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My Pregnancy

When Pregnancy Goes Past the Due Date

First Trimester | Second Trimester | Third Trimester | Postpartum 

The date your baby is due is your estimated due date (EDD) and determined from the actual or calculated first day of your last menstrual cycle. The EDD is used to guide the progress of your pregnancy and the tracking of the growth and development of you your baby.
 
Once the due date has been selected, it does not change, regardless of how many additional ultrasound exams you may have during your pregnancy.
 
The average length of the pregnancy ins 280 days or 40 weeks.  A pregnancy lasting 41 to 42 weeks is called “late term.” A pregnancy that last longer than 42 weeks is called “post term.”
 
The causes of post term pregnancy are unknown; the following factors contribute to its occurrence:
  • First pregnancy
  • Male babies
  • A prior pregnancy that went “post term”
  • Obesity
 
The health risks for you and your fetus may increase if a pregnancy is late term or post term. Most of these pregnancies will deliver without complications but the risks are:
  • Stillbirth
  • Macrosomia (abnormally enlarged growth of the baby)
  • Post maturity syndrome
  • Meconium stained amniotic fluid
  • Decreases in the fluid around the baby
  • The need for assisting the delivery with vacuum or forceps
  • Cesarean section
  • Post-delivery excessive bleeding (postpartum hemorrhage)
 
At 41 weeks your doctor may recommend testing the baby for his or her well-being. The testing uses electronic fetal/baby monitoring and sometimes ultrasound to assess and reassure that the baby is doing well.
 
Labor induction may be recommended if your pregnancy reaches 41 weeks. Induction is started using medication or other methods.
 
Your doctor will discuss your options and together you will be able to share in the decision for the timing and process of delivery.