Last updated: February 19, 2020
Richard Honaker M.D.
Primary Care Physician
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Melissa was a first-time mother who never anticipated still being pregnant a week after her due date. Along with the nerves that come with the anticipation with labor, she was now worried about the additional complications that could come with a large baby, post-term pregnancy and the possibility of a cesarean section.
I didn’t feel like my midwife was really listening to my concerns during our appointments. I started researching on my own. The information I found made me really scared about the risks of going overdue. We spent more time worrying than preparing for my baby. We knew we needed to do something. I contacted Your Doctors Online and got advice based on my situation. The doctor really listened to my concerns. I got the medical information I needed and was able to talk to my midwife to get my induction scheduled.
While many babies come on their own, Melissa was right in her concerns about going over 41 weeks of pregnancy. The question of whether or not to induce is a serious one, as there are risks to inducing as well as continuing your pregnancy after 41 weeks.
During most pregnancies, labor begins when both your body and your baby are ready. The Journal of Perinatal Education recommends that labour begin naturally unless there is a medical reason to induce labor. However, pregnancy beyond 41 weeks can be risky.
Is Pregnancy Beyond 41 Weeks Safe?
According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the ideal time to delivery your baby is between 39 and 41 weeks. Melissa was right in her concerns about continuing her pregnancy beyond 41 weeks.
As a first time mother, she often felt intimidated voicing her opinions during her prenatal visits. Talking to Your Doctors Online allowed her to get a second opinion on her pregnancy easily.
I didn’t feel like I could tell my doctor that I needed to be induced, since he was so certain my labor would start on its own. But it never did. When my daughter was finally born she had inhaled meconium and had issues breathing, which I found out is a risk of going overdue.
Having a Large Baby
When a pregnancy continues beyond 41 weeks there is a small increase in your risk of complications during birth. It also increases your risk of having a large baby.
It is normal for expecting mothers to be nervous about birth. While most women are able to deliver vaginally, some will require assistance during delivery from the use of forceps, vacuum, or an episiotomy.
These types of interventions can be required when a baby is not able to pass through the birth canal without assistance.
One of Melissa’s main concerns was to avoid a c-section. She was afraid of the impact the surgery would have on her future pregnancies as well as the extended recovery time.
Melissa knew that ultimately having a healthy baby was her ultimate goal. Despite the risk that induction could lead to a cesarean section. No matter what method needed to deliver, she was ready to meet her baby.
Having a stillbirth is every expectant parent’s worst fear. The risk of stillbirth increases each week beyond 37 weeks pregnant, but the risk is still very small. However, no matter how small the chances, Melissa did not want to increase the risk to her unborn baby’s life.
Prolonged pregnancy is a risk for stillbirth. Continuing her pregnancy was not worth the risk for Melissa. It was ultimately this information that she used to determine that she did not want to stay pregnant beyond 41 weeks.
Do you Have Questions About your Pregnancy?
Pregnancy is an exciting time that brings many questions. Instead of trying to remember all your concerns for your next visit, cure your worries from the comfort of home.
Your Doctors Online allows patients to keep a doctor in their pocket for online chats on the go or from the comforts of home.
Disclaimer: This article provides general information and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. If you require specific advice, please consult one of our medical professionals through the app. However, in case of an emergency, please call 911.
About Richard Honaker M.D.
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