40 Weeks, No Baby, Now What?
40 weeks and no baby, what do you do now?
Once we announce that we are pregnant with a little mini me, arguably the most common question might be ‘when are you due??’ As 40 weeks comes and goes, you’ll have a flurry of people inquiring if the baby is here yet, and you may be wondering yourself what’s taking so long!
I was one of these women, my ‘due date’ came and went with absolutely zero change, I was not effaced or dilated at all. Our Doctors or Midwives give us a due date, but it is simply an estimate and nothing more. It is said that for 90 out of 100 women who are ‘overdue’, contractions will start on their own within two weeks of the guess date. The hardest part is the anticipation! There is no set answer as to why certain women can’t seem to encourage their little one out, as other women might have to focus on keeping them in. While we are all women with the same anatomy, we are completely different individuals, and should never compare our pregnancy to someone else’s.
RELATED: IT’S OFFICIAL, PREGNANCY AGES YOU
By 40 weeks I definitely felt ready to meet my little girl, pregnancy was kind to me and so I didn’t mind being pregnant. However, the anticipation of knowing that at any minute of any day- or night- my whole world would completely change, made me restless. I researched and attempted EVERY SINGLE trick in the book, nothing made me feel any different at all, and some just had me going to the bathroom A LOT (don’t worry, we’ll get to that). These common suggestions did not work for me, as I stopped trying after 41 weeks, which maybe is the key for some women. Although, I do know that many of these suggestions have worked for so many women, and that is fabulous! Eventually my daughter arrived at 41 weeks and 4 days along. Do not feel disheartened, you are not alone, and you will not be ‘forever pregnant’. Here are some tricks that have been said to help some women, and I’m here to show you that you’re not a lone wolf if nothing is working for you either:
- Exercise: Helps by raising your heart rate and encouraging your baby downwards, which triggers your cervix to ripen. I think we’ve all seen those awesome videos of super pregnant women trying to dance their baby out, there is a method to their madness! When I was a nanny, the mother went into labour a couple of hours after a night out dancing! However, all of my hiking and squats were insufficient in encouraging my baby out.
- Pineapple: Fresh pineapples contain the enzyme bromelain, which encourages the cervix to ripen, although there is limited information as to whether it really helps induce labour. I must’ve eaten a tree full in the days surrounding my guess date. All I got out of it was a sore prickly mouth… have you tried eating a whole pineapple in a sitting? I don’t suggest it.
- Spicy Food: While there is no real evidence to support this, some say that by stimulating the bowels (which are against the uterus), you in-turn stimulate the uterus. Annnnnddd here we are at reason #1 I was in the bathroom alot. I do not like spicy food at all, i’m really sensitive to it, but my determination took over and I got some really hot Thai. Sheesh. Bad idea.
- Acupressure/Acupuncture: Can increase blood flow to the uterus, influence your hormones and stimulate uterine contractions. I remember the nights of forcing my husband to push as hard as he could on certain spots on my feet and shoulders, the poor guy nearly breaking his thumbs off. I was told that acupuncture could put me into labor within 24hrs… that was at 40w2d.
- Sex & Nipple Stimulation: Semen is a natural source of prostaglandins, which is a key hormone for ripening the cervix. Intercourse also contracts the uterus, helping to encourage labour. As much as my husband was happy to oblige, I had one goal in mind, and that was for us to be interrupted by my gushing waters. But this is one method that most women swear by!
- Red Raspberry Leaf Tea: This tea is great for strengthening your uterus, and is rumoured to encourage a shorter labour. I started drinking this tea during my third trimester, I was steeping like 4 teabags in a tiny mug and letting it sit for nearly 20 minutes.
- Evening Primrose Oil: Is meant to help soften your cervix, so it’s great to help avoid tearing, even if it doesn’t put you into labour. I took this both orally and vaginally multiple times a day, if taking vaginally; you poke a hole in the capsule, insert it inside you and quickly go lay down in bed so the oil doesn’t leak out!
- Castor Oil: It is generally used as a laxative, therefore can be dehydrating and in some cases can also cause your unborn baby to poop, so use with caution. This is what kept me in the bathroom most of the time, I tried castor oil for a few days and eventually gave up on it.
Where The Professionals Come In:
- Membrane Sweep: Done by your Doctor or Midwife, the goal is for them to reach way up your vagina and separate the membranes of the amniotic sac from the cervix. It’s not comfortable, and didn’t do anything for me any of the 3 times they tried. It was kind of painful, awkward and just felt really unnatural. Women have a 50% chance of going into labour, within 24hrs of the ‘stretch and sweep’.
- Non-Stress Test: Now, this isn’t to induce labour, but this test can be important for keeping an eye on your precious cargo. As you go further along in pregnancy, your baby becomes larger and the amniotic fluid becomes lesser. It’s important to take a good look and make sure it is safe for your baby to continue growing inside you, and that your placenta is still delivering all of the wonderful nutrients. You will go to the hospital for this and get hooked up to a couple of monitors. All you have to do is sit there and relax, it doesn’t often take more than an hour.
- Medical Induction: Such as prostaglandins or oxytocin, which can be swallowed, inserted into your cervix, or received through an iv drip. Hormones are what relax the cervix and prepare the body for labour, therefore artificial hormones are used in the case of induction.
With all of this in mind, it’s good to talk to your partner and talk to your healthcare professional, but most importantly listen to your body. After 40 weeks, each day that passes feels like an Eternity. Remember that there is nothing wrong with you, as tiring as it can be, it is totally normal and you are not the only one! Before you know it your tiny little babe will be earthside and the days spent walking, eating pineapple and having your partner jab your feet, will all be a distant memory. 40 weeks and no baby? Don’t get disheartened, you will get to meet your little one soon.
Tags: 40 weeks and still no baby, C-Section, child birth, giving birth, how to induce labor, induction, pregnancy, what to do when I'm overdue, when will baby be born