your pregnancy goes into late term or post term, you might not be able to have a vaginal birth as planned, and there is a chance of you having to do a C-section, but take things easy! Your doctor will be there to guide you, so stay hopeful and optimistic! You want to be able to welcome your baby with open arms and a wide smile!