Guide to Being 42+ Weeks Pregnant

Some Things to Consider

Doctors induce labor every day. It's not the most natural way to go into labor, but it's considered safe and, in the case of a post-term pregnancy, a smart option.

It can be a bit scary, having labor induced (and typically a huge relief at this point in the pregnancy), if only because you're medically triggering something that "should" happen naturally. Talk about any fears you have with your doctor, and get the details. If you decide to be induced, what will probably happen is one of three things:

  • Sweeping of the membranes -- This is a simple procedure performed when the cervix is already softened and thinned (ready for labor). It involves detaching the amniotic sac from the cervix, which hopefully triggers the release of a natural labor-inducing hormone.
  • Breaking the water -- In this procedure, the caregiver will rupture the amniotic sac, hopefully triggering labor.
  • Pitocin -- This drug is a synthetic form of the labor-inducing hormone oxytocin. It's administered intravenously and typically causes labor to start within hours.

One of the most important things to consider at this point is that the incidence of fetal complications does increase after 42 weeks. Most experts believe that the benefits of inducing labor once you go post-term outweigh any perceived drawbacks of outside intervention.

And, at last, a few things you don't need to think too much about…