Overdue babies in pregnancy

Toddler and bump

What’s the first thing people ask when you tell them you’re expecting a baby? That’s right; when are you due?! Your due date is a fundamental part of your pregnancy journey, providing you with something to work towards as you prepare to give birth.

Working out your due date isn’t an exact science, and your midwife will most likely calculate it from the first date of your last period. Always keep in mind that your due date isn’t set in stone. There’s no guarantee that your baby will make an appearance on that particular day.

If you find yourself eager to meet your tiny tot, try not to worry - having an overdue baby is extremely common. In fact, just under one in five babies are born after their due date1.

Be sure to check in regularly with your midwife. They’ll be able to put your mind at rest, allowing you to put your feet up! In the meantime, we’ve put together a handy guide to overdue pregnancy, which is full of useful overdue pregnancy tips. 

Did you know?
Only 4% of babies are born on their due date2

Overdue pregnancy tips - how to keep calm and go with the flow

It doesn’t matter how many times people tell you that your baby will come when they’re ready, there’ll probably come a point when you feel as though enough is enough. The embracing of the pregnancy journey will give way to the even bigger excitement of meeting your little one for the first time.

If you find yourself getting a little bored and impatient (and if, you’re lucky, with some energy to spare), here are our top overdue pregnancy tips to help you pass the time.

  • Go for a stroll. Whether you’re visiting friends locally or just taking in your surroundings, the fresh air will keep you feeling tip top. If we could make a suggestion though; don’t go too far and always keep your phone at the ready!
  • Try cooking up a storm to get your freezer fully stocked with the foods you love. Once your baby’s here, your chances of turning into Nigella Lawson will be few and far between. Use the time you have wisely now, to make sure you can eat well when you’ll need to the most.
  • We know we said to keep your phone handy, but if requests from friends and family for hourly updates start to become a problem, politely tell them not to call you - you’ll call them.
  • Spend some time with your partner. You may not have the opportunity to have some quality one-on-one time for a little while. 
  • If you’ve got other children, spend some time with them, too. Adding another person to the family unit impacts everyone. Make some memories they can feel happy about before their sibling arrives.
  • An overdue pregnancy is a perfect opportunity for a spring clean. Declutter, get rid of the things you don’t need. You’ll welcome both the space and the organisation in the midst of looking after your new baby.
  • Dig out your comfies! The last thing you need to be worrying about when you’ve just had a baby is your wardrobe. Make sure you’ve got plenty of comfy tops and bottoms to see you through the late nights and cluster feeds (and the box set marathons!)

Of course, if all of this is sounding too much like hard work, then simply take this time to relax. Put your feet up, put on your favourite film and save your energy. 

Waiting for your baby to arrive never felt so good.

How overdue can a baby be?

Believe it or not, an overdue pregnancy is one which is a full two weeks over your due date3. If you can, take this time to sit back, relax and enjoy some me-time. Your baby will be keeping you busy enough over the next few years and beyond!

If you haven’t gone into labour by 41 weeks, your midwife is likely to offer you a membrane sweep and talk to you about the possibility of an induction. However, if your brain’s working overtime thinking of ways to get things moving, read our top tips for how to bring on labour.

Why do babies go overdue?
The simple answer is that no one really knows! Some say you’re more likely to experience an overdue pregnancy with your first baby, if you’re carrying a boy, or if you’re older4.

How to get overdue babies out

Sometimes, babies need a helping hand to enter into the world. If your pregnancy goes beyond 41 weeks, your midwife and doctor are likely to start thinking of alternative ways to bring on labour.

How much do overdue babies develop in pregnancy?

If your baby is still snug after 40 weeks of pregnancy, the likelihood is that they’ll be born happy and healthy any day now. Most overdue babies are born with no problem at 42 weeks and beyond. If you think that you might be in labour, at any point, contact your midwife to confirm whether this is the case.

You might be wondering just what it is they’re doing in there all this time. The answer is, continuing to grow. Whilst your baby will be fully developed by this point, chances are they’re continuing to get bigger.

You’ll be offered extra appointments to keep an eye on the growth of your little one and if it’s felt that there’s a risk of your baby getting too big, or there are other known risks, then an induction is likely to be planned.

When you baby might need a gentle nudge

In the vast majority of cases, your baby taking their own sweet time to bounce their way into the world is nothing to worry about. Some babies simply know how to make an entrance!

However, there may come a time when your doctor or midwife decide that your baby needs a gentle nudge. And that’s because of the potential risks to the health of you and/or your baby5. For example:

  • There may be an increased likelihood of a C Section or an assisted birth due to your baby being larger than average.
  • If there’s a reduction in the amount of amniotic fluid surrounding your baby in the womb. In some cases this can cause problems with your baby’s breathing.
  • An increased risk of meconium in your baby’s lungs6.
  • If you have high blood pressure or another health condition that could put your health, or that of your little one, at risk.

If you find yourself worrying about your baby being overdue, rest assured that they’re likely just savouring every last moment of being this close to you. However, always speak to your midwife or GP if you have any worries or questions.

How much weight does a baby gain when it goes overdue?

Your baby gains the most weight in the final stages of pregnancy. In fact, by the third trimester, building fat is pretty much the only job left to do for a baby in the womb (nice work if you can get it…).

Provided that your placenta is still in tip top condition, your baby is likely to continue gaining weight until labour starts. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how much weight your baby will gain, as each individual baby is different. If your midwife or doctor feels that your baby is getting too big, then it will be time to start thinking about an induction and the possibility of a C section.

Still have questions?

Whether your baby is due to join you in the winter, spring, summer or fall, if you’ve got any questions about your overdue pregnancy then all you have to do is call. Our team of baby experts are available to offer non judgemental advice and support when you need it.

You can also find out more about labour and birth here.

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