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Common Risks of Going Past Your Due Date Recent studies have shown that there may be some risk of complications associated with going post-term (42 weeks or more), including: Possible infections and/or high blood pressure in the mother. If you’re past your due date and still pregnant, try not to worry. “Most of the time, a woman’s body knows when to go into labor,” says Hansen. After 42 weeks, though, the once-ideal environment in your uterus may become less hospitable.

While only a small contingent of women (some say 3 to 5 percent) give birth on their actual due dates, the vast majority will deliver sometime between 38 and 42 weeks. If you’re past your due date, just know this: You’re not alone. Plenty of women see their due dates come and go without meeting their newborn. What if my pregnancy goes past the due date?

If your pregnancy lasts one week past your estimated due date, your doctor will probably begin checking your baby more closely. Your doctor may use an electronic fetal monitor to check how your baby’s movements affect his or her heart rate. This is called a nonstress test.

If there’s a problem with your baby or you still haven’t delivered 2 weeks after your due date, your doctor will probably induce labor. Inducing can reduce the chance that you’ll need a C-section. Don’t worry, pregnancy due date changes happen. Here are 4 major reasons why they do, and what these shifts can mean for your pregnancy. Your pregnancy due date changes because you have irregular periods.

To estimate your date of delivery, your doctor will ask when your last menstrual period was. For women with irregular cycles, this can be. Nature typically prepares the cervix for delivery in the most efficient, comfortable way. However, if your health care provider is concerned about your health or your baby’s health or your pregnancy continues two weeks past your due date, inducing labor might be the best option. Why the concern after two weeks?

Check on fetal health status: If you are five days past your due date, go for fetal monitoring, count your fetal kicks, and opt for NST (non-stress test), ultrasound and biophysical profile (BPP. If your pregnancy lasts more than 42 weeks, it is called post-term (past due). This happens in a small number of pregnancies. While there are some risks in a post-term pregnancy, most post-term babies are born healthy.

Your health care provider. It’s sometimes difficult to convince a healthy mom that it’s OK to go past her estimated due date. But there is a lot of soft data about the benefits to your baby going to term: They are neurologically mature after 39-40 weeks and not before. They sleep better. They nurse better.

They do better in school later in life.

List of related literature:

The rule estimates the expected date of delivery (EDD) from the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period (LMP) by adding 1 year, subtracting 3 months and adding 7 days to that date.

“Anatomy and Physiology for Midwives E-Book” by Jane Coad, Kevin Pedley, Melvyn Dunstall
from Anatomy and Physiology for Midwives E-Book
by Jane Coad, Kevin Pedley, Melvyn Dunstall
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2019

Premature birth is any delivery, regardless of birth weight, that occurs before 37 completed weeks from the first day of the last menstrual cycle (term is 40 weeks in humans).1 In this regard, gestational age is dated from the first day of the last menstrual cycle.

“Fetal and Neonatal Physiology” by Richard A. Polin, Steven H. Abman, William W. Fox
from Fetal and Neonatal Physiology
by Richard A. Polin, Steven H. Abman, William W. Fox
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2011

That means checking your prenatal records to confirm that your due date is accurate and, if there is reason to suspect that your due date may be wrong and your baby may actually be premature, possibly assessing the maturity of your baby’s lungs by performing amniocentesis.

“The Mother of All Pregnancy Books: An All-Canadian Guide to Conception, Birth and Everything In Between” by Ann Douglas
from The Mother of All Pregnancy Books: An All-Canadian Guide to Conception, Birth and Everything In Between
by Ann Douglas
Wiley, 2011

• You go past your due date, so your placental function declines (see FYI below).

“Expecting 411 (4th edition): The Insider's Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth” by Ari Brown, Michele Hakakha
from Expecting 411 (4th edition): The Insider’s Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth
by Ari Brown, Michele Hakakha
Windsor Peak Press, 2017

The mother is given the date of the 40th week after conception as the estimated date of delivery (EDD), but in reality this date is somewhat arbitrary, as the precise length of her pregnancy of course depends on when she conceived, and not on the date of the LMP.

“The Complementary Therapist's Guide to Conventional Medicine E-Book: A Textbook and Study Course” by Clare Stephenson
from The Complementary Therapist’s Guide to Conventional Medicine E-Book: A Textbook and Study Course
by Clare Stephenson
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2011

For many women there are trigger dates, such as the date of the loss of the due date of the pregnancy.

“The 5-minute Obstetrics and Gynecology Consult” by Paula J. Adams Hillard, Paula Adams Hillard
from The 5-minute Obstetrics and Gynecology Consult
by Paula J. Adams Hillard, Paula Adams Hillard
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2008

• Normal pregnancies vary in length, so due dates are approximate.

“Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide” by Janet Walley, Penny Simkin, Ann Keppler, Janelle Durham, April Bolding
from Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide
by Janet Walley, Penny Simkin, et. al.
Meadowbrook, 2016

Some apparent cases of prolonged pregnancy are actually miscalculations of the estimated date of delivery (EDD) because the woman has irregular menstrual periods or forgot the date of her last normal period.

“Foundations of Maternal-Newborn and Women's Health Nursing E-Book” by Sharon Smith Murray, Emily Slone McKinney
from Foundations of Maternal-Newborn and Women’s Health Nursing E-Book
by Sharon Smith Murray, Emily Slone McKinney
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2017

The date of conception may also help to determine if your doctor needs to induce your labor or perform a cesarean section.

