Past Your Due Date Tips

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What if my baby is late?

Wait it out

Though nobody wants to be pregnant for 42 weeks,it is fairly common. Resist the temptation to induce labor just to get it over with. Monitor the baby's condition, but as long as the baby and placenta are doing well, have faith that your baby will come in it's own time. Too many women have induced only to find that their baby wasn't quite ready to be born and therefore must struggle harder than necessary to make the transition to life outside the womb.

What if my baby is late?

Due date is an estimate

What you think of as your due date is actually in medcial terms referred to as EDD--estimated due date. It is better to think of a due month than a due date. Try not to focus too much on your "due" date coming and going. Only 5% of babies are born on their due dates.

Should I be induced?

Don't rush it!

Babies born even just a few weeks prematurely run a significantly higher risk of death in their first year, suggesting that inducing early labor is more dangerous than many obstetricians might think.

Over the past decade, doctors have begun using drugs more and more to induce labor a few weeks early for reasons of convenience rather than the health of the mother or child.

Based on an examination of 4.5 million births in the United States and Canada in the 1990s, researchers found that compared with U.S. babies born full-term in 1995, those born at 32 weeks to 33 weeks were about six times more likely to die within their first year. Babies born closer to term but still early - at 34 through 36 weeks - were nearly three times more likely to die than full-term infants.

The causes of death included infection, breathing problems, various birth defects and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

The advent of medical treatment for inadequately functioning lungs - a common complication in premature infants - has created the misperception that labor can be induced early with few risks.


Pitocin does not equal oxytocin

Oxytocin is a naturally-occurring hormone in the body -it is known as "the hormone of love" because as it causes the uterus to contract it also has bonding effects. It peaks at the crowning of the baby and so the mother and baby immediately bond. (This is effected if the second stage is interrupted by an episiotomy or forceps.) It is the same hormone that bonds a mother and baby during breastfeeding and bonds a couple during intercourse.

Pitocin is the artificial version of the hormone oxytocin, and is used to induce or speed up labor. It will cause the uterus to contract but does not cross the blood-brain barrier, so there is no bonding aspect, there is no "feel good". Compare it to having "sex" rather than "making love" in the above analogy.

Pitocin and oxytocin are not the same. If the body is being pumped full of pit then the body shuts down its natural production of oxytocin.

What if my baby is late?

Don't answer the phone

Once you are "overdue" your phone will likely ring off the hook with people wanting to know if "you have had that baby yet!?" (or at least it will seem like it!) Leave the phone off the hook, or let the answering machine pick it up. You won't want the constant reminders that your little one is taking his or her time in joining the family.

How can I calculate my due date?

Determining your due date

Women will vary widely on what is the "normal" gestational period for them, and can even vary for the same woman with different pregnancies. But here are a couple simple methods of determining a ballpark figure as to when you can expect your little one to make an appearance:

1)Begin with the first day of your last *normal* menstrual period (an unusually light period may have been spotting at the time the fertilized egg implanted into the uterus, about a week and a half after conception), count back three months, and add seven days. Adjust the year if necessary.

2)Add 280 days from the first day of your last normal period (see above) OR 266 days from the date of conception if you know it.

In either case, if your typical cycle is not the "normal" 28 days you can adjust the expected due date by adding or subtracting the number of additional or fewer days. (i.e., if your normal cycle is 30 days you can add 2 days to your expected due date.)

What if my baby is late?

Why worry?

Statistically, babies born beyond 42 weeks gestation (but remember, it isn't always easy to determine when you conceived, so determining 42 weeks can be difficult as well) have a greater risk of problems, often due to a placenta that ceases to function properly. However, this happens in only about 10% of the post-42-week babies.

Deliveries can also be more difficult in post-term babies due to their increased size.

Ultrasound examination can help determine if either of these conditions is present and may be preferable to induction, especially if there is any question as to the accuracy of the due date.

What if my baby is late?

Have faith

Though the last weeks seem unending, fewer than 1% of babies reach the 43-week mark, the point at which complications become significant. Monitor the baby's health, but don't panic or be in a rush to act.

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