You may have been waiting over the past few weeks in anticipation of your bouncing little baby. As your due date drew near, you might have been wild with excitement. Then your due date came and then it went right by. In the meantime, your little one is still safely tucked in your womb, not seeming to have any intention of leaving. You can’t blame her, really, as it’s very comfortable in there.
But this whole thing may have been something that you have been, for the most part, unprepared for. After all, shouldn’t you be cuddling your baby and looking at her face to face by now? In addition, will going past your due date result in a painful induction or an unwanted C-section? It can frankly be quite unnerving to think about all these things.
So what does a distressed mom past her due date do? Here are fifteen things you might want to consider during your extended wait.
15 Don’t Panic
First of all, don’t panic! Many women go past the expected 40-week mark but end up giving birth in a week or two. Your due date is simply a general guideline as to when you might be ready for childbirth. It is not, however, set in stone. Babies tend to arrive around one week earlier or later than this date, so being a few days past it should be no problem.
While you are, of course, considering the risks of having a post-term baby, do keep in mind that there’s still a big chance that you will not need induction nor a C-section. It’s something you may have to consider, as we’ll discuss later, but it’s hardly the only outcome!
14 Check with Your Doctor
Your doctor or midwife will schedule an appointment at around this time. Make sure that you check their recommendations and plans for going forward. They will also be able to assess you to check how far post-term is safe for you and your baby.
The main risk for post-term babies in otherwise normal pregnancies is when the placenta ages and might not be able to provide the necessary nutrients and oxygen to the baby. Your doctor will probably run a few tests that will help determine placental maturity.
13 Revisit Your Birth Plan
While you’re waiting, now might be a good time to revisit your birth plan, now taking a possible post-term birth into consideration. Ideally, you should do this side-by-side or after a doctor’s consultation that has determined any risks or possibilities for you in the next week or so. Make sure to run it through with your partner again so you both have a better idea of what to expect.
12 Take More Walks
When you’re waiting for something is always a great time for a walk. This all-through-pregnancy exercise is especially handy when you’re past your due date! Walking is a great exercise to prepare you for your coming childbirth. What’s more, the rocking motion of your hips during walking can help bring your little one down by gravity, helping her lodge into your birth canal. This could help you trigger that labor you’re looking forward to!
11 Do the Groceries
Since you’re expecting your baby in about a week or two at most, it’s best to begin preparing for the period after childbirth. Understandably, you might expect yourself to be super weak during this time. To make sure you need to do the minimum amount of work after childbirth, do the groceries and stock up on all your home and baby supplies! This is a great time to make a list and test it twice.
One thing that might help is precooking large batches of freezable meals so that you and your partner can enjoy home-cooked goodness while you’re fussing over your new baby!
10 Clean Up
Speaking of preparation, you and your partner are also not likely to want to be house cleaning after childbirth. You don’t want to have to come home to a messy house and be just too tired to fix it up.
You and your partner can delegate cleaning tasks over the next few days. But this should be no problem for you if your nesting instinct kicks in, making you just have the irresistible urge to keep every single thing in order.
9 Go on a Date
For first-time parents, this is the perfect opportunity to enjoy a little bit of just-the-two-of-you time together. In a few days, you’ll have a very anticipated and well-loved third wheel to attend to. However, the arrival of your little one will mean that your daily time-together routine might have to change.
Even parents who have done it all before know that there will be changes after childbirth. You may therefore want to just get as much time together as possible. If you’re a single mom, now is a great time to indulge and take lots of time for yourself!
Just because you’re almost going to give birth doesn’t give you a pass from prenatal exercises! You’ll still want to make sure all your birthing muscles are nice and strong in preparation for the big day. Exercises will help you heal faster and better after it all.
While you’ll want to continue on your Kegel exercises, the best ones to focus on at this point are your squats. These exercises will help loosen up your hip joints, hopefully encouraging your little one to start her descent down your birth canal.
7 Get Some Rest
The big day is nearly upon you and, if you’re not feeling any of the above, just make sure to get a lot of rest. After all, you’ll need all of the energy you can get for all that pushing! After you’ve done your exercises or a nice morning walk, sit back and read a good book or put on your favorite TV series. If you’ve lost sleep, take advantage of your maternity leave and just relax.
6 Talk to a Doula
If you haven’t gotten yourself a doula yet, now might be a great time to do so. A doula consultation is usually free. When you pick one out, she can even run you through some of the things you might want to expect with a post-term birth!
Getting a doula will come in handy on the big day as she can be a confident and objective guide through the birthing process. She’s likely seen plenty of childbirths before and she’ll give you only the best advice for moving forward!
5 Have Lots of...
Getting lots of intercourse before childbirth isn’t just because you’re going to get a bit less of it afterwards! It’s also because orgasm is believed to trigger uterine contractions that may finally bring on your baby. It’s not quite clear how effective this is, but it sure is fun!
One precaution you should take: if your bag of water breaks, don’t have sex to bring on contractions! A broken bag means that the opening to your birth canal is now open. Any sort of vaginal penetration could introduce harmful germs straight up to your baby.
4 Areola Stimulation
One other method that might help bring about uterine contractions is nipple stimulation. This is because nipple stimulation triggers the release of the hormone oxytocin, which stimulates the let-down reflex, but also uterine contractions.
For best results, touch your nipples in a motion that mimics a sucking baby. If you’re not sure how that’s done, recruit your partner to help out!
3 Talk to Your Baby
One thing you might find yourself doing during the waiting process is, well, just talking to your little one! Your little conversation could range from “Helloooo in there!” to “So, when did you plan on coming out?”
Making conversation with her, albeit a mostly one-sided one, is a great way to anticipate her coming out in to this world. In addition, she might even respond to your voice, kicking and bumping around here and there.
2 Pack Your Hospital Bag
If you haven’t packed up yet, do that ASAP. Presumably, you’ve already done all the expecting-the-baby grocery shopping by now, so it should be easy to get your childbirth bag all ready at this point. Keep everything you, your partner and your baby might need at the hospital or birthing center in handy bags. Take them with you everywhere, if possible. You never know when your slightly overdue little baby will wake up and realize that she needs to get out and see her parents!
1 Consider the Possibility of Induction
Finally, you should already be considering the possibility that you might be induced. This is not exactly the most savory of thoughts, especially if you had wanted an all-natural childbirth. However, if your situation warrants it, you will then have to consider it in your plans. Ask your doctor and your doula about the procedure, as well as the benefits and risks.
Another possibility is a C-section. Although most post-term moms are able to have a vaginal birth with only an induction, it’s still best to be prepared for this as well.
Overall, waiting for post-term baby can be stressful, especially considering the perhaps unprepared-for possibilities that it opens up to you. However, despite this, there’s still plenty of things to do to better help you prepare for your big leap into motherhood!