Dealing with an Overdue Pregnancy

The nine months of pregnancy bring forth myriad emotions in the expectant parents.  As an expectant mother, you are excited, anxious as well as overjoyed at the prospect of holding your little one in your arms.

As the weeks roll by one by one and the impending Expected Date of Delivery (EDD) which once seemed so far can now be counted on your fingers, your excitement knows no bounds. The anticipated fervor is threatening to burst the seams of your patience just as your expanding girth is bursting at the seams of your already adjusted maternity wear!

Antenatal classes have now run their course, the hospital bag has been unpacked and packed for the umpteenth time and the birth plan has been revised and submitted to your doctor/mid-wife for ready reference. You and your our partner have even practiced the steps involved in delivering the baby at home yourselves just in case you happen to go into labor on a stormy night or on the day when all the taxi drivers decide to call a flash strike.

But what happens when the EDD comes and goes and nothing happens, absolutely nothing, ZERO, ZILCH! You rush repeatedly to the hospital to check on the baby where the doctor reassures you that everything is fine and that the baby seems pretty comfortable inside you. You balk at the idea of your unborn baby already showing signs of rebellion and deciding to take his time when the wait is driving you nuts!

You rush home to read the section on overdue pregnancy once more in the book,’What to Expect, when you’re Expecting’ which you have already memorized like the back of your hand. The book, often termed as the Bible of American pregnancy, tries to reassure you and prepare you for such a scenario, but it all seems in vain. You try to reason out why it was you who had to exceed the due date when your mother and her mother both had their first babies before the due date.

I too had a similar experience when I was expecting my son.  All my antenatal class friends, even the ones who were due days after me had their babies, but my son refused to budge from his cosy habitat. After 10 very long and stressful days and nights, a very frazzled me was admitted to the hospital to be induced. Soon I realised that the worst had still to come as the doctors made me wait for another 2 days during which successive induction sessions did not yield any results. I was quite frustrated given the lack of progress even though I was experiencing labor pains. Finally 12 days after the due date, after failed inductions followed by an emergency C-section, my son made a rather princely entry into the world. Needless to say that one look at him banished all my frustration at the delay!

In most countries if the mother and unborn child are otherwise doing well, the doctors advise to wait for a week to10 days and sometimes even 2 weeks. In some cases where the mother is expecting twins or has a condition which warrants a C-section delivery imminent, doctors may decide not to wait beyond the 40 weeks.

Waiting beyond the 40 week pregnancy cycle can be really stressful for most women, especially those who are expecting their first child. However, it is important for expectant moms to remember that eventually the baby has to come into the world and fretting unnecessarily will only put the child and herself in distress.

Considering the fact that research points out that only 5% or so of the children are born on the due date, perhaps it is time that the due date is not given so much prominence.  A 37 week pregnancy is considered normal and so is a 42 week pregnancy.

Statistics also reveal that most first-time mothers go beyond the due date by almost a week to 10 days.  In that case it is almost foolish to pin all your expectations on that one date in the calendar. It is rather in the expectant mother’s interest and that of the unborn baby to be constantly encouraged by family and caregivers to enjoy the last few days of pregnancy to the fullest!