So, your due date has arrived -- and passed (sigh). What's next? Well, your baby, you hope! But if the little peanut's perfectly content to stay where she is past the 40-week point, check out these tips on what to do when you're overdue. No promises, but some of them might get things moving. And as for the rest? They just might save your sanity.
Complain, loudly, to anyone who will listen. Seriously, no one is going to mess with a woman who's 41 weeks pregnant, can't sleep, and has to pee every 20 minutes.
Spend more time with your doctor. Be prepared for your doctor or midwife to start monitoring your progress more closely. "Expect twice-a-week visits if you go past 40 weeks," says Sheryl A. Ross, M.D., in private practice in Santa Monica, California. Keep in mind that different health-care providers have different policies on how far past your due date they'll let you go. And on that note...
Brush up on induction. After 40 weeks, your ob-gyn or midwife will look for signs that your baby is still thriving and has enough fluid in the amniotic sac. During this time, she may strip your membranes on a cervical exam to help bring on labor. Once you hit 42 weeks -- if you're allowed to go that long -- you'll definitely start talking about induction. You'll be given a date to go into the hospital or you'll be given prostaglandins (hormones used to ripen your cervix) to speed things along.
Get a massage. Some Eastern healers believe that certain pressure points on the hands and feet may stimulate the body's natural labor process, although Dr. Ross says this hasn't been proven. Even if you can't get your tired bod to a prenatal massage therapist, asking your partner to give you a rubdown might help your aching back, not to mention your mood.
Become a spice girl. Sadly, there's no magic meal that's guaranteed to bring on labor (although there's that famous maternity salad dressing that some moms swear by). Still, Dr. Ross has had several clients report that things, ahem, got moving after they indulged in a spicy meal. Spicy foods fall into that "can't hurt, might help" category, and we say that once you're more than 40 weeks pregnant, you've earned the right to eat your baby's weight in Mexican food.
Have an orgasm or two. Remember what we said about distraction? The hormone oxytocin surges when you have an orgasm, which can trigger labor in at-term pregnant women. As an added bonus, sperm contains prostaglandins, which can help ripen the cervix. So the more orgasms, the better!
Keep moving. We're not saying that exercising is easy when you're 40 weeks pregnant or more, but try to stay active. Although stretching, doing prenatal yoga, or going for a short walk aren't likely to bring on labor, they're all good for you and your baby. (But don't overdo it: If you do go into labor, you don't want to be tuckered out from the get-go!)
Stay off social media. At this point in your pregnancy, it's acceptable (and maybe even advised) to pretty much avoid anyone and everyone, both in the flesh and online, who isn't your medical practitioner or your partner -- in other words, anyone who might have the poor judgment to ask if you're still pregnant.
Pregnancy Month by Month: Month 9
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