Some problems associated with a late delivery are:
- It is noted that the chances of babies dying unexpectedly while still inside the womb or shortly after the birth, goes up if they spend more than 41 or 42 weeks inside the womb.
- The risk of foetal distress and stillbirth rises steeply after 42 weeks, particularly in women expecting their first baby.
- Babies born at 42 weeks and beyond can have dry parchment-like skin because the protective vernix layer would have been shed weeks ago in anticipation of a delivery date that came and went by.
- They will also tend to be more overweight than average.
- Vaginal deliveries in the case of late deliveries can pose a greater risk. Doctors advice C-section in these cases.
To avoid some of these potential complications, many nursing centres induce labour in the mother as she crossed the 41st-week mark. A number of considerations go into making that decision, like the baby’s heartbeat as monitored on cardiotocography (CTG) machine. An ultrasound scan would be used to check your baby’s movements and to look at the levels of amniotic fluid in your womb. Also, the mother’s age, weight, complications during pregnancy, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, are to be noted down.
Pregnancy can be induced in a number of ways:
- If the mother’s cervix hasn’t started to soften, efface (thin out), or dilate (open), it’s considered “unripe,” or not yet ready for labour.
In that case, doctors will either use hormones or mechanical methods to ripen your cervix before the induction.
- Procedures can also include stripping or rupturing membranes, or using drugs like Oxytocin to start the contractions.
- If none of these work, the C-section technique of delivering a child will be employed.
If the pregnancy, however, lasts longer than 42 weeks (294 days), it’s called a prolonged pregnancy. The chances of this are quite rare. It could also be a worrying occurrence and hence meeting the doctors on almost a regular basis to know and track what’s actually going on inside the womb everyday is essential.