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After Your Due Date

What is the due date and what does it mean?
What is postterm pregnancy?
What are the risks associated with postterm pregnancy?
What tests can be performed in cases of postterm pregnancy?
What is electronic fetal monitoring?
What is labor induction?
How is labor induced?

What is the due date and what does it mean?

  • Your due date is used as a guide
    • For checking your pregnancy?s progress
    • As well as the baby?s growth and age
  • How is due date determined?
    • Ultrasound performed between 18 weeks and 20 weeks

What is postterm pregnancy?

  • Postterm pregnancy is one that lasts 42 weeks or longer
  • May occur with 1st pregnancy
  • Most common cause of postterm pregnancy
    • An error in calculating
    • Cause is usually unknown

What are the risks associated with postterm pregnancy?

  • After 42 weeks:
    • The placenta may not work as well
    • Decrease in amount of amniotic fluid over time
    • May cause the umbilical cord to become pinched
    • With an increased risk of:
      • Dysmaturity syndrome
      • Macrosomia
      • Meconium aspiration
      • Cesarean delivery

What tests can be performed in cases of postterm pregnancy?

  • Kick count, can be done on your own at home
    • A kick count is a record of how often you feel your baby move
  • Electronic fetal monitoring includes:
    • Nonstress test
    • Biophysical profile
    • Contraction stress test

What is electronic fetal monitoring?

  • Electronic equipment measures fetal heart rate
    • And strength of uterine contractions
  • Biophysical profile
    • Uses contraction stress and monitors changes in fetal heart rate
    • Estimates amount of amniotic fluid
    • Combines results of electronic and ultrasound exams
    • Also observes baby’s breathing, movement and muscle tone

What is labor induction?

  • This uses medication or other methods to bring on labor
    • To open the cervix and prepare for vaginal birth
  • Physicians generally wait 1?2 weeks after a woman?s due date before considering inducing labor

How is labor induced?

  • Methods used to induce labor include:
    • Ripening or dilating the cervix
      • Prostaglandins may be used to soften the cervix and to cause the uterus to contract
    • Special devices can be used to dilate the cervix
    • Stripping or sweeping the amniotic membranes
      • Your health care provider sweeps a finger over thin membranes
      • That connect the amniotic sac to the wall of your uterus
      • You are more likely to have contractions and may go into labor within 48 hours
    • Rupturing the amniotic sac
      • Your health care provider makes a small hole in the amniotic sac to release the fluid
        • Also known as breaking water
      • Most women go into labor within hours of their water breaking
    • Using oxytocin
      • This hormone, given through an intravenous (IV) tube in your arm, causes the uterus to contract

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“Dr. Litrel was a fantastic doctor. I had my first exam with him, although at first I was skeptical about a male doctor for my GYN. But after I met him I’m glad I kept an open mind, and I couldn’t have dreamed up a better doctor. He cares about you as a person and not just a patient. The front desk ladies and nurses were very friendly and it’s a great office, very clean and not intimidating. I highly recommend Cherokee Women’s Health.”
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