How To Deal With Being Overdue
A group of Danish researchers who studied pregnant women from 1980 to 1994 suggested that the cause for babies to be born past their due date may be the father’s genes, or at least that they play a major part.
“We believe this is a new observation. This result suggests that the timing of birth may, in part, be determined by parental genes.” However, there are a group of British experts who say other factors could have influenced the study’s findings, such as pre-eclampsia.
Either way, what we are aware of is that there is no way to know exactly when labor will start and when your baby will begin his journey into the world. Around 5% of babies born at the moment will be overdue and almost all of these will be perfectly healthy.
Your placenta will begin to deteriorate once you pass 38 weeks, meaning that if your baby is then a week or more overdue there may be a chance of complications such a insufficient oxygen reaching your baby. It also means that the baby may be too big to pass through the delivery channel which could inevitably resulting in a c-section.
Because of this your doctor will want to use the following if you are more than a week over due, with no signs of pending labor to ensure that your baby is safe:
- Monitoring the foetal heart rate
- Using a cardiotocograph machine
- Performing ultrasounds
Can you prompt labor?
There are some “theories” about how you can induce labor. Some have some scientific backing, and some are, well, perhaps a little strange:
- Sweeping membranes. Your doctor or midwife may gently separate the membranes from the uterus opening.
- Sexual activity. A woman’s orgasm will cause oxytocin, which is a hormone which causes the uterus to contract, to be released. Of course semen also contains prostaglandins, which can help soften the cervix.
- Acupuncture or acupressure
- Homeopathic remedies
- Herbal preparations
- Good hot bowl of curry
What about being induced?
Should your doctor feel that it is in the baby’s best interest he may choose to induce you. There are three main methods to induce labor:
- Breaking the waters
In order to break your waters, your cervix does need to be open a couple of centimeters. Your waters are usually broken with an instrument which is shaped like a crochet hook. Breaking your waters may simply be enough to start labor, but there are times when Syntocinon intravenous infusion is also required.
- Prostaglandin gel
Prostaglandin gel is used to soften and help ripen the cervix. It is usually placed at the back of the vagina. This, however, does have some possible side effects, such as a temperature, diarrhea, fetal distress and hemorrhage.
This involves an intravenous drip containing the drug Syntocinon, which is a synthetic hormone that makes the uterus contract and is a reliable method for starting labor. There are side effects though, such as failing to progress, which can lead to the need for a c-section or a distressed baby.
Surviving being overdue
Our top 8 tips for surviving being overdue. These are methods more to keep your sanity rather than methods to bring on labor.
- Finish off the finer preperations for baby
- Catch up on much needed rest
- Try relaxion or meditation
- Stock up the fridge and freezer with ready made meals
- Try go out to keep your mind off being overdue (but not too far from home)
- Spoil yourself – have a pedicure or manicure (there wont be any time for that when baby is here)
- Ask friends and relatives not to phone you every day to check if you have gone into labor yet
- Visit a friend who lives nearby and catch up on all the gossip