So I’m still hanging in there, and I’m guessing you’re none too pleased about it. Most doctors won’t let a pregnancy go past week 42 because there are some potential risks for keeping me baking in your oven for too much longer. Namely, the bigger I get, the less effective the placenta is at being able to nourish and take care of me. Assuming your labor is induced by the end of this week, you might be surprised at how I look when I finally make my grand entrance: because I shed my protective coating a while ago, my skin might be wrinkled, dry, or peeling. Don’t worry though, it’s all temporary – soon enough I’ll be plumped up and as snuggly as can be.
Like I said before, many women that believe they’re overdue really aren’t. To be considered ‘overdue’ means your pregnancy genuinely goes past 42 weeks – something only 2% of women experience. Chances are you’re more likely a victim of an inaccurate due date. Because of the potential health risks for keeping me in your womb, you and your doctor may choose to induce labor this week. If your water hasn’t broken, your doctor may ‘strip the membranes’ by running a finger along your cervix and pulling the membranes along in a circular motion. This softens your cervix and increases the chances of labor within 30 hours, but it can also cause a bit of cramping and bleeding. You may also be given a medication – either a topical one to soften your cervix, or a drug called Pitocin, which stimulates your uterus into starting contractions. The contractions you’d get from Pitocin are typically stronger than a ‘normal’ labor, but if I’m your first baby you won’t even be able to tell the difference.
One of the hardest parts of Week 42 is battling your emotions. Learn to accept your anxiety or disappointment and try and focus on the positives. In fact, I recommend doing something nice for yourself. Make a trip to the salon (with pregnancy-safe treatments), invite a friend over for lunch, or make a post-pregnancy clothing purchase. While you’re at it, take advantage of the extra time and cross off those final to-do’s with a flourish: picking up groceries, prepping some freezer meals, or putting the finishing touches on my nursery. Finally, keep friends and loved ones at bay; consider sending out a daily email or social media update so you can avoid constant inquiries into what’s happening with your uterus.
I guess all that’s left to say is ‘thank you’. By the end of this week I’ll have (likely) entered into the world, your life, and your heart. “We can’t understand when we’re pregnant how profound it is to have a shared history with a younger generation: blood, genes, humor. It means we were actually here, on Earth, for a time – like the Egyptians with their pyramids, only with children.” – Anne Lamott (Writer)