Bump Watch: What To Do If You Go Overdue!

One of the topics we covered on our antenatal retreat with expert midwife Nikki Khan is what to do if your pregnancy goes past 40 weeks.

This is particularly relevant for me at the moment as I await the late arrival of friends’ and family members’ babies.

A full term of pregnancy is actually anything between 38 and 42 weeks though our due date is always in the 40th week. It is therefore not unreasonable that people get frustrated if the day comes and goes and there is no baby to be found.

The due date that we are given is only an estimate worked out by our dates or from a dating scan. In reality just five percent of babies are born on their actual due date. As long as all is well with you and the baby you will be left for nature to take its course but will be closely monitored.

As you approach the 41 to 42 week mark, your midwife or doctor may decide to start the process of inducing labour. This involves kick-starting labour through intervention or with drugs.

The first step would be to try a membrane sweep. The midwife or doctor will try to separate the membranes around your baby from your cervix. This encourages the release of the hormones that help to trigger labour. If the sweep is successful labour usually starts within 48 hours.

Nikki Khan Top Tip
A clenched fist under each buttock can make internal examinations easier and less painful. Also gives midwfie easier access for sweep or trying to break waters while maximising comfort for the mummy to be in an awkward uncomfortable procedure. A tens machine can also be used to ease examinations and sweeps.

If a sweep is not successful then you will be offered gel or pessaries to medically stimulate the cervix.

Once the cervix begins to soften then a midwife might try to break your waters to bring labour on.

There is no guarantees with any of these procedures and it may be that a caesarean section becomes the best and safest course of action available for you and your baby.

Before things get that far though there are certain things that you can do if you do go overdue.

Things People Try

Raspberry leaf tea can kick start labour and should only be drunk from week 37 to avoid a premature birth.

It is thought that a hot curry will induce labour but what it actually does is cause diarrhoea which in turn sparks uterine contractions. It has to be a very hot curry!

It is also claimed that having sexual intercourse will bring on labour. In fact for this method to have even a slight chance of working you would need to have sex about 8 times to get the right amount of hormone from the sperm to stimulate the cervix and bring on a birth.

Gentle exercise and walking may help to bring on labour as being upright and moving around may encourage the baby to move down in the pelvis. This would also help you to relax which could help your body prepare for labour.

You can also have acupuncture to start contractions and labour.

Other ideas for what to do if you are overdue can be found in the book My Pregnancy. It is a great read and full of ideas for trying to get your baby out. It also goes on to give good advice on what to during the birth and once your baby is here. Definitely worth a look if you still have some time.

The ideas I have stated here were shared as part of the Nikki Khan Antenatal Weekend that we went on this weekend. It was fabulous and I learned so much that I know is going to help me through this pregnancy, labour and birth. You can find out more about the antenatal weekend here and I will be writing a full review of the weekend here at Edspire over the next couple of days.

I will also be writing a review of the book My Pregnancy which we were given as part of a very generous goody bag on the course.

Did you go overdue? What did you do? What tips would you give me to share with my patiently waiting friends?

26 Weeks Today and still so much to do!

25 Week Bump

Today I am 26 weeks pregnant. I am feeling fat and breathless if I do too much. I am finding it hard to stay comfortable on the sofa or in bed. I am getting tired easily. Though I think all … Continue reading 

Bump Watch: Writing a Birth Plan

This week I have started thinking about the kind of labour and birth I want to have. I was thinking about it so much last night that I barely slept a wink.

I looked at the NHS Online Birth Plan but there was too much I did not know to complete it fully. I needed a site that would guide me better through my options. Having never attended antenatal classes or expereinced a third timester the best childbirth education I have had so far is my hazy memories of giving birth to Esther and William and watching One Born Every Minute!

Today I have been looking at birth plan information at www.babycentre.co.uk and I have found this to be much more detailed.

They advise naming your birth partner as point one of your birth plan. My birth partner will be my husband, David. I cannot imagine going through something so important and so intimate with anybody else. If labour is long and David needs a break then I would be happy for Michele, my best friend, to come and keep me company for a while in the early stages. If she is available and willing. I haven’t asked her yet!

I would want David to be with me through any and all procedures. We have no secrets and he has already seen things and done things for me that no husband ever should. I want him with me every step of the way.

The next thing to think about is positions for labour. In an ideal world I would like to remain active. I would like to be able to move around as I know that if I am lying down I will focus more on the pain. I like the idea of being up on all fours when I cannot be moving around. But I guess what will be will be. I delivered Esther and William in theatre, on my back. If this was my first pregnancy and everything was straightforward I would have loved a water birth, but for me that is not meant to be.

My first choice for pain relief will be gas and air as I had with Esther and William. I would like to try and give birth using only this if at all possible. If not then I would like to use whatever pain relief is least harmful to the baby and at this point I have no idea what that is. From what I have read it seems all drugs pass through the placenta to some degree. I am looking forward to learning more about my options with the NCT.

After the birth David is not fussed about cutting the cord when I ask him now but I would like him to be given the option at the time as he may feel differently then. We are 99% certain that Matilda is a girl, should that turn out not to be the case then I would like David to be the one to tell me. I would like our daughter (or son!) to be delivered straight onto my tummy and I want to breastfeed them if I can.

So that is my birth plan so far. I bet the reality will be nothing like the birth I imagine but I hopefully have a few weeks yet to enjoy the dream, or experience the nightmare.

