I am on my 39th weeks of pregnancy. My OB Gyne mentioned that anytime within the week, I may give birth. I’ve been experiencing contractions starting end of June so I also believe that my due date is nearing.
As I have been told, labor progresses when I experience stronger and frequent contractions until my cervix fully dilates at 10 cm. From my last internal examination, I was one cm dilated. To help soften my cervix, I was advised to take evening primrose three times a day until my delivery date.
From my last experience with our Little Man, my active labor occurred at around 6 cm dilation. It was about 9 pm already and we reached the hospital by 10 pm. By that time, my contractions were regular at about every five to seven minutes. From the start of my active labor, it took around eight hours for me to give birth. And unlike my previous deliveries, I was awake and conscious that time.
Five days from now, I will be 40 weeks pregnant. I was told and I’ve read that if a mother has not gone into labor by 40 weeks, her baby is overdue. What might cause an overdue pregnancy and what it can mean for the mom and her baby?
As an overdue pregnancy can leave a mother tired and anxious, I was relieved to learn that it is normal to give birth before or after my due date. I was initially told my due date was July 17 based on my last day of menstruation. To appease myself, I researched and found out that in fact, a pregnancy must continue two weeks past the due date to earn the official label of post-term pregnancy.
Let me share with you reasons others have a post-term pregnancy.
- This is the mother’s first pregnancy
- The baby is a boy
- The mother is obese
- The due date was calculated incorrectly (miscalculation on the exact date of start of last menstruation)
By definition, a full-term pregnancy is defined as 40 weeks from the last normal menstrual period. An overdue pregnancy, on the other hand, is over 40 weeks. A pregnancy that extends beyond 41 weeks may bring increased risk to the health of the baby. And that is something I do not want to happen. Enumerated here are the risks of post-date pregnancies as lifted from the site Love to Know.
The risk of stillbirth increases after 41 weeks as a consequence of problems, such as an aging placenta and umbilical cord accidents.
A post-dates placenta begins to get smaller and show other signs of aging, especially after 42 weeks. This decreases supply of oxygen and nutrients to your baby.
Umbilical cord accidents
The umbilical cord can wrap around your baby’s neck or a limb, or get trapped between the baby and your uterus or cervix, cutting off his blood and oxygen supply. This increases the risk of stillbirth or neurologic problems after birth.
Decreased amniotic fluid
Amniotic fluid production decreases as you get further past your due date. Decreased amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios), which is more common after 42 weeks, increases the risk of umbilical cord accidents and fetal and newborn death.
Your baby may pass stool into the amniotic fluid and inhale it into his lungs. The risk increases the further you go beyond your due date. This can lead to death or newborn lung infection.
A dysmature baby is one who looks like he didn’t get enough nourishment. He is long and lean and has long hair and fingers. This is especially seen after 42 weeks.
Your baby will continue to grow after term. A large baby has the risk that his shoulders can get stuck against your pubic bones during delivery (shoulder dystocia). The risk of clavicle or arm fracture and other injuries to your baby during delivery increase if his shoulders get stuck.
Decreased oxygen supply can cause fetal brain injury leading to seizures.
We are all in this together
I pray and believe that God will answer my prayers. I will give birth this week and that my baby will be healthy and normal. Seriously, this pregnancy is stressing me a lot lately. I’ve been in bed most of the time as my inner thighs are really in pain and walking is such an effort. But God has always been good to us because, during these days that I cannot function fully, my loved ones are being extra considerate and helpful. I could feel that we are all in this together.
The husband is there to take over a few of my responsibilities as a homemaker. He cooks on times I can’t really stand up. He brings me food and is there to hold my hand when I am in pain.
My three grown up boys are truly helpful. They do not bother me with school assignments. They study their lessons on their own and should they need help with difficult subjects, they ask one another for help or check Google. I appreciate as well that they wake up on their own every morning. At night after their assignment, they would even help with some household chores like washing the dishes, even sweeping the floor, and tidying the toys our Little Man scattered.
Even our 22-month-old boy is extra helpful. He kisses and hugs his mama a lot. He also helps me with my contraction through his comfort feeding.
And lastly, the little human being inside my womb is giving me hopes that everything is okay. He is still very active, telling me he is so alive and kicking and can’t wait to see his family.