What Happens If My Pregnancy Doesn't Come to Term?

Childbirth can be a moment that generates a lot of anxiety for women for many reasons. Today we want to talk about what happens when pregnancy doesn't come to term.  
What Happens If My Pregnancy Doesn't Come to Term?

Last update: 07 November, 2018

If you’re wondering what happens if your pregnancy doesn’t come to term on the planned date, you’ll find helpful information on this topic below.

Towards the final stretch, gestation can become increasingly bothersome. Mothers become anxious to have their babies in their arms. At the same time, they worry about the moment of childbirth.

On average, pregnancies come to term around 38 weeks after conception. However, some women don’t come to term during that period and they give birth before the 38th week. This is known as premature labor.

There are also cases in which birth doesn’t occur after 38 weeks. In these cases, it’s normal for the pregnant woman to feel a bit nervous.

However, there is nothing to worry about. A pregnancy is only considered post-term when it exceeds 42 weeks. When this occurs, medical intervention is necessary to ensure the welfare of both mother and child.

My delivery didn’t occur when it should have, what is happening?

Errors in calculating the date of delivery

Sometimes the tentative date that doctors stipulate for delivery is too early. This may occur due to an irregularity in the woman’s menstrual cycle.

The date of conception is usually calculated 14 days after the last menstrual cycle and if the cycle is irregular it could cause errors when calculating the delivery date.

First-time mothers

Many first-time mothers have asked themselves the question: “Why is my pregnancy not coming to term?” This may be due to the fact that the cervix hasn’t been prepared by previous births.

When it comes to first-time mothers, the cervix takes a little longer to dilate. The adaptations that the body makes to prepare for delivery is a completely natural process.

What Happens If My Pregnancy Doesn't Come to Term?


Hormones produced by nervousness and anxiety can have counterproductive effects. Certain hormones can interfere with the hormones that are responsible for initiating contractions and labor.


If the future mother had to ingest progesterone for some reason during the pregnancy, delivery may be delayed for a few days or weeks.

What should I do if my pregnancy doesn’t come to term?

If your pregnancy doesn’t come to term, it goes without saying that all interventions must be carried out by professionals. The first measure taken is to constantly monitor the fetus’s condition. If everything is found to be within normal parameters, doctors may suggest waiting.

Meanwhile, the gynecologist may also perform a technique known as membrane separation. This technique consists of separating the membrane that connects the amniotic sac to the uterine wall.

“Pregnancy is only considered post term when it exceeds 42 weeks. In these cases, medical intervention is necessary to ensure the welfare of both mother and child.”

The membrane separation procedure causes the body to produce prostaglandinwhich is a hormone that helps prepare the uterus for delivery.

This technique however, can only be used after the 42nd week and if there is already dilation. It isn’t guaranteed to work for all women.

If the procedure doesn’t work, doctors may recommend an induced delivery. To induce pregnancy, specialists use various techniques and the administration of certain hormones. After induction, pregnancy may occur in a matter of hours.

Activities that may favor delivery

Women may also do certain things to facilitate delivery. Here are examples of activities that can be performed to favor delivery:

  • Walking or doing moderate physical activity can help dilate the cervix.
  • Having sex: believe it or not, sex favors the production of prostaglandins and oxytocin. Orgasms also favor contractions.
  • Performing relaxing exercises: anxiety and adrenaline are counterproductive. They inhibit the production of the aforementioned hormones. Yoga is a great way to achieve relaxation.
  • Eat chocolate or other sweet foods, as they stimulate the baby’s movement. Keep in mind that this should be done in moderation.
  • Raspberry infusions: they can be very effective since they stimulate the uterus.
What Happens If My Pregnancy Doesn't Come to Term?

Risks if pregnancy doesn’t come to term

In some cases, post-term pregnancies can pose certain risks to both the future mother and child. Some of the consequences of post-term pregnancies include the following:

  • Need to perform a cesarean: this isn’t a big problem and it may be caused by the size and weight of the baby which could prevent his or her exit through the vaginal canal.
  • Probability of perineal injuries: due to the same reasons mentioned above.
  • Reduction in the volume of amniotic fluid: this could put pressure on the umbilical cord. It could also cause the aging of the placenta and the reduction of oxygen.
  • Reduction of the baby’s heartbeat.
  • Uterine contamination: this is due to the fact that the baby might have his first bowel movement in the uterus. Meconium can cause serious problems.
  • When a pregnancy surpasses 42 weeks of gestation, there is an increased risk of fetal death.

In addition, there are minor discomforts such as body aches from the weight of the belly, swelling of the feet and trouble sleeping. Post-term babies are usually born with wrinkled skin, longer nails and more hair.

As a final recommendation, we suggest that you remain calm if your pregnancy doesn’t come to term. Most cases end with healthy babies and very happy moms. There is no need to worry.

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.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.