The end is in sight. The epic nine month roller coaster journey of pregnancy is finally winding up. The ankles may be swollen and the hormonal balance may be totally out of whack, but at last a sigh of relief: the 40 week mark is approaching.
Things should be kicking into gear, right? The waters should be breaking. The baby should be turning. Action should be around the corner. When is that first contraction going to hit? That ironically painfully blissful warning that labor will start soon, and baby will be out of the belly within just a few (long) hours.
So, why isn’t anything happening? Hello, it’s 40 weeks. That due date has been circled in bright red on the calendar for nine months now. Let’s get things moving, baby!
If nothing is happening at 40 weeks and the baby isn’t coming, obviously the first reaction is to panic. However, this isn’t necessarily the cause of worry you might think. There are many reasons why the baby might not be coming that have nothing to do with medical problems.
Of course, your doctor should be aware that bubs hasn’t made any movement at 40 weeks, but still avoid the panic mode. Here are some reasons why the baby might not be coming at 40 weeks.
15 Just Part Of The Standard 95%
It may feel like the most frustrating and abnormal thing in the world, to have the baby just kicking back and not moving at 40 weeks, but it is actually something that happens in the majority of pregnancies. In fact, only 5% of babies arrive on their actual expected due date. Sure, some of these babies are eager little things and come early, but much of the other 95% of babies come late.
The main reason for this is that the due date is a total estimate. There is nothing exact about it. Sometimes it does happen that doctors estimate an earlier due date, for a range of reasons. This means that, although unintentionally, they give you false hope of an earlier day, when really the baby does need another week or two to finish the growing process. The due is more of a guideline, really!
14 Mom Isn’t In The Best Shape
There are many reasons to stay healthy and fit during pregnancy, and getting the baby out on time is just one of them. The pregnant body has to endure a lot over that nine month journey. Obviously, weight gain is one of the results of pregnancy. This takes a physical toll on the body. Therefore, if mom isn’t in the best shape before getting pregnant and already has some excess weight, it can impact the due date.
Basically, the excess weight can make it harder for the body to get into gear for delivery. Being overweight can delay the dilation of the cervix as the muscles and ligaments around the pelvis can’t stretch as much as they need to. This is just another reason to really watch the weight gain and stay in shape during pregnancy!
13 Common With The First Pregnancy
The first pregnancy is a trial run in many ways, including getting the baby out on time! For a first time pregnancy, on average, moms gives birth at 41 weeks, or 287 days. Typically, first time moms will go into labor two weeks before or after their due date. This is a pretty broad spectrum and a whole lot of waiting time.
Basically, when you find out you’re pregnant, the doctor is going to give you an estimated due date. What they don’t tell you is that this due date is essentially an estimated due month. It’s like, hey, you might have a baby on May 15. Or it might come two weeks before. Or maybe two weeks after. So just be prepared for that entire month of May, yeah. No worries!
12 Mom Can Be Delaying It
Pregnancy is a very scary journey indeed. The things that women have to go through in terms of their body changing and their emotions spiralling out of control can wreak a lot of havoc in many ways. No one blames a pregnant woman for experiencing anxiety throughout the pregnancy journey.
While anxiety is totally normal, it can be quite detrimental in the final stages of pregnancy. As the body prepares to go into labor and give birth, the state of the mind has quite an impact of how things are going to go. If you are experiencing a lot of anxiety about giving birth and are fearful about the pain, it can actually delay labor. If you know you’re an anxious person, it is worth signing up for some pregnancy classes and prenatal yoga to help you relax in preparation for labor.
11 Boys Tend To Be Late
So many women of the world won’t even be surprised by this one. Throughout their life time, boys always need less time to get ready, yet they always manage to be late. This could be, because quite literally it starts in the womb.
There isn’t much scientific evidence to explain this, but boy babies do just tend to be born later than girl babies. Who knows why, really. This isn’t to say that of course a baby boy is going to be born late, or vice versa that girl babies are never, ever past their due date. Nor is it to say that a baby boy born late will always be running late for appointments for the rest of his life!
10 Predictions Can Go Wrong
The human body is scientific and all, but it doesn’t stick to exact mathematical guidelines the way doctors would so often like. This is especially true for estimating a due date. The due date is predicated by doctors based on the menstrual cycle. It is calculated by working out the last day of the last menstrual cycle, counting back three months and adding seven days. This is a whole lot of complicated numbers for a bodily system that works on its own schedule!
Therefore, it is hard to get the predication of the due date entirely accurate. It isn’t the doctor's fault by any means. They really did their best to get the due date right. However, if ovulation didn’t occur on day 14 of your monthly cycle, then the estimate is already off. Well, hey, sometimes numbers do lie!
9 It Might Run In The Family
Family history and genetics have a much bigger say on how things go down in a pregnancy that one might think. It is easy to dismiss what happened to mom and grandma when they were giving birth. That belonged to a lifetime ago, right?
Well, not necessarily. Quite often, trends that happened when your mom and your grandma gave birth will impact on what happens when you give birth. So, if they had late babies who hung around till long after their due date, it might just happen to you. This is information worth gathering when you find out you are pregnant and keeping it in the back of your mind. It might save a lot of stress of anxiety at the 40 week knowing this is just something that happens in the family!
