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?

The Gallery – Trees

I hope that I am just in time to join Tara’s weekly Gallery. The theme this week of trees made me immediately think of one photo, of one tree. The Tree of Gondor!

Any regular reader of this blog will know that my favourite film is Lord of the Rings. In Middle-earth there is one tree that matters, The Tree of Gondor.

In Spain, between the village of Parcent and the mountain top castle Guadelest there is a tree just like it, my very own Tree of Gondor and this is it.

The Spanish Tree of Gondor

The Tree of Gondor Again

I love in this second photo that my Mum is lurking in the background. It always makes me smile.

Hope I have managed to get my entry in on time to this very popular Gallery theme.

Raindrops, Roses, Whiskers!

Inspired by http://superamazingmum.blogspot.com/2010/11/raindrops-on-roses-and-whiskers-on.html which I read during an early morning breast feed!! I have dug out my list of favourite things that I shared with David when we met in 2007.  At the end I will add on some new ‘raindrops and roses’ that have grown through knowing him.

‘These are a few of my favourite things!’


Andy Goldsworthy

“Andy Goldsworthy is an environmental sculptor in which his use of the natural surroundings create an art form. He explores and experiments with various natural materiel such as leaves, grasses, stones, wood, sand, clay, ice, and snow. The seasons and weather determine the materials and the subject matter of his projects. With no preconceived ideas about what he will create, Goldsworthy relies on what nature will give him.” 

 This is one of my favourite pieces.


Gustav Klimt

Kandinsky – I like abstract art


Lowry – I also like art that tells a story

Jack Vettriano


Lost Gardens of Heligan – Cornwall

Have you ever been here?  It is wonderful.  Has a real sense of magic.


Gyllyngvase Beach, near Falmouth, Cornwall

Kynance Cove, The Lizard, Cornwall

Hidden away from all the world!

The view from the top of Gummers How, near Windermere


On a clear day you can see the sea far far in the distance

Camber Sands, especially when it is empty and when it is winter.


Window seats in old houses.  Where you can curl up with a good book and watch the world go by at the same time.  Watch raindrops as they race down the panes.

Warming up by a roaring open fire – toasting marshmallows


Holidays by the sea

Campfires on the beach

Sleeping under the stars, beneath the night sky


Camping, walking, climbing, cycling and swimming.  Reading and writing, teaching and learning.  Going to the theatre, acting, singing, listening to music. 


I have always been an avid reader.  Starting with Enid Blyton and The Folk of the Faraway Tree, moving on to The Famous Five, The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper, The Hobbit.  I love Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy and other classic literature.  I love The Secret Garden.  I love 1984 by George Orwell and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.  I studied and compared these two books for an extended study as part of my literature A Level and have loved them ever since.  I love The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.  I love Lord of the Flies.  Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger.  I love The Silver Sword by Ian Serrailer, I Am David by Anne Holme and Children of the Oregon Trail.  Books I can read over and over again! I will read just about anything to be fair.


Though I have not written much outside of school and university for a few years now. I have written and enjoy writing stories, poems and plays.  The first play I ever wrote was called The Happy Scarecrow when I was 8 years old.  I directed and performed in it in a school assembly.  My friends and I used to write shows and perform them in my garden all the time when we were younger.  Poetry I wrote was pretty intense as a teenager.  I went on holiday to Scottish highlands with my parents when I was about 15 and write some pretty moody stuff.  I have not felt much like writing for years, until I met you, and now I feel inspired again.  Thank you.  I have had some educational articles published and some of my work from uni, I have also had some poetry published when I was younger.  I will always try to keep a diary. I want to be able to look back on what we have when I am old and remember how wonderful and magical it was to find you (David).


I have always been into the theatre.  First started acting when I was 6.  Started with small parts but always speaking roles and then as I got older I always got the lead roles in school productions and at the various drama clubs I belonged to.  Got some really good reviews for my acting and for the productions that I directed.  The last two Christmases I have produced and directed the school Christmas show (with Debbie) but it is not quite the same thing.

Parts I have played

Loads of pantomimes always either the young female lead (Snow White, Cinderella) or the Prince type person. 

A review from when I was in panto – “Colin was of course played by a girl in true panto tradition.  This was the delectable and talented actress Jennie Nairn who was quite outstanding.  She was all that the lead panto ‘male’ should be.  Striking looks, true stage presence, a magnificent smile and a marvellous set of legs which all made her perfect for the role.”

The Governor’s Wife / Rider in Bertolt Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle

Sara Bond in Wolfsbane

“Pivotal to the whole play was the part of Sara Bond, played by Jennie Nairn.  It is difficult to believe that one so young (20) could have such a mature acting ability.  She had terrific stage presence and built up Sara’s character with subtlety and guile.  Jennie is a handsome girl with a clear and powerful voice and was a joy to watch.  Her powerful scene with Gran was a highlight.  Her domination and mood changes, threats and ridiculing of the old lady had the audience on the edge of their seats.  It was marvellous stuff.  She never hesitated once, such was her command of her part, and at the end I was an ardent fan full of admiration.  There have been some fine perfomances at CATs but Jennie Nairn’s was amongst the best that I have seen.” 

Antigone in Antigone

Mrs Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank

Karin Rust in Albert

Dulcie in The Boyfriend

Audrey in The Little Shop of Horrors

Alice in The Killing of Sister George

Plays I have directed

Doggies by Jean McConnell

Love Stinks by Sue Herscombe and Pete Scott

“Amateur dramatics often gets stuck in a rut.  Give the younger generation a chance to show its talents and this refreshing pair of duologues is the result.  The young CATS were led by the hardworking Jennie Nairn (me) who directed without unnecessary frills,, allowing us to concentrate on the well-written texts … We look forward to more work from this combination of young talent.”

All of the above are my favourite things from 2007, now in 2011 I would add

David, my children and all the wonderful things they do, teaching, directing children’s drama, blogging, taking photographs, Ullswater!!, Devon, Durdle Door, snow days with igloos, animation, The West Wing, Spooks, Twilight, planning our wedding and so much more …

Think I will post more about this soon.

Thank you for the inspiration x