My main question that I cannot find an answer to is will labour me so much more painful at full term than at 27 weeks? That is what I really want to know.

Bump Watch: We Have Made It! 24 Weeks and Viable!

24 Week Bump

Reaching 24 weeks is an important milestone for any Mummy but for a Mummy who gave birth to her last babies at 27 week plus 3 it is a very special occasion. If Matilda May is born now they have … Continue reading 

World Prematurity Awareness Day


Today is World Prematurity Awareness Day, a day to stop and think about those babies born too soon. I write about prematurity regularly on this blog and work hard to support Bliss and the fabulous work they do supporting premature … Continue reading 

Blog Gems – Breastfeeding Premature Twins

Tandem Twin Feeds!

In January 2010 my fiancé, David, and I started our fifth cycle of ICSI in the hope of getting pregnant and having a baby of our own. We were starting to wonder if IVF was ever going to work for … Continue reading 

We Wanna Be Together!!

This weekend the Rewind asks us to think back to August and share a post from then.

August 2010 saw me spend every day in NICU/SCBU with Esther and William.

The post I have chosen to share reflects on a very special day when the twins were reunited for the first time outside of the womb.

Please read REUNITED

I Am What I Am!

Mummy Beadzoid has tagged me and asked me to ‘Fill in the Blanks’ and explain a little about who I am.

So here goes …

I am a worrier.  I have always been a worrier for as long as I can remember.  And the thing that I worry about most is what other people think about me.  Pathetic, I know.  I worry about what people think about what I wear, what I do and how I do things.  I worry about what kind of teacher I am, what kind of parent I am, what kind of blogger I am!  I let these worries impact on what I do.  It leads to a lot of loneliness actually and to an inability to really be myself in front of others.  Very few people know the real me, I do not let people close.  A fear of ridicule, a fear of rejection.  I can come across as rude to some people, I know, but it is not rudeness, it is shyness.  People find this hard to believe as I am confident on a stage or when teaching a group of children but among a group of my peers this confidence leaves me.  Deserts me and lets me down.  This worry is quite a handicap for me.  It leads to irrational thinking and over reactions to silly situations.  Sometimes it is like an out of body experience as I emotionally react to a situation I am telling myself to stop.  But I can’t! This worry causes me stress but I cannot stop it.  I should be able to but I can’t.  I am a worrier and it is something about myself that I hate.

The bravest thing I have ever done is have abdominal surgery whilst 26 weeks pregnant with my twins.  Although this is not something that I chose to do, I had no choice, I have never been so scared in all my life.  David and I had tried for so long to get pregnant, we had come so far in this twin pregnancy and we were about to lose everything because of me, because of my body.  I was letting him down.  I was letting his parents down, my parents.  I was letting down our children, before they had even been born.  From being admitted to hospital to being cut open took 3 days.  3 days of tests and assessments, pain killers, blood, vomit and terror.  David was far braver than me, he did not know if any of us were going to survive, no one seemed to know what was wrong or what should be done.  I told him that if it was a choice between me and the babies then I wanted to be the one to die.  It was awful but worse for David as my recollection of those days is blurred and I know for him the memories are still very clear.  After the operation I was in hospital for 7 days recovering.  I was heavily pregnant.  My bump had been cut from top to bottom to allow the surgeon to save my twisted bowel without disturbing the babies.  I could not eat, I was on oxygen.  David had to help me in a way a husband should never have to help his wife, let alone fiance to fiancee.  I was so swollen with water retention I could barely sit, stand or walk.  I had to fight on to get fit and well for the babies.  When I was discharged on the 21st July I did not expect to go to hospital again until October but in spite of my best efforts and those of all the doctors the babies were born on the 24th July 2010 at 27 weeks plus 3.  I am so sorry babies that I was not able to keep you safe inside me for longer x I will always feel sad about that.

I feel prettiest when I forget to worry about what other people think. 

Something that keeps me awake at night is my son, William.  Bless him. Born at 27 weeks, now 7 months, there is nothing my little man likes more than Mummy’s milk.  Every 2 – 3 hours right around the clock.  I always complain about this but actually I love feeding him and will miss it so much when this special time is gone.  But it does mean a severe and prolonged lack of sleep. 

My favourite meal is fajitas.  David and I started eating fajitas regulalrly when we started IVF as a good way of eating lots of vegetables.  When I make fajitas they are filled to bursting with veg – peppers, onions, mushrooms, chillies, tomatoes, spinach.  We have lots of different varieties of mushroom and they are really filling and flavoursome.  We started IVF in January 2009 and we still eat fajitas at least once a week even now.  Yum – Yum!

The way to my heart is to surprise me.  Tell me something nice, make me laugh, write me a story, cook me a meal.  Be thoughtful and kind and spontaneous.  Treat me in some way, make me smile.  Show that you have been thinking about me enough to plan a surprise no matter how small.  Do this and my heart will be yours x

I would like to be thinner.  Since starting IVF and being pregnant I have gained over a stone in weight.  It is coming off slowly but I still have a way to go before our wedding in September.  I am struggling to lose weight and tone my stomach because of the scars from surgery.  I will keep working at it and hope that by September I will be somewhere near to where I used to be in tone and weight.  If not, well, I have two beautiful babies to show for it, and at the end of the day, I am alive.

This is me, I am what I am.

Thank you Mummy Beadzoid for the questions x