40 weeks and more: how to cope with an overdue pregnancy

forty weeks and more pregnancy bumps

From the very first moment that double pink line appeared on my pregnancy test, I had worked out my 'due date' and was counting off the weeks until I was going to meet my baby. It fell on the 11th (my lucky number) and a Sunday which is my favourite day – perfect!

It turns out that your ‘due date’ is only to give you a general idea of when your baby will be born. In fact, very few actually arrive on that date you’ve been fixated on for nine long months! What I didn't count on was an overdue pregnancy.

40+ weeks and still no baby

At about one week late, the phone started ringing and the messages began landing in my inbox to ask if the baby is here yet? Seriously, did people really think we’d have a baby and not tell anyone!

When you’ve explained... again, that there is still no sign of baby, be prepared to chat with well-meaning friends and relatives. “You must be so uncomfortable.” No kidding! “It seems like you’ve been pregnant forever!” kidding! And my personal favourite (mostly because I didn’t like not being in control) “Baby will come when they're ready.” I know this - but I’m ready now!

overdue pregnancy: how to bring on labour... naturally

Once you're over 40 weeks and officially have an overdue pregnancy it seems everyone it seems has a suggestion to ‘hurry things along’ - as well-meaning and ‘enjoyable’ as these can be. These will inevitably include going for a curry, nipple stimulation, eating pineapple, having sex and going for a walk – not all at the same time! By all means, give any suggestions a try (as long as they’re safe for you and baby of course), but be prepared that they probably won’t work. You’re more likely to end up with a tummy ache from a mixture of pineapple, curry and raspberry leaf tea than a baby.

how do you cope being overdue?

So how do you cope with the frustrations and possible discomfort of an overdue pregnancy? How do you cope with being on maternity leave with no baby to fill your days... yet?

There are only so many times you can re-fold those tiny sleepsuits, so here are a few suggestions:

Relax: Honestly, make the most of putting your feet up and watching a film right to the end without a nappy change or feeding break.
Exercise: Don’t take up a new sport, but gentle exercise, especially walking, pregnancy yoga and swimming are great. Don’t wear yourself out though, you’ll need all that energy for labour.
Meet friends for lunch: A leisurely lunch with friends can really lift your mood. Indulge in some adult conversation before you are consumed by talk of baby poo!
Prepare and freeze meals: This is a great idea and you’ll be grateful for that frozen lasagne in the first few weeks with baby.
Go out: Make the most of your last days of going out without arranging a babysitter. A great excuse to treat yourselves to a special meal!
Sleep: If you’re finding it difficult to sleep through the night, rest and nap through the day.
Book a pre-natal massage: It will relax those tense muscles, ease sore spots, improve circulation and just make you feel good! (pre-natal massages can be risky in certain situations. Check with your midwife should you have any concerns).
Wear your best knickers: If this isn’t a sure-fire way to encourage your waters to break, they’ll make you feel good. It may be the last time you wear them for a while – the ‘big’ knickers will be at the front of your underwear drawer very soon!

coping with an overdue pregnancy

relax – baby will come

It’s not known exactly what starts off labour or why some babies are born later than others, but if you and your baby are healthy, relax. If your baby hasn’t made an appearance by 41 weeks, your midwife will probably offer you a ‘membrane sweep’ which can trigger spontaneous labour. Most hospitals follow national guidelines offering induction of labour before 42 weeks.

My baby finally arrived on September 24th - a Saturday, and 24 is not my lucky number! Exactly 13 days late but so worth the wait! My labour started naturally, which I’m attributing to the mint choc chip ice cream I ate at midnight the day before. So if you’re waiting for your overdue baby to arrive, relax and eat some ice cream... It’s worth a try!


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