Why Is My Baby Overdue? Is This Normal?
It seems amazing that, as much as science has advanced, the exact date on which a baby will be born remains an unknown. Approximate calculations are made using the date of the last period, and different data obtained from the different tests performed during pregnancy. However, it’s never as accurate as we would like it to be. Because of that, we often ask the question “Why is my baby overdue?”
A little patience
Pregnancy generally lasts between 37 and 42 weeks. After that date, we call them postterm pregnancies.
You’ll be surprised to know that only one in 10 babies is born on the planned date, while 15% arrive after 40 weeks.
“The dates of birth between natural pregnancies can vary by up to 37 days.” That’s the conclusion of a new study entitled Length of human pregnancy and contributors to its natural variation, recently published in the journal Human Reproduction.
How is the expected birth date calculated?
Doctors make the calculation by adding 280 days (40 weeks) to the first day of the last period. That’s why, on the first visit to the gynecologist, they’ll ask you when you had the last menstruation.
As a general rule, conception would occur 14 days after that period. But, if you have an irregular cycle, then your ovulation could occur at another time, thus altering the calculations.
A delay in birth could be for several different factors, both maternal and fetal.
Why is my baby overdue?
If it’s your first birth, it’s normal for your pregnancy to be prolonged as the dilation of the cervix is slower. For a woman who has already given birth, this process is faster since the neck has already dilated previously.
If you’re about 40 weeks pregnant, it’s possible that for several weeks people around you have been making comments about the fact you still haven’t given birth. This only adds to the stress you already have.
There are women who feel scared about the thought of going into labor, and who feel anxious at the wait. This could be a factor behind your baby being overdue.
During the last weeks of pregnancy, your body naturally produces prostaglandins. These are responsible for causing changes in the cervix and inducing contractions. There are cases of women who have a low production of this substance, and this could also be one of the reasons why your baby is overdue.
Another reason may have to do with your baby. His or her head may still not be in the correct position, or he may not be producing the hormones necessary for labor to begin.
What are the risks if my baby is overdue?
As you can see, a delay in giving birth is very common and doesn’t necessarily imply that there’s anything wrong. However, you should always be aware of any changes and be in constant communication with your gynecologist.
These days, a daily count of your baby’s movement is no longer performed, as it led to errors and created even more anxiety in the mother.
What doctors usually worry about is the state of your placenta, which can deteriorate little by little. Fortunately, there are already reliable methods to know its condition and to assess whether the placenta is still able to feed the baby or whether doctors should induce labor. However, this would only be from week 42 on.
What can I do to induce labor?
Mobility is very important to induce labor. This is because it helps the uterus and makes it easier for the baby to get into position. One-hour walks are great, and dancing is even better.
Yes, we said dancing! The waist movements are very effective to help the movement of the baby’s head through the birth canal.
Sex is a definite yes! Oxytocin, also called the “love hormone,” is one of the natural chemicals involved in childbirth. It passes into the bloodstream during childbirth, breastfeeding, orgasm, and arousal.
That’s why we highly recommend a romantic night! In addition, the stimulation of the penis in the cervix generates prostaglandins, which can cause contractions.
We hope that this has cleared up all you need to know about what is happening with your baby as you wait to give birth. We also hope that you now know what to do to help things along, and at what point you should actually start to get concerned.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- López-Ramírez, C. E., Arámbula-Almanza, J., & Camarena-Pulido, E. E. (2014). Oxitocina, la hormona que todos utilizan y que pocos conocen. Ginecologia y Obstetricia de Mexico. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1046/j.1365-2036.16.s2.22.x
- Morales, S. (2009). Trabajo de Parto. Jica. https://rep.bioscientifica.com/view/journals/rep/131/6/1310989.xml
- Organización Mundial de la Salud. (2016). Recomendaciones de la OMS para la conducción del trabajo de parto. In Recomendaciones de la OMS para la conducción del trabajo de parto.