Many moms-to-be have something in common with the Duchess of Cambridge and her wait for the arrival of the royal baby.
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Their babies’ due dates come and go and … nothing happens.
Going past due date ‘very natural’
That’s completely normal, says OB/GYN Rebecca Starck, MD of Cleveland Clinic’s OB/GYN & Women’s Health Institute.
“I tell my patients don’t plan on delivering on your due date, plan to go past it,” says Dr. Starck. “Otherwise you’re looking at your watch and your calendar wondering why it hasn’t happened. In fact, it’s very natural for it to go past the date.”
Duration of a full-term pregnancy
A full-term pregnancy can range from 37 to 41 weeks. Many OBs will consider inducing labor for an expectant mom between 41 and 42 weeks for the safety of the baby.
“Between 41 and 42 weeks we do see some increased risks to the baby,” says Dr. Starck. “There’s about a 12-fold increase risk of what we call meconium-stained fluid, with a higher chance of fetal compromise.”
“The placenta was not designed to last forever and we think the life expectancy of the placenta is around 41 to 42 weeks,” Dr. Starck says.
Relax and rely on nature
What triggers labor is still unknown, but if you’re expecting and past your due date, Dr. Starck suggests a good idea would be to try to relax.
“Mother Nature has been doing this a lot longer than we have and whenever possible just sit back and let nature take its course,” advises Dr. Starck.
“In this day and age of planning everything we do, and deadlines coming and going, this is different,” she says. “You want your body to do what it’s going to do and not watch the calendar.”
Helping the process if you’re ready for labor
Dr. Starck does recommend some home remedies that may help things along if your body is ready for labor — meaning the cervix is dilated and softened, and your baby is head down and in position.
She stresses try these if you are certain your body is ready; if it isn’t, these may only cause painful contractions. These remedies include:
- Castor oil
- Sexual relations
- Raspberry tea
- Evening primrose oil
Healthy Pregnancy Guide