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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?

A due date is set to be used as a guide to check your progress and the baby’s growth and age. An ultrasound will be performed to determine the age of the fetus, then the due date will be calculated (due date is set 40 weeks from conception).

What is post term pregnancy?

Any pregnancy that is 42 weeks or longer is considered post term. The most common cause of post term delivery is an error in calculating the due date. Post term deliveries can occur with 1st pregnancy.

What are the risks associated with post term pregnancy?

  • The placenta may no longer function as well.
  • Amount of amniotic fluid will decrease over time.
  • The umbilical cord can become pinched.

There is also an increased risk of:

  • Macrosomia (large sized infant)
  • Dysmaturity syndrome (slowed infant weight gain/malnourishment)
  • Meconium aspiration (serious condition in which the infant breaths in a mixture of fecal matter and amniotic fluid)
  • Cesarean delivery.

What tests can be performed in cases of post term pregnancy?

A test you can perform on your own is a kick test. Record the number of times you feel your baby move.

Some electronic fetal monitoring tests that can be done are:

  • Nonstress test (monitoring of the baby’s heartrate while it moves)
  • Contraction stress test (induce contractions and monitor the baby’s responses)
  • Biophysical profile.

What is electronic fetal monitoring?

Electronic fetal monitoring is when electronic equipment is used to measure the fetus’s heart rate and measure the strength of uterine contractions.

A biophysical profile uses contraction stress and monitors the changes in the fetal heart rate. It also estimates the amount of amniotic fluid present, combines results of electronic and ultrasound exams, and observes the fetus’s breathing, movement, and muscle tone.

What is labor induction?

Labor induction refers to when medications or other methods are used to cause begin labor. Labor induction causes the cervix to open and prepare for birth.

How is labor induced?

The different methods used to induce labor are:

  • Dilating or ripening the cervix (prostaglandins can be used to soften the cervix, and devices can be used to dilate the cervix)
  • Stripping or sweeping the amniotic membranes (sweeping a finger over the thin membranes that connect the amniotic sac to the uterine wall)
  • Rupturing the amniotic sac (breaking your water) by poking a small hole in the sac to release the fluid
  • Giving the hormone oxytocin through an IV tube to cause the uterus to contract.