An overdue pregnancy  is one that is gone longer than 42 weeks. Your health care provider gave you a due date at 40 weeks. However, this number can be off about a week or two especially if you don’t remember the date of your last period. Most babies arrive between 38 and 42 weeks. However, when pregnancy goes beyond 42 weeks, it is classified as overdue pregnancy and the baby is considered post term.

overdue pregnancy

Who is more likely to have an overdue pregnancy ?


You are more likely to experience a prolonged pregnancy if :


  • this is your first pregnancy
  • over due pregnancy runs in your family
  • you are expecting a boy
  • you have had a prior  prolonged pregnancy
  • you are obese
  • you were born late yourself


Can being born being born late hurt pregnancy ?


Delivering more than 2 weeks after your due date carries some risk , some of which include the following :

  • fetal distress
  • breathing problems in the baby
  • placental failure
  • drop in amniotic fluid surrounding the baby
  • slowed or stopped growth because baby has run out of space
  • the need for a c-section
  • baby breathing in meconium which is the baby’s first bowel movement
  • still birth


My pregnancy is past 42 weeks. What next ?


You will still have prenatal care even if your pregnancy is past it’s due date. Your health care provider will check your cervix to see if it has begun to dilate. He will also monitor you for complications.


Your health care provider may also track you baby’s heart beat with an electronic fetal monitor. He will also use an ultrasound to monitor your baby’s movement or measure the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby.


Will I be induced if my pregnancy is prolonged ?


If you are more than one week to 10 days after your due date, it will be better to deliver baby to prevent any complications.


If your doctor decides to wait a little bit longer to see if you will go into labor, he may check you twice a week to make sure your baby is doing well. You may also have one of the following tests :

  • measurement of amniotic fluid
  • non fetal stress test which uses fetal monitor to track the baby’s heart rate
  • examination of the cervix to check if it has thinned or dilated
  • ultrasound to check the baby’s growth and movement

If your baby is still not out 2 weeks after your due date, you will be induced. Your doctor will give you oxytocin, a medication which will make your uterus contract to begin the labor process.  The dosage might be adjusted to regulate the strength and frequency of your contractions.


Are you still waiting for your baby to arrive ? Don’t stress !!


If you have an overdue  pregnancy, here are some things you can do while still waiting for your baby

  • get enough rest
  • stock the freezer with food
  • put the finishing touches on the nursery
  • stay in touch with your doctor

Enjoy this time. You will be glad you did when the baby arrives and you are changing diapers and feeding around the clock


Content Sources
What to Do When Baby Is Overdue. WebMD. Accessed October 16, 2014
Overdue pregnancy: What to do when baby’s overdue. Mayo Foundation. Accessed October 16, 2014

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