#HLWDK Daily Health Tips: Dating Pregnancy And Postdatism

Q: Good morning Doctor. I have been a keen fan of your page, and I must confess, you are doing a great job. May God replenish you.

I want to ask medically, reason why I am yet to deliver my baby, which the
scan gave me EDD of first week of December. We are now running to the third week. Delivery had not taken
place. I only feel pressed sometimes, feeling that the baby is preparing to
come. (Amusile in yoruba). However, I am yet to see coming of water (omira).
When I was dissatisfied with this condition, I try to think back to when last I
saw my period. I was able to remember its April, meaning that December is possibly my 9th month not November as said by the test and scan.

I also want to know, can the scan be questionable as regard the month of a

Can my own counting, since I saw my period last, be relied on and dispose
that of the scan result?

Lastly, what can be medically wrong Ma? Or is it normal to use up to
two-three weeks after the EDD given by the scan test, without delivery.

Please kindly give me detailed knowledge about this Ma. I will appreciate
it, and it would reduce my worries.

Thank you ma’am

A: Dating pregnancy is best done with the use of the last menstrual period. That is the first day of the woman’s last normal menstrual flow. However, if she is not sure of her dates, then a scan can be used. To date pregnancy, a first trimester scan gives the most appropriate approximation. The earlier it is, the more accurate it is likely to be.

In our part of the world, Nigeria, especially, people tend to think that pregnancy going beyond its due date is related to witchcraft or having run-ins with ‘bad’ people. I’d like to state unequivocally that this is not witchcraft 😀

Usually pregnancy lasts for 40 completed weeks plus or minus 2 weeks. This is usually through pregnancy dating using ultrasound scan in the first trimester. Generally though, from 37 weeks, your baby is good to be born…all things being equal. Therefore,, if a woman gets to 40 weeks without any sign of labour, she is tentatively given 2 more weeks, especially if there are no other risk factors present in the pregnancy. This is called watchful waiting and during this period, the baby’s kicks are counted, baby’s heartbeat is monitored and indeed, baby’s growth and other parameters are monitored. From the 41st week, if she does not spontaneously go into labour (without help), then there is a plan made for induction, having fully informed the woman of all possible scenarios. Some women do not like the idea of induction and so, having discussed with the medical team, may opt for a sweep of the membranes. This involves the separation of the membranes (the ‘bag’ in which the baby lies) from the lower part of the womb (uterus). This releases prostaglandins, which help stimulate labour.

When a pregnancy goes beyond the Expected Date of Delivery (EDD) which is 40 weeks, it is called a post-dated pregnancy. If the pregnancy lasts beyond 42 weeks, it is called post term.

It is not really clear why some pregnancies become post-dated but some associated risk factors include previous post dated pregnancy, first pregnancies, mothers with high BMI and advanced age.

The main challenge with allowing a baby to remain in the womb beyond the 42nd week is that of the placenta no longer being able to supply sufficient amounts of oxygen to the baby. This can lead to brain damage or even death of the baby. The second issue is the threat of the baby having its first poop inside the womb and then aspirating (breathing in) same.

So, have a long chat with your medical team and discuss options available and the ones you are comfortable with.

All the best! Let’s know when the baby is born! Lots of love and hugs.

Have a good night, people 😀


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