What to do if Your Baby is Overdue
There are multiple reasons why your baby's delivery may be overdue. It is common for the mother to have the expectation that her delivery will be earlier than scheduled. And when this does not happen, worries begin. It's normal for your baby to be a few weeks late. They are usually expected to be born between 37 and 42 weeks gestation. They are called premature babies or preterm labor when born before 37 weeks. On the other hand, some deliveries occur after 42 weeks of gestation, which are known as post-term labor or prolonged pregnancy.
There is no need to worry in either case. If your baby is early or late, it does not mean that he or she will have problems with their growth or development. In most cases, babies delivered prematurely or preterm are born completely healthy. What is true is that the further the delivery is from this gestation period, the risk increases.
What to do if your baby is overdue?
If you are in this situation, you are surely asking yourself this question. More than 40 weeks have passed and your baby has not been born. It is true that each baby has its own rhythm to it. But labor should not be delayed beyond 42 weeks, as the placenta functions properly for up to 41 weeks and may stop performing its function of providing oxygen to the baby. It is important to remain calm and relaxed. Here are some tips you can follow to give your baby a little help:
- Exercising (walking or climbing stairs)
- Having sex
- Nipple stimulation
- Special food
Exercising (Walking or Climbing Stairs)
Walking or climbing stairs helps to induce labor naturally. Most pregnant women tend to have more contractions than normal after exertion. A long walk, in addition to helping you bring about the birth of your baby, is highly recommended. Remember that exercise during pregnancy brings multiple benefits for both you and your baby even when he or she is not overdue. Unless your doctor recommends otherwise, moderate exercise is an excellent option to maintain your physical health and that of your baby.
Contractions in the uterus that cause female orgasm can help induce labor. The contractions will be more continuous and stronger also due to physical effort. On the other hand, secreting oxytocin will also help your baby along.
Being uncertain as to why your baby has not yet been born can create a lot of stress and make the situation worse. The adrenaline that the body begins to secrete due to anxiety blocks the secretion of oxytocin. The secretion of this hormone is essential since it is responsible for birth to occur. Mindfulness meditation will help you focus on your breathing and bring your mind to the present moment. With this, you will be much more relaxed and therefore transmit security and confidence to your baby. This doesn’t just help your baby, but it helps you as an expecting mother.
Stimulate the Nipples
If during pregnancy your baby is overdue, and you also have a baby who is still breastfeeding, feeding them will naturally stimulate your nipples; helping your prolonged pregnancy to end. If this is not the case, you can use a massage on one or both nipples simulating the suction that occurs during breastfeeding. By doing this, you will help your body secrete the oxytocin it needs to induce labor.
Consuming specific foods can also help induce labor. Although it is not scientifically proven, the consumption of raspberry tea, spicy or hot chocolate can be great allies to help your baby to be born. In theory, these foods stimulate the digestive system which in turn will induce uterine contractions. At the very least, they will help contribute to an overall healthy diet.
While typically used postpartum, a girdle may help if you are experiencing any pain during delivery. Once the baby is born, this accessory will help you in recovery.
What are the causes for delayed delivery?
There can be many reasons why your baby's birth is being delayed by days or weeks. Let’s look at some of the most common causes why your baby has decided to stay a little longer in your womb.
Miscalculation of the Due Date
Pregnancy begins to be counted from the first day of the last menstruation. It is practically impossible to know the exact moment of fertilization. So the date of the last menstruation is the only data available to doctors to calculate when the baby will be born. However, many women do not have a regular period, or those who do may suffer disturbances for many reasons.
This means that the delay in your delivery may be due to a miscalculation of the expected date of delivery. Ultrasound measures the size of the fetus, so it helps to calculate a date with better precision.
Being a New Mother
If this is the first time you are going to give birth, it is more likely that your baby's birth will be delayed. This is because first-time mothers need more days of gestation for the cervix to prepare since there has not been a previous delivery to modify it.
The Natural Shape of the Cervix
When the uterus is very long, you need a little more time to prepare for delivery.
Female hormones are always exposed to change for no apparent reason. During pregnancy, it is no exception. It may happen that conception occurs shortly after stopping the use of a contraceptive pill, which makes these hormonal changes occur much more easily. This can also cause delays in labor.
Remember To Consult Your Doctor
Sometimes we turn to people who have the same experiences as us for advice and support. Many times the people around have the best intentions to help but they are not people with the proper knowledge to advise us. It is essential that if your baby has not been born after the maximum gestation time (42 weeks), that you consult your obstetrician. He or she will suggest the best option to induce your labor and give you peace of mind so that you can make sure that your health and that of your baby are not at risk.