Photo: Getty Images
The Mayo Clinic's website clearly states that the due date of your baby’s delivery is just an educated guess as to when your baby is most likely to come. So if your baby arrives a couple of weeks after or even before the expected time – that’s normal. Interestingly, doctors don’t consider a pregnancy overdue until at least two weeks after the due date anyway.
Factors that increase the likelihood of an overdue pregnancy are:
• The exact date of the start of your last menstrual period isn't known
• This is your first pregnancy
• You've had prior overdue pregnancies
• Overdue pregnancy runs in your family
• Your baby is a boy
What should you do?
First, continue with your prenatal care appointments. This is an important time because your physician will be watching for any complications. The cervix will be examined, the baby’s heartbeat and movements will be monitored, and the amniotic fluid will be measured.
So what happens after your pregnancy is officially declared overdue? Since the baby’s size can cause problems during a vaginal delivery, your physician may decide to induce labor. Another problem that may arise is the aging of the placenta, which may compromise the baby’s health. There is also the danger of the baby swallowing fecal waste, resulting in breathing problems or infection.
Medication to induce labor can be used to speed the delivery along. Even if the amniotic sac hasn’t broken, your doctor can break your water manually. As another alternative, Pitocin, a medication commonly used, can jump start your contractions.
What should you do in the mean time?
Try to cope with your emotions – frustration or disappointment – whatever they are. Then attempt to engage in something positive by using your time wisely – get your rest or finish decorating the baby’s room. Try to continue living your life and don’t be scared to go out with friends because you’re scared you might have to cancel at the last minute. Before you try any home remedies, check with your physician. Some home remedies can do more harm than good. Lastly, always stay in contact with your doctor.