It seems quite normal for some to have their pregnancy run past it due date. But until when is it still safe to wait?
Gordon Smith of the University of Cambridge and his colleagues reviewed data of 80,000 first-time mums in England. They found that those aged 35 or older who were induced at 40 weeks had only 0.08 per cent death on babies while those who chose to wait until natural birthing or were induced at 41 to 42 weeks increased the number to 0.26 per cent. That is, for every 562 women who chose to be induced in time (40 weeks), one stillbirth was avoided. But, why?
Well, by 40 weeks, your placenta is actually starting to deteriorate which means that the longer a pregnancy continues, the more your placenta is having a hard time supporting the baby inside. This can ultimately lead to the unexpected death of the baby in the womb as it gets bigger and bigger, says Smith.
Some people use medicines to trigger birth as it open the cervix and bring on contractions. However, this can put one in unnecessary pain and have longer labor time. So, UK is actually currently recommending induction to women who have gone overdue by one to two weeks. And that's regardless of age.
Smith says pros and cons of induction should be laid out to women and in that way, we offer them a choice. “The absolute risk [of waiting] is small. For some women it’s acceptable in the context of prioritising a natural approach. For others it’s unacceptable.”
Nonetheless, with regards to the study's findings, Smith says younger women might still want to consider an earlier induction. “It’s self-evident that if you deliver the baby at 40 weeks, it cannot be stillborn at 41 weeks.”
So get that beautiful baby out in time!
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