Most pregnancies last 37 to 42 weeks, but some take longer. If your pregnancy lasts more than 42 weeks, it is called post-term (past due). This happens in a small number of pregnancies. While there are some risks in a post-term pregnancy, most post-term babies are born healthy.
There's a higher risk of stillbirth if you go over 42 weeks pregnant, although most babies remain healthy. At the moment, there's no way to reliably predict which babies are at increased risk of stillbirth, so induction is offered if you do not go into labour by 42 weeks.
“It's highly unlikely that you would have a pregnancy that would go beyond 10 or 11 months. Highly unlikely…”
The longest pregnancy ever recorded was 375 days long (17 months). In comparison most women are pregnant for 280 days.
You are more likely to be overdue if you are obese, have never given birth before or if you're over the age of 30. Your midwife or doctor will check that both you and your baby are healthy by giving you ultrasound scans and checking your baby's movement and heartbeat.
Between 41 weeks and 41 weeks and six days, a pregnancy is called late-term. When a pregnancy reaches 42 weeks and beyond, it's postterm. Late-term and postterm pregnancy can raise the risk of some health problems, including: Larger than average birth size (fetal macrosomia).
Most overdue pregnancies do just fine, with no complications for moms or their babies. An overdue baby may look a little different, though. Past-due babies can have relatively long and thin arms or legs, dry or peeling skin, and longer hair and nails than younger babies. They're often very alert at birth, too.
A new trial published today in The British Medical Journal (BMJ) finds inducing labor at 41 weeks in low-risk pregnancies may significantly reduce the risk of infant death. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), past 42 weeks there's an increased risk of complications for mother and baby.
You should discuss this with both your doctor and midwife so that together an appropriate plan of care can be made. This plan will include increased antenatal assessments. If your pregnancy continues past 41 weeks and 3 days, your midwife will recommend you attend hospital for a biophysical profile.
Can I wait for labor to begin naturally? Nature typically prepares the cervix for delivery in the most efficient, comfortable way. However, when there's concern about mother's or baby's health or the pregnancy continues two weeks past the due date, inducing labor might be the best option.
No Signs of Labor at Week 40
At 40 weeks, the risk of stillbirth is approximately 2 to 3 per 1,000 babies; at 42 weeks, it's 4 to 7 per 1,000. If labor hasn't started spontaneously, you'll probably be induced at 41 weeks—at the latest.
On average, scores on development tests were lower for infants born earlier in the range of a term pregnancy—from 37 to 41 weeks—than for those born later in the range, suggests a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health.
Labor is a series of continuous, progressive contractions of the uterus that help the cervix dilate and efface (thin out). This lets the fetus move through the birth canal. Labor usually starts two weeks before or after the estimated date of delivery. However, the exact trigger for the onset of labor is unknown.
Induced labour is usually more painful than labour that starts on its own, and you may want to ask for an epidural. Your pain relief options during labour are not restricted by being induced. You should have access to all the pain relief options usually available in the maternity unit.
Babies born early (called premature babies) may have more health problems at birth and later in life than babies born on time. This is why it's important to wait until at least 39 weeks to induce labor. If your pregnancy is healthy, it's best to let labor begin on its own.
One of life's greatest surprises is finding out the gender of a baby at birth. But if the pregnancy is overdue, the soon-to-be parents may be expecting a son. Studies have found that boys not only produce longer pregnancies, but also longer labors.
Genetic factors and maternal conditions such as obesity or diabetes can cause fetal macrosomia. Rarely, a baby might have a medical condition that makes him or her grow faster and larger. Sometimes it's unknown what causes a baby to be larger than average.
If there's a problem with your baby or you still haven't delivered 2 weeks after your due date, your doctor will probably induce labor. Inducing can reduce the chance that you'll need a C-section. The doctor will give you a medicine called oxytocin (Pitocin).
(Reuters Health) – Children born in the 41st week of pregnancy – which is considered “late-term” - have better test scores and are more likely to be classified as gifted in elementary and middle school, compared with children born “full-term,” that is, at 39 or 40 weeks.
Experts believe labor starts on its own in large part because baby signals your body that she's ready to be born. It may feel like not much is happening during those last weeks before labor, but your body and your baby are both busy preparing for birth.
A doctor may apply a medication that contains prostaglandin to soften the cervix and promote dilation. A process called membrane stripping may help. It involves a doctor or midwife rubbing their fingers against the membranes of the amniotic sac to release prostaglandin into the uterus and help the cervix dilate.
35.8% (just over one in three) of the women whose labour was induced at 40 weeks had a caesarean.