Towards the end of pregnancy, most women have been reduced to begging for the baby to show up already. Most new mothers expect the pregnancy to last for 38 weeks; after all, nine months are 38 weeks, right? Wrong. A normal pregnancy goes for 40 weeks and at this time the pregnancy is said to be mature. The variation is that babies do not come until they are good and ready.
There are those babies who come as early as 37 weeks while others come as late as 42 weeks and even beyond. Babies born in this time frame are fully developed and can survive without needing to be incubated. There are mothers who go into labor as early as the second trimester and the miracle here is that these babies survive and grow up to lead healthy and successful lives.
There are babies who bond with their mothers quite easily and those who take a while to find the right footing. Some babies decide to take this bonding a notch higher and stay sheltered in their mother’s baby bump beyond 42 weeks unless they are forcefully evicted. Even though an overdue baby may not have any medical conditions, the chances of having a baby with respiratory issues, cerebral palsy and other increase the longer the baby continues to stay in there. The best decision a mother can make when her baby is overdue is to get medical intervention to get him out.
20 Smarter Than Other Babies
When a woman is pregnant, what she worries about is that her baby may be premature; a situation that can be quite devastating, not only emotionally but also financially. When the baby goes past the 38th week, we rejoice to know that the baby is now fully developed and we start praying for his exit.
Studies now show that moms who want a kid with a high IQ need to fashion their prayers to “just one week longer!.” According to DNA India, “Researchers found that babies born at late term, 41 weeks' gestation are slightly more likely to be classified as gifted and have higher standardized test scores than babies born at full term, or at 40 weeks' gestation.”
19 Behavioral Problems Like ADHD
Babies who are born late-term tend to have problems paying attention, either in the home or in school. For those who are afraid of terrible twos, having an overdue baby seems like the baby is on a constant terrible two mode. They have other strengths to compensate for this, so it’s not all bad.
According to NHS, “Babies who spend too long in the womb (defined as at or after 42 weeks of pregnancy) are twice as likely to suffer behavioral problems in early childhood. Parents of late-born children were also more likely to report symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in their children.”
18 Greater Risk of Physical Disability
When a baby has gone past the 42nd week, mothers are advised to go for a medical intervention to have the baby. Even though most mothers are bent on having a vaginal birth and waiting for the baby to come when he is ready, there is no shame in having a medical intervention and forcing the baby out, especially if it seems like he is in no hurry.
Studies show that overdue babies come with a 2.1 percent chance of being born with a disability such as speech pathology, orthopedic condition, and they may even have a sensory disorder. Overdue babies in extreme cases are either hospitalized or homebound.
17 Increased Risk of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy is a devastating condition that often times is caused by things that happened when the baby was developing in the womb and it now emerges that even delay in delivery is also a cause for the condition. This is because overdue babies suffer from oxygen deprivation due to prolonged respiratory distress. This oxygen deprivation leads to hampered developmental function.
According to Science Daily, “While preterm birth is a known risk factor for cerebral palsy, an examination of data for infants born at term or later finds that compared with delivery at 40 weeks, birth at 37 or 38 weeks or at 42 weeks or later was associated with an increased risk of cerebral palsy.”
16 Risk of Diabetes, Especially if Mom Had Gestational Diabetes
Pregnant mothers are advised to ensure that they gain weight sensibly. Mothers are advised not to eat for two, rather ensure that they eat enough calories to support her and the healthy growth of the baby. Mothers are also advised to ensure that they exercise in order to stay fit and reduce excessive weight gain. Overweight mothers increase their risk of gaining gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and are more likely to have over-term babies.
According to Tommy’s, “Sometimes babies of mothers with gestational diabetes develop low blood sugar shortly after birth because their own insulin production is high. If left untreated, hypoglycemia can cause damage to the baby’s brain that can lead to developmental delay.”
15 A Lot Larger than Premature Babies
If the baby has been in the womb for a lot longer, it is not surprising that he will be born weighing a lot more than babies born earlier. The baby will also look bigger as compared to the younger ones.
Mothers whose babies are overdue should go for a C-section as the baby will be too big for a vaginal birth. When a baby has stayed too long in the womb, room in the womb is not enough for him to swim around as he may be too big. This should be cause for concern as it may lead to health issues.
14 Statistically, Most Likely a Baby Boy
For moms who have decided they do not want to find out the gender of the baby, preferring to get a surprise on the birthday, the best indicator of what the surprise will be is an overdue baby. Mothers whose pregnancies are overdue will most probably have a baby boy.
According to Romper, “Parents noted that one study found that a baby boy is more likely to go past his due date than a girl. So if you're pregnant with a little prince, it could mean you'll be waiting for his arrival after your due date.”
13 Possible Coneheads
We have all seen babies whose heads look more like a cone. There are theories that mothers bandy around to the effect that mothers molded the newborn babies head to the shape at birth. While shaping the head will do no harm, cone shapes are mostly seen in babies who are born overdue.
The reason for this is that the baby is a lot larger than normal and if the mother attempts a vaginal birth, chances are the baby will require medical assistance like the use of forceps or suction to get the baby out. In the process, the baby’s head is likely to take on a cone shape.
12 Baby’s Mom was Most Likely Born Late Too
Babies most often take after their parents and overdue babies are no exception. If mom preferred her mom's womb to the outside world then the probability of her baby choosing to stay put in her womb are high. Research now shows that babies who are born overdue are mostly from mothers who were also born overdue.
There is also evidence that points to the fact that first-time mothers also tend to have overdue babies; a situation that is replicated in their second pregnancy as well. This would point to the fact that predisposition, as well as genetics, contributes to late babies.
