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Are you past your due-date? If so, you’re probably thinking- now what?!
Well, first, put your worries aside. Did you know that more than 50% of newborns go past their due dates too? You’ll get there. Luckily, most women’s bodies know how to go into labor naturally. However, any one of these factors can prolong your pregnancy:
- This is your first pregnancy
- Your baby is a boy
- The exact date of the start of your last menstrual period isn't known
- You've had a previous overdue pregnancy
- Overdue pregnancy runs in your family
- You're overweight
After one week of going over your due date, an ultrasound exam may be done to look at the amniotic fluid around your baby. An ultrasound will also help to see how much your baby is moving. If you are not feeling your baby move as well as you have throughout your pregnancy, be sure to call your doctor.
In addition, your doctor may begin checking your cervix to see if it's dilated and thinned. Your doctor may also recommend inducing labor. Your doctor will continue to monitor you by checking your cervix and watch for symptoms of preeclampsia.
Many doctors do not want you to go 2 weeks past your due date. This is mainly to avoid complications, including fetal distress, or a baby that grows too large to deliver easily. Fetal distress occurs when the baby doesn't get enough oxygen. Then the baby's heart rate drops, and the baby can't tolerate the stress of labor. So, if your doctor wants to induce labor, be sure to listen to everything they suggest to keep both you and your unborn baby healthy.
If you do find yourself waiting on pins and needles waiting for baby to make their debut, there are things you can do until labor starts:
If this is your first pregnancy, and you don’t have other children to take care of, sleep when you can. We know it is uncomfortable to sleep, so if you need to nap during the day to catch up on z’s, do it. You never know how long labor can last, or if you’ll be laboring in the middle of the night, so get sleep when you can.
Finalize the nursery
It’s time to put the finishing touches on your nursery, if you already haven’t. If you have, sit and enjoy the quiet and envision you holding your newborn baby there soon enough.
Go on walks
Walking and keeping your body moving will help relieve the stress of carrying a growing belly, and if you are having braxton hick contractions, will help work through that pain. And, who knows? It could just help put you into labor!
When labor hits, the last thing that will sound fun is trying to eat something. So, be sure you are eating and getting the right nutrition leading up to labor. Why not make it a date with you and your significant other? It could just be one of your last date nights for a while after all!
Watch out for home remedies
Yes, we’ve all heard spicy foods, sex, castor oil all MAY help induce labor. But, before consulting Dr. Google to help get labor started, be sure to talk with your doctor if you want to try any herbal or alternative treatments.
Embrace your emotions
Feeling frustrated, anxious, antsy, or sad that you STILL aren’t holding your baby? That’s okay. Being pregnant for over 40 weeks is a long time, and it’s okay if you’re ready to be done. Just know it will happen SOON.