Not really. A common pregnancy myth states that first
time mothers are most likely to have postdate pregnancy;
studies however indicate otherwise. The only time
doctors can make a fair enough prediction is if you
were overdue in your previous pregnancy(s). Your baby
can still surprise you by arriving early despite your
history with postdate pregnancy.
What is the difference
between being postdate and being overdue?
Ten percent of all babies don't arrive until at least
2 weeks past their due date; these are described as
postdate. Overdue pregnancy is one where baby arrives
a little after its due date.
At what point does
being postdate become a risk to the developing baby?
If the pregnancy continues for too long, there is
reason to be worried. Postdate babies are at increased
risk of becoming too large for safe delivery or of
experiencing fetal post maturity syndrome which is
essentially a situation where the placenta fails to
function properly as it used to. As the weeks increase,
the risk rises. In some situations the due date is
out of whack, causing babies to be classified as postdate
wrongly. Most doctors are reluctant to let a pregnancy
drag on and usually would recommend induction after
week 41 (increase the chances of healthy babies and
decrease the chances of C-section). If you decide
against this, your doctor would want to monitor baby
closely by performing some tests.
• A nonstress test (NST): the baby's heart rate
is monitored via external monitoring equipment for
up to 40 minutes
• An amniotic fluid index (AFI): ultrasound
is used to assess the quantity of amniotic fluid
• A biophysical profile: an NST and a detailed
ultrasound that assesses baby's breathing movements,
body movements, fetal tone and the quantity of amniotic
• A contraction stress test: the baby's response
to uterine contractions is monitored
Based on the findings of these test you and your doctor
will decide if you want to continue with the waiting
game or proceed with induction. Either way your baby
is going to be with you very soon.