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Overdue: When There is a Fourth Trimester

You’ve been through 40 weeks of pregnancy, many highs and some lows too. Your ankles are swollen; you can’t wear your rings. Even your maternity clothes don’t really fit very well now.

You don’t leave the house much now except for your weekly doctor appointments, where they tell you once again that you are dilated to one lousy centimeter. After experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions for a few weeks, you thought your uterus would’ve had enough practice by now. When is this going to end?

Very soon. If you reach 40 weeks of pregnancy with no end in sight, many doctors will schedule you for an induction. If not, you’ve probably heard of some things you can do to induce labor yourself. These may or may not work for you, but if it makes you feel better, go for it.

    • Exercise – at this stage, walking is your best bet
    • Have Sex - semen contains prostaglandins which helps to dilate and efface the cervix. Orgasm causes the uterus to contract.
    • Have your Doctor Strip the Membranes
    • Herbs – midwives sometimes recommend Evening Primrose Oil placed directly on the cervix to aid in dilation. Use only as directed from your doctor.
    • Nipple stimulation – nipple stimulation tricks your body into thinking your nursing. Stimulating the nipples releases the oxytocin hormone, which contracts the uterus. This can be done by placing the nipple between the thumb and forefinger and rolling it for 10 to 20 minutes at a time every couple of hours.

Only try these methods under the advice and direction of your doctor or midwife. It’s hard to be patient at this point in your pregnancy, but it will be worth it. Until then, try to distract yourself by working, exercising, cleaning and organizing, taking up a hobby, or talking with friends. You will be holding your baby in your arms sooner than you think.

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Related Articles

Fetal Development: Overdue
Pregnancy: What is “stripping the membranes”?
Pregnancy: Can I be Induced? 

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