Q: Hi Doc ,I’m 41 weeks pregnant and my due date was on the 30 April, but I have small pains comes and goes and some waterish discharge and white, so on the 08th may I’m back to the hospital but they never tell me what they will induce or what, so can I ask them to induce me after 40 weeks or they won’t?
A: Usually pregnancy lasts for 40 completed weeks plus or minus 2 weeks. Generally though, from 37 weeks, your baby is good to be born…all things being equal. And so, 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.
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) it. The baby may also become bigger (fetal macrosomia) with potentials for complications like genital tract tears during vaginal delivery, prolonged labour etc.
You still have a couple of days before your 42nd week deadline. Perhaps, your medical team is prepping you for that week or perhaps, there are some other factors that make an induction critical now. I suggest that you have a long chat with your medical team. Ask all your questions and make sure they understand your fears and explain everything to your satisfaction. Discuss all options available and the one(s) you are comfortable with.
Remember that you can also ask for a second opinion if you are not comfortable.
All the best! Let’s know when the baby is born! Lots of love and hugs.
Have a goodnight everyone 😀