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Health & Pregnancy

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What to Do When Baby Is Overdue

Will my doctor induce me if I'm late?

That depends on your original due date, and your baby's health. Your doctor may decide to induce labor after you're one week overdue. Or the doctor may want to wait just a little longer to see if you go into labor on your own.

Meanwhile, your doctor will check you about twice a week to make sure your baby is still doing well. You may have one or more of these tests:

  • Non-stress test, which uses a fetal monitor to track your baby's heart rate
  • Ultrasound to check your baby's growth and movement
  • Measurement of the amniotic fluid
  • Exam of your cervix to see whether it has thinned and widened (dilated) to prepare for labor

If there's a problem with your baby or you still haven't delivered 2 weeks after your due date, your doctor will probably induce labor. Inducing can reduce the chance that you'll need a C-section.

The doctor will give you a medicine called oxytocin. This medicine will make your uterus contract to begin the labor process. You may need a cervical ripening agent prior to the administering of the oxytocin. During labor, the delivery team will take special precautions -- especially if your baby passed his or her first bowel movement or your amniotic fluid is low.

Don't sweat an overdue baby

It's normal to be anxious about your baby's arrival, but try to relax. As long as your doctor says your baby is healthy, it's OK to wait.

Enjoy this little bit of extra time. You'll appreciate it soon enough, when you're changing diapers and feeding your baby round the clock!

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on July 09, 2014
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