8 IVF Babies Don’t Have This Problem
It may be pretty difficult for doctors to get the due date 100% correct because the menstrual cycle varies so much for women, but when it comes to IVF, things are much more accurate. This is, quite obviously, because the doctor knows the exact date that conception occurred, since it kind of happened in a lab.
It is much easier to record the fertilization period for an IVF baby. For example, if you conceived a baby in the month of January, you still might not know exactly what date the egg was fertilized. You can guess, based on your cycle, which is what doctors also have to do. Therefore, you can predict that the baby will be born in September. However, an IVF who was conceived on January 18 and this fertilization was recorded by a doctor is probably going to be born on September 18. Much easier to track!
7 Baby Is Too Big To Drop Low
Some babies are just made bigger than other babies. In some cases, babies are made too big for mom’s womb. This doesn’t mean they won’t be born healthy and well, it just means that well, they have quite literally outgrown the womb.
Basically, when babies enter labor, it is because they have turned around in the womb. Their head is facing down and they are pushing towards the cervix. Once the head is in the cervix, dilation will start and the vagina will stretch more than it is has ever stretched in its life. But, if the baby is too big, it might not even be able to drop down to the cervix. This is often when an emergency C-section will come into play.
6 Lazy Pregnancy, Lazy Baby
Inactivity during pregnancy isn’t going to do anyone any favors later on. There is a reason why doctors and health professionals stress getting the recommended thirty minutes of exercise each day. Even just light walking around the block will make a huge difference, even in terms of getting the baby out on time.
If you are inactive during pregnancy, it actually does encourage a lazy baby. The baby feels every movement that mom does. Without active exercise and movement, the baby becomes complacent in the womb and doesn’t move around much itself. In terms of coming at the 40 week mark, well, a lazy baby is going to be harder to give into gear. And you don’t want to have to push a lazy baby out without them putting in any of the effort!
5 Baby Can Be Taking After Mom
Whether or not the one giving birth to a new life was late themselves has a say as to whether the baby will be a late arrival. There are some things that moms hope their babies will take after them in, but probably a late due date isn’t one of them!
When you fall pregnant, it is worth finding out, if you can, whether or not you hung around in the womb later than your due date. Chances are, your baby will follow in these lazy footsteps and kick back in the warm and cosy amniotic sac for a bit longer than anticipated. You can’t do much about this one, except hope that the baby doesn’t get any more of your bad habits!
4 Long Monthly Cycles Throw Things Off
So, the average woman has her menstrual that lasts for 28 days. But of course, with anything influenced by hormones and all that jazz, the numbers vary for whatever reasons the body feels like. So, yes, the menstrual cycle does vary for different women.
This makes it really hard for doctors to get the due date right. Doctors have their scientific and mathematical formula to figure out of the estimated due date. But of course, the female body is like, yeah nah, not going to work with those numbers. Typically, ovulation occurs on day 14 of the monthly cycle, but this is really just a guideline. But if this is day 11 or 15, which does happen, then that pregnancy due date is going to be off!
3 The Womb Is Just Too Comfy
Of course, one of the major aims of pregnancy is to make sure the baby has a comfortable, warm, and loving growing space. Every good mom wants to do this, and will just by providing the womb. Yet, sometimes bubs can get too comfortable and cosy inside the womb and simply doesn’t want to leave it.
There is nothing wrong with having an overly hospitable womb, it just makes it harder to evict the baby. A sign of a hospitable womb is if the baby hasn’t dropped at 40 weeks. On the due date, you’ll have a check up with the doctor. If the baby is still just curled up and not turning around, other action needs to be taken. Sometimes, for whatever reason, if the baby doesn’t drop by 42 weeks, a C-section might have to take place to convince the baby that the outside world is worth coming into!
2 Second Pregnancy, Still Running Late
So, chances are, if baby number one was late, baby number two is going to follow in their sibling's footsteps. The second pregnancy can be greatly influenced by the pattern of the first pregnancy. Keeping in mind, that all this can be greatly influenced by genetics and family history, so there is that factor to think about as well.
Now, it is easy to think that if the doctor should be able to get a more accurate estimate of the due date second time round, but it isn’t always the case. The menstrual cycle can still mess with those numbers like it’s no one’s business. Furthermore, if the first pregnancy ran over time, odds are the second one will too. Looks like it’s just the blessing you got when it comes to giving birth!
1 Baby Just Isn’t Ready
The fetal development is amazing. Given what happens over just nine months and how that cluster of cells grows into a fully functioning mini human, it really is a biological miracle. The nine months in the womb are vital for development of limbs and function of organs so that the baby can survive outside the safe amniotic bubble.
Since each baby is completely individual, some babies do just need a little longer in the womb. Sure, some babies are ready to fire their way out of their after just 37 weeks, whereas other babies might just need to stay inside until that 41 week mark. It doesn’t mean there is anything slow or delayed about the baby, it just means it needed those extra few days of incubation to be ready. You’ll get an apology for this from them one day!
Sources: Wholisticbeginnings.com, Edition.cnn.com, Whattoexpect.com, Modernalternativepregnancy.com