Post Date Delivery
Claudia’s due date was weeks away. A bright red circle outlined the monumental date clearly. Physically, Claudia was over being pregnant. Emotionally, she wasn’t ready to start this next chapter of her life, quite yet. Mentally, Claudia understood how important every hour, every day, every week that her little butter ball stayed baking in her oven, was best for the baby. Was a post date delivery in her horizon?
“But,” Claudia thought to herself, “What happens if this baby NEVER wants to come out? What happens when my due date comes…and then goes? Oh my gosh! What’s the protocol if I should go post date delivery?” Claudia texted her labor doula in an inquisitive panic.
What Does it Mean to be “Post Date Delivery”
Post date means after date. More commonly known as after due date in regards to pregnancy. There are often multiple “estimated” due dates that are given when going through the journey of pregnancy. The last date of menstruation before a missed period, the pregnancy confirmation by a provider based on an initial ultrasound, and an anatomy scan around 20 weeks gestation. Throughout the pregnancy, a fundal measurement is taken to help gauge the growth. There’s no exact date known for when the baby will arrive, only estimates and guesstimates. A post date delivery can bring on emotions of fear, anxiety, and anticipation.
What Risks are Associated with Post-Dated Delivery
For some, there can be elevated risks associated with a pregnancy that goes beyond 40 weeks. If a gestating individual has a history of or is experiencing gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, cholestasis, multiples, or other high-risk constraints, gestating past a safe zone of pregnancy can result in complications. Some risks include a decrease in amniotic fluid in the womb. The amniotic fluid is beneficial for the baby for protection. Meconium (baby’s bowel movement) occurring in utero. Which can be inhaled by the baby and cause respiratory issues. There is an increased chance that an unplanned/unwanted cesarean may be needed. On the serious risks spectrum, stillbirth is the biggest risk for going post date.
How to Stay Occupied while waiting for Labor to Begin
It’s not an easy feat. Keeping one’s mind busy as they patiently, eagerly and anxiously await welcoming a baby into the world. BUT oh is it so important! Expect to be monitored if one is having a hospital delivery. If one is having a homebirth, post-date deliveries are greeted with a more natural approach to the baby’s estimated arrival. Pay attention to the body, and take notice of any discomforts. Beyond that, go.about.the.days! Really. Stressing over “when is it time?!” and “will this baby ever come out?!” will cause more strife than finishing up any last minute runarounds, resting, and relaxing.
Make a list of some of the things you want to do before the baby. It could be as simple as sleeping in, having a pajama day, attending a show or concert. Keeping your mind off of what’s not happening, and opening up the idea that baby WILL be here soon, is a positive spin that may be helpful. Push off calls, texts, and messages that may trigger emotions that will be unfavorable to bring with you into the birthing room. Place a message on your social media, voicemail, email responder, ect that YOU will let the world know when the baby has made their arrival. Inductions are often presented when an individual is close to or post-date in their delivery. One thing is for sure, no one is pregnant forever!
Safe Options for Starting Labor
If an individual is over being pregnant, like o-v-e-r over, there are both medical and non-medical ways to ignite labor. Medically, a provider will offer methods of inductions, such as: membrane sweep, rupturing of the amniotic sac, an intravenous usage of synthetic oxytocin, cytotec, cervidil.
On the natural side of igniting labor for a post date delivery, intercourse is one way to help bring on the baby. Semen contains prostaglandins, and prostaglandins are what help to ripen the cervix. This is what cytotec & cervidil do synthetically. Having an orgasim and stimulation of the nipples can also bring on contractions. Indulging in pineapples is known to kickstart labor due to the enzyme bromelain.
Another wonderful and natural approach to a safe start to labor is acupuncture. The art of inserting long tiny needles into various points on the body. The pressure points that are targeted and triggered by the needle can jumpstart the labor process, as well as ease in pain relief. This practice should only be conducted by a trained professional certified as an acupuncturist.
As one’s estimated due date nears, it’s easy to fall prey to the anxieties that an upcoming birth can bring. Going past one’s due date is not unheard of. In fact, it’s commonly expected for first-time birthers. There is a protocol to determine if going post date is healthy for the baby and the gestational carrier. Many individuals go on 40+ weeks gestation and deliver healthily. Have a conversation with your provider. Discuss options, get answers to your questions, open up the dialogue and communication about the baby’s eviction date with informed consent on next steps…if any!