11 Increased Risk of not meeting the baby
The most devastating thing that can happen to any mother is to carry her baby for nine months and not be able to hold her in her arms alive. Overdue babies have an increased risk of being born as stillbirths. This should be reason enough to have any mother whose baby has gone overdue to do her level best to ensure that the baby is born without delays.
According to Very Well Family, “While the risk of stillbirth is increased in pregnancies that go beyond 42 weeks, it is still relatively small, at 4 to 7 [fatalities] per 1000 deliveries, as opposed to 2 to 3 [fatalities] per 1000 deliveries in women who deliver between 37 and 42 weeks.”
10 Full Head Of Hair
Most babies are born bald, but on those rare occasions that we see a baby with a full head of hair, the sight is well worth it. While it is not unusual to see a baby who comes on the expected due date rocking a full head of locks, overdue babies are most likely to be born with a full head of hair.
Having stayed too long in the oven, the baby had enough time to grow her hair and even rock them before her exit. When other babies are making do with a hair band to show they are girls, this girl will leave no doubt as to her gender.
9 Wrinkles and Creases
For those of us who have had an overdue baby, we all know the sight of the baby freaked us out at first. Most overdue babies look like an old person with wrinkles and creases all over their body. The reason for this is because they are missing the vernix that is used for insulation, plus the reaction of amniotic fluid that starts to irritate the baby’s skin.
According to Health Line, “The more vernix a baby has on its skin at birth, the less they may peel. Premature babies have more vernix, so these newborns often peel less than a baby born at or after 40 weeks.”
8 Full-Powered Lungs
Mothers who have had an elective C-section know that before that procedure is carried out, more often done when the pregnancy is at 38 weeks, the doctor will give the mother an injection to mature the lungs of the baby. This is because a premature baby does not have fully developed lungs a situation that could become a problem in later years.
This problem does not exist for babies who are born overdue. By the time the baby is born, the child’s lungs have had enough time to mature and then some. With overdue babies, that first cry will be loud enough to wake the deepest sleepers.
7 Many Muscles
When the baby is born, it becomes the responsibility of the mother to ensure that her baby develops body muscles. From her spine to her legs, newborn babies come with no muscle tone and are not even able to hold their heads up. Babies who are born overdue tend to have a lot more muscle tone than their counterparts who are born earlier or on time.
The muscles in a baby develop when he is out of the womb, but the same happens when the baby overstays in the womb. An overdue baby will appear to meet his milestones faster than a preemie or even a baby born on his rightful due date.
6 Extra Exams
When babies are born, the doctor has to do a few tests to see whether he is healthy. For a child who is born on time, the main exam is the baby’s cry. If a baby makes that loud wail at birth, he has already passed the first test with flying colors.
When it comes to an overdue baby, the tests go a notch higher as the doctors try to understand why the baby came late and whether his late entrance into the world has resulted in any form of disability or breathing problems. Mothers whose babies come on time leave the hospital earlier than those with an overdue baby.
5 Murky Waters
When the baby is in the womb, his hair, toe, and fingernails grow and shed on and off, after which the baby ingests them. When he is in the womb, even after feasting on all that hair, the baby does not go number two. He usually waits until he is born to do so. The baby's first poop is called meconium and it resembles a dark tar.
This bowel movement should happen during the first or second day of the baby's entrance into the world. When a baby has gone longer in the womb, chances of him having the bowel movement in the womb increases. This is dangerous for the baby since it will mix with the amniotic fluid that he partly relies on for his nourishment.
4 Postmaturity Syndrome
A pregnancy that goes beyond 42 weeks is a rare occurrence, but for the babies who manage to last in the womb this long, this situation is known as postmaturity syndrome. When a woman has been pregnant for long, the placenta breaks down and it starts to lose function,
According to Wikipedia, postmaturity syndrome develops in about 20 percent of human pregnancies continuing past the expected dates. Features of the postmaturity syndrome include oligohydramnios, meconium aspiration, macrosomia and fetal problems such as dry peeling skin, overgrown nails, abundant scalp hair, visible creases on palms and soles, minimal fat deposition and skin color become green or yellow due to meconium staining.”
3 Risk of Respiratory Problems and Infections
Premature babies are born with respiratory problems due to the fact that their lungs are not fully developed. However, this phenomenon is not exclusive to preemies as it now appears that overdue babies also suffer from respiratory issues. Breathing problems for overdue babies are brought about by birth complications such as ingestion of meconium or coming into contact with contamination in the birth canal or the womb.
This contamination is what will lead to respiratory issues. The longer the infant stays in the womb, the more he is at risk of getting reduced levels of oxygen to the brain coupled with the possibility of viral infections.
2 Size Matters
We all love chubby babies because let's face it, they are a lot cuter and cuddlier than babies who are just bones. Babies who have been cushioned in the womb longer tend to have a lot more meat on their bones and that number on the weighing scale will be a lot higher than that of a baby born on term or preterm.
This depends of course on whether or not you are observing the right diet as there is no guarantee of the baby being chubby unless this is done. This is, however, a double-edged sword, as overheating may result in a baby who has issues with his weight even in later years.
1 Assisted Birth
We all say that babies come when they are good and ready and that they should not be forced to exit. This rule though is not carved in stone and when the baby appears to be in no hurry to meet his mother, other interventions are sometimes necessary.
Mothers whose babies are overdue are more likely to wind up on the operating table. The longer the baby takes to come into the world, the more anxious the doctors get and this is enhanced by ultrasounds that show the size of the baby as it grows larger. Bigger babies mean that the doctors will be reluctant to allow a vaginal birth as the size of the baby may cause obstruction.