“Your Vegetarian Pregnancy: A Month-by-Month Guide to Health and Nutrition” by Holly Roberts
from Your Vegetarian Pregnancy: A Month-by-Month Guide to Health and Nutrition
by Holly Roberts
Atria Books, 2008

That’s why the medical term for “due date” is EDD, or estimated date of delivery.

“What to Expect When You're Expecting 4th Edition” by Heidi Murkoff, Sharon Mazel
from What to Expect When You’re Expecting 4th Edition
by Heidi Murkoff, Sharon Mazel
Simon & Schuster UK, 2010

Oktay Kutluk

Kutluk Oktay, MD, FACOG is one of the world's foremost experts in fertility preservation as well as ovarian stimulation and in vitro fertilization for infertility treatments. He developed and performed the world's first ovarian transplantation procedures as well as pioneered new ovarian stimulation protocols for embryo and oocyte freezing for breast and endometrial cancer patients.

Mail: [email protected]yale.edu
Telephone: +1 (877) 492-3666

Biography: https://medicine.yale.edu/profile/kutluk_oktay/
Bibliography: oktay_bibliography

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20 comments

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  • Praying for a safe and easy delivery!! Baby P loves it on the inside that she’s just not feeling ready to make an appearance!!! I was 2 weeks overdue with my second ( and last ) baby, I was induced and all went well, he was 9 pounds and 14 ounces!!! It was such a relief to give birth and I felt fantastic after having him, like I could have ran a marathon!!!! Lol best of luck!!!! She’ll come!! I know it’s frustrating but try to enjoy these last moments…..

  • I’m 40 weeks and 4 days, at 40 exact I was 0 cm:( lmao so I’m starting to get cramps and I’m hoping she comes out aha!! I’m scared of induction but I don’t think I’ve had my membranes swiped tho:( my nst test is all good I’m so ready for my baby girl to come OUT Lmaoo.

  • Am 41 weeks 6days and I don’t no when my baby is arriving and its making me sad.what should I do to make my baby come easy cos I can’t wait to see my baby

  • I hope, i can you gratulation for your Baby is born…������ and i wish you for your little Family all the best, love greetings from Germany ❤❤❤

  • I’m 40 weeks today. I feel like she doesn’t want to come out �� I’m sure she’s going to make it to next week as well. bc I don’t really have pain pain. I lose my mucous plug 2 days ago. that day I was having mild back contractions. I’m 3 cm. I’m so impatient now ��

  • I’m ready this to be over, I’m 39 weeks now and 40 next friday, ��my first and second always 40 weeks, I don’t know this 3rd child still waiting.

  • These videos are So helpful!!! I am one of those people who loves learning and absorbing as much info as possible. Even if something seems off and Especially since this is my first pregnancy. I’d much rather have All the info, so I’m not guessing. It actually calms me to know & understand what’s going on, or what may happen.

  • I am 40 weeks and 3 days nothing with this little girl. She is my fifth child (she is my fourth daughter). I will have my children talk to her lol hopefully she will listen. I also have done almost everything and nothing. Babies come when they want to come.

  • Two tablespoons of Castor Oil in Orange Juice worked for me. It was disgusting but two hours later I was in labor. I wish you all the best and hope Mrs. P. gets here soon.

  • Am 40 weeks and 1 day with my baby girl Notting yet am so worried my first boy child born on 39 weeks and 6 days why isn’t this baby coming out am so worried

  • So glad I watched this video, I know it was back in May but I’m currently 40+5 I hadn’t heard about acupressure or visualisation so definitely going to give those a try. Really don’t want to be induced! Thanks for a fab video:)

  • Love this video. I am sitting at 41 weeks and 5 days. I sooo feel you. I was 10 days late with my 4th so I can only imagine how late I will be this time! LOL

  • I have been catching up on ALL pregnancy videos I can’t get enough! Love you videos so helpful. I’m a mother of 2 and currently ttc my 3rd for 2 months now so let’s see how that goes! I seen you had baby P, super adorable love your family and lots of blessings with your new journey that has just begun! Keep doing your things girl! Xoxo

  • I was told by a Thai grandmother that the green papaya salad can start labor! lol I tried ordering it recently and she spoke up and told me not too or I’d have a premie ��

  • The due date is not a magic date, it’s a good guess but it’s not anything to be relied on. Several factors are at work in determining when you could possibly give birth. First, they usually count from the day of the last menstrual cycle 280 days. Well every woman may ovulate at a different time and it’s not even counted at the time of presumed conception. Secondly, not every baby gestates or attaches to the uterine wall at the same speed or rate. Thirdly, women’s bodies and their babies are going to behave differently when the time approaches. Some move into labor slower than others. Not to mention that ultrasounds are not 100% accurate, particularly the later they are administered.

    So don’t get frustrated or scared that the baby didn’t arrive at the magic date they pulled from the sky. If you are doing well and baby is healthy than be calm and patient.

  • I’ve tried all that but I’m 40weeks and 5days today. My baby is moving and kicking but I’m still at 2cm. But my induction date is in 4 days. I’m so happy and ready to see her. ����������

  • I’m 37 weeks and I’m not dilated at all. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I just started sobbing at the thought of being pregnant for more than 40 weeks. I really, really don’t want to be late.

  • Your son is so cute and sweet! <3 I'm seeing this way after the fact, so I hope your little ones are doing great almost 2 years later:D

  • You always look so well put together..do you ever show like a dressed down side hair up no make up side!? With small babies I feel like my getting dolled up days are long gone mind you I’m at stay at home mom ATM.

  • Bull shit. My 3rd baby almost died from a induction and they should ever be done for any reason unless it’s life saving not convenient