At a glance:
- What your overdue baby will look like
- Being induced
- Your rights and choices
What’s happening to your baby
Babies that are overdue start to lose fat from all over their body so when they arrive they look a little wrinkled. Don’t worry, once he starts feeding regularly he’ll soon start putting the weight back on.
They sometimes have long fingernails and toenails. Plus, some babies produce meconium (his first poo) in the womb, so his skin may have a slight green tinge, but this only really happens if you go over two weeks past your due date. Once again, this will all disappear a few days after the birth.
What’s happening to you
If you’ve had membrane sweeps and your contractions have still not started, your midwife may recommend that you are induced to start labour off.
Firstly she will insert a pessary or gel which contains prostaglandins (hormones that cause your cervix to ripen and can start labour) into your vagina.
Your midwife may also try breaking your waters – it’s known as artificial rupture of membranes (ARM). It’s not usually offered unless a sweep hasn’t worked and is more often used to speed up labour if it’s not progressing. Your midwife or doctor will insert an amnihook, which is a bit like a crochet needle, to break the amniotic sac.
Finally, there’s Syntocinon – a synthetic form of the hormone oxytocin. Your waters need to have broken before you can be given Syntocinon. You’ll be hooked up to an intravenous drip so the hormone can go straight into your bloodstream.
It can cause strong contractions so you’ll need to be monitored and you may want to consider pain relief such as an epidural to ease the pain.
Rights and choices
You have the right to decline an induction if you wish. Your obstetrician will chat to you about any risks that exist for you and your baby, but they should also respect your wishes.
The main risk is that your placenta can start to become less efficient at supplying your baby with all the food and nutrients and oxygen needed to grow properly. That’s why you will be monitored regularly when you’re overdue with scans and heartbeat checks.
Remember, your due date can be inaccurate as it’s worked out as 280 days after the first day of your last period. However, if your menstrual cycle is normally longer than 28 days, the true date can be different.
Ultimately, remember the doctors and midwives are all looking out for the wellbeing of you and your baby – who you are going to meet very soon!
Image courtesy of Your Pregnancy Day-By-Day by Professor Stuart Campbell, published by Carroll & Brown, £9.99