A precise due date is difficult to determine given that it is hard to know the exact day of ovulation. Therefore, the due date calculated by your LMP, last menstrual period, may not be the best estimate. So if your baby hasn't shown up to the party come that "big day" marked on the calendar, don't be too concerned. Between the due date and 42 weeks, the big event WILL happen! Few caregivers will let the pregnancy go beyond 42 weeks, because past this point, the placenta becomes less efficient and begins breaking down, so a reasonably prompt delivery becomes increasingly important in the effort to avoid complications.
Around your due date, your doctor may begin to check on and ensure the well-being of your baby. This information can be beneficial to determine if any measures should be taken to help guide labor along for the safety of you and your baby.
- Cervical Effacement — A woman's cervix will slowly change leading up to labor. It will soften, thin, and then begin dilating. You OB may do a manual exam to determine the status of your cervix. He/she can also determine the general station of the baby.
- Biophysical Profile (BPP) — This is an ultrasound to check on baby's movements, breathing, muscle tone, and amniotic fluid levels. This information can help your doctor determine the baby's well-being and give a better sense of how long a baby can safely stay snuggled inside.
- Non-Stress Test (NST) —
- Stripping Membranes — Your doctor might consider stripping the membranes around your cervix to release prostaglandins that help initiate contractions.
In the meantime, we still suggest that you take it easy and try to avoid any strenuous activities or anxiety during this time. Taking naps, eating small healthy snacks, buying last-minute must-have items, or maybe binge-watching your favorite television show is the best way to pass the time while you wait for contractions to begin.
- American Pregnancy Association - Week 40