The clinical definition of overdue pregnancy is anything over 42 gestational weeks. Kind of sounds like a long time, when put that way.

In pregnancy, they ‘estimate’ your due date from your last menstral period. I have a post all about ovulation, conception, and pregnancy, if you want to check it out here.

Pregnancy is 40 weeks from your LMP. And if you are regular and ovulate every cycle on day 14, that’s great! If not, you might be over the due date or under the due date.

This idea of a due date was founded in the 1800s by a doctor in France, and even though it has been misproven hundreds of times, we still use it to calculate a due date.

As that date approaches, you may get more and more excited. And to see that date cruise by without even a thin piece of thinning of your cervix, that has to be hard. But, if your due date was off, even by just a few days?

Once you are at 41 weeks, your doctor may closely monitor you to see if the baby is ok. You may be asked to come in for ‘stress’ tests regularly to see if the baby is still having a beating heart, you may have daily cervical checks (I think this one is bogus, but to some doctors…), and you may have daily or every couple of day ultrasounds to check the fluid and the placenta.

A lot of people say that if you go past 7 days past 40 weeks, your baby will be too big for you to push out. To this, I just laugh and wonder who taught them their birth facts.

There is an ‘increased’ risk of meconium inhalation. Which happens if your baby is stressed, so they empty their bowels in the womb. My only thing with this is that one of my friend’s babies had meconium and it was 2 weeks early. It just happens, regardless of how long it has gestated. I think this is one of the ‘fear’ factors people tell you.

There is a risk of placental aging, since the placenta isn’t meant to function forever. But, you can have blood tests done to see if the baby is still growing and the placenta is still functioning. It doesn’t just all the sudden stop on week 42 of pregnancy, so please don’t think that.

Most women now are induced by 41 weeks. Rarely do they let you go longer. It is really sad.

Even if you have a regular cycle, the one month you got pregnant might have been different. Trust your body. Your baby is in there for a reason. It is growing and getting ready to be born, and if you are induced, even at 42 weeks, you might have a premature baby.

Weight the facts, as I always say. If you want a natural birth, then TRUST YOUR BODY!


14 Responses

  1. Absolutely true!!!Once I took a natural family planning class and learned that I have longer-than-28-day-cycles (early to mid 30’s) and shorter-than-14-day-luteal-phases (10-11 days rather than 14), I quickly realized that any due date calculated the traditional way was going to be FAR, FAR WRONG. Thankfully my midwife takes me seriously about that, but I haven’t been able to get any nurse/OB to pay any attention to me – their eyes are riveted by the sacred pregnancy wheel. Kind of sad.

  2. Hi Kayce,Thanks for your comments on my blog. I think it’s so great that you are learning so much now. I am a birth geek too, though it’s funny ’cause I’ve had 2 c-sections (but hopefully will not have a third). I’ve considered going to the Farm too. In fact, I like the idea because then I won’t have to hear people ask me “When are you due” since i think I will probably go over due again. I am always interested to learn more about due dates and being overdue. THanks for the post. Great blog!

  3. oh, sorry, I was signed in on my husband’s computer. That comment was from me, from the Wonder of Birth

  4. Hi interesting post, I am currently 4 days overdue will reference this post on my blog.Trying to maintain patience, baby no.2 is now "overdue" but I never had a 28 day cycle so this gives me hope!All the bestIrish Mammy

  5. I drives me batty that people say they are “over due” if they pass their due date, instead of when they are past 42 weeks. That.is.a.huge.difference.

    Even more so, it drives me batty that Doctors start talking induction around 36-39 weeks…before the woman is even at her due date!

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