Here you are, past your due date. Or maybe you’re approaching your due date without a single sign of labor. Your doctor is beginning to discuss induction. Family and friends are all asking questions. More than likely, you’ve reached that point in the pregnancy that we all get to. At the end, you’re just done. No matter how much you may (or may not) have enjoyed your pregnancy to this point, it just needs to be over. The anticipation is beginning to get the best of everyone. They’re all excited to meet your new baby. The ends is hard on all pregnant women. But, what if your pregnancy is nearing the end? Even worse, what if baby is late?
As a mom whose second baby was 13 days past due, I can sympathize with you. That experience, while extremely trying, gives me the chance to tell you what you should actually be doing during this really frustrating time.
What to do when your baby is late
Familiarize yourself with what is actually late
Let’s start with the fact that whatever due date you were given was an estimate. Your due date is not an actual date of expected delivery. The human body doesn’t follow an exact schedule. According to this article, only about 5% of babies actually arrive on their due date.
At the time that I gave birth to my son, ACOG standards allowed for me to hold off on medical induction of labor until 42 weeks. That’s when they consider your pregnancy to be overdue. Of course, there isn’t much they can do to force you into induction if you’re still not ready, and confident everything is okay.
You may agree to extra monitoring
When this happened to me, I agreed to have an extra ultrasound. I’d refused them in the last months after we did the anatomy scan. But, once we became very late, I didn’t mind checking to make sure everything was going well. Baby was still growing, heart beat was fine, and fluids were all perfect. Be careful to not make rash decisions based on results without thinking them over and consulting with someone else if you’re feeling unsure about the results of the tests.
Before agreeing on an induction make sure you’re actually considered late- or post-term. If there is any miscalculation in the due date, your baby may not actually be ready. Additionally, be sure to get your Bishop score to determine the chance of successful induction. Your doctor will do an examination and discuss his/her findings to calculate the score. Know that, if you’re hoping for a vaginal delivery, your Bishop score needs to be 8 or greater. A score of 6 or less means you’re less likely to succeed at vaginal delivery if you are induced.
Get baby in position
If your baby hasn’t turned head down, assuming you have time, get him turned. If baby is already head down, be sure your posture allow baby to get into position for labor. According to Spinning Babies, head down is not enough.
But aside from the not fun part of being overdue, let’s talk about…
How to maintain sanity when your pregnancy is overdue
As I said previously, my second baby was 13 days late. I’d love for you to read about why he was late and how I escaped medical induction. I PROMISE it’s worth the read!
Anyway, 13 days late is an awful lot of time when you’re tired of being pregnant. It’s also overwhelming when people are constantly saying or doing things to make you think about how late he is. Since I’m all about natural childbirth, dealing with the Doctor really pushing for induction was beyond stressful. After being about a week late, everything was irritating me, making me more miserable, and I was really on edge. I had to find sanity and a better mental place than I had been in. These are my tips for when you need to beat the stress of your overdue pregnancy.
Rest and relax
Oh my gosh, this one is hard. But, when you can, just rest or take a nap. Really soon, you’re going to be sleep deprived, so take any chance you can get to work in some naps!
Clean clothes, put linens on the bed, organize the nursery … whatever you haven’t done yet, slowly try to finish. If you’re preparing freezer meals, keep at it as much as possible. When you’re done with a task, take another nap … hehe.
Get a prenatal massage (of course, with someone who specializes in such a thing). Or get a manicure or haircut.
Spend quiet time with your family
This was so special to me! I was at a breaking point and I needed to take my mind off everything to do with my pregnancy. I demanded a movie night with my husband and daughter. As soon as hubby got off work, we rushed out for a quick dinner at Five Guys. Then, we had our first in-theater movie night with our 4 year old. It was one of the best nights I’d had in months and I didn’t once think about my really late baby. Just do something you can all enjoy and try not to think about the pregnancy.
Stop responding to questions
If the constant barrage of texts, emails, or phone calls is really getting to you, stop answering them. I put out an urgent message on Facebook for all my friends and family. In it, I let them know that I was taking a leave of absence from social media and from my phone. When my baby arrived, I promised to let everyone know, but until then, I needed the peace and quiet. Maintaining (or rebuilding) a positive attitude was more important than the temporary upset I was creating by not answering their calls. I promise, they’ll forget all about how upset they were with you once they receive word that the baby has arrived!