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Overdue Babies - fashionably late

Updated: Apr 25, 2019

The last few days of pregnancy are exciting time. But when your due date has passed, waiting for labour to start can be stressful too. Many parents-to-be become anxious.

So, where's baby? Your OB-GYN gave you a due date ten months ago, but your little one is not on schedule. Your friends and family keep asking, "When's the big day?" Now that it's passed, you don't know what to do.

#1 Why is my baby fashionably late?

No one can tell why some babies delay entrance into the world. Nothing you did or didn't do during your pregnancy cause your baby to take up an extended residence in your womb. The baby is probably too comfortable. However, you may be more likely to deliver late if

  • This is first delivery

  • You had previous babies born late

  • Your sister or mummy also born late

#2 Is my baby in danger?

Delivering after 2 weeks of your due date can be risky. The stillbirth rate at 42 weeks is double that at 37 weeks (4-7 deaths vs. 2-3 deaths per 1,000 deliveries). Other problems with a post-term delivery include:

  • Slowed growth due to aged placenta

  • A drop in amniotic fluid — the liquid that surrounds your baby

  • Fetal distress and baby passed motion (meconium)

  • Need for C-section because the baby is big (>4kg)

Overdue babies happens when the pregnancies progress beyond the expected due date (post dates). There is concern that babies pass meconium during labour and may aspirate into the lungs. I would advocate an induction of labour to avoid these problems.

#3 When should labour be induced?

That depends on your expected due date (EDD) and your baby's health. Your doctor may decide to induce labour after EDD. Or your doctor may want to wait a little longer to see if you go into labour. Meanwhile, your doctor will monitor closely to make sure your baby is coping well. Some tests can be performed to assess baby's health.

  • CTG test, which uses a monitor to track your baby's heart rate

  • Ultrasound scan to check your baby's growth and movement

  • Measure the amniotic fluid by scan

If there's any concern or you still haven't delivered at 41 weeks, your doctor will advise to induce labour. Inducing reduces the chance of C-section.

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