Your due date is set at about 40 weeks but most labours will start between 37- 42 weeks. It is easy to focus on that due date so if you go beyond it, you may feel like the countdown to induction has begun. Some women can then feel fed up and anxious. So what can you do about it?
1. Keep busy and distracted…
Find stuff to do – get your house ready for your recovery and when your baby is here, cook, fill the freezer, meet friends, go for coffee, go on dates with your partner, go to the movies, go for a massage, go swimming, go for walks, read, relax, chill.
And just potter and hangout – sleep, stay in pjs, watch movies.
2. Relax & rest…
If you feel anxious or worried about going over your due date, try to relax. Being tense could prevent your labour from starting so you can use your relax and breathe techniques to relax as much as possible and try to remember that your baby will come when he is ready.
And try to rest as much as you can. This isn’t easy if you also have a toddler running around at home but grab a chance to recharge as much as possible with naps and early nights.
3. Go on a date…
Enjoy some time together before your baby arrives: movies, meals, music, sex and just some time being together.
And see friends, hang out, eat, catch up and laugh.
4. Remember, going over your due date is ok…
Your labour will start when your baby is ready to be born – maybe he needs to grow a bit more, maybe he needs time to get into a better position.
You can’t force labour to start so try to accept it and enjoy the peace and maybe a chance to rest for a few more days.
5. Your options when you go over your due date…
- Your midwife might suggest a sweep of your cervix to encourage labour to start. This may have more chance of success the closer to labour you are – so it is probably only worth considering once you are over your due date. But it is a personal choice so if it feels right for you, go for it or you can opt to wait it out instead. You don’t have to have a sweep if you don’t want one.
- Massage and reflexology can help to make you feel relaxed, which can encourage labour to start.
- Sex, walks and being active are also thought to encourage labour to start but they will only have an affect if labour is imminent.
6. Try not to worry…
If you go over your due date and you are concerned about anything, see your midwife or go to your nearest pregnancy assessment unit for some reassurance.
Don’t ever think you will be wasting anyone’s time – you won’t be and it can be important to get checked out especially if you don’t feel well, if you are concerned about your baby’s movements or if you just feel that something isn’t quite right.
Going over your due date doesn’t mean you have to be induced, it doesn’t mean that labour will need to be medical – wait, talk it through and no more about your options.
7. Prepare for labour and birth…
Read through your birth information so it stays fresh in your mind, as it may be a few weeks since you finished your antenatal classes.
Keep using your birth ball for comfort, to help your baby move into/stay in a good position for labour and so that using it is familiar.
Practise your relaxed breathing so you stay relaxed but also so you know how to focus on your breathing and to relax your muscles, which can make a huge difference in labour.
You can arrange a birth pep-talk with me if you need some information and reassurance to get you better prepared for labour and birth.
8. Get ready for induction…
If induction is looking likely because you are 1-2 weeks over your due date, it can be helpful to get prepared for what to expect, how to be comfortable in hospital, how to work with your contractions, what your options are and what to take with you to the hospital.
It can also be helpful to know more about your options if you want more time for labour to start.
You can arrange a last-minute 1:1 session with me to be as prepared as possible. An induction often isn’t like a spontaneous labour and it needs to be treated differently.
As a doula I work with parents from across Newcastle and Tyneside.
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