For 40 weeks, you've been telling your mom, yourself, your spouse, and every random stranger who asked when your due date is. Now the big day is here - and no baby!
Because your belly button is not a turkey timer that pops out when the baby is ready. Your due date is an estimate - in fact, a dating ultrasound at 8 weeks has a 5 day margin of error! Additionally, ACOG defines normal pregnancy as lasting anywhere from 38 to 42 weeks, which means that due date you were given? Only a guess, and not a very good one. In fact, only approximately 5% of babies are born on their due dates!
None of that is going to stop EVERYONE from asking you if you've had the baby yet every time you answer the phone - as if you would have forgotten to tell your mother in law the big news.
So what do you do when it's been 40 weeks and you are STILL pregnant. You have a few options...
Nothing. I promise you, *eventually* that baby will come out on its own. Rest, prepare your home, make a solid plan for both your birth and the postpartum period, and enjoy a little extra time before your world is turned upside down. Go to the movies with your partner, get a pedicure, and change your outgoing voicemail to let people know you promise to alert them when baby arrives.
Natural Induction. If you are not really the sit-and-wait type, maybe you are looking for some more proactive approaches. Unfortunately, if baby is not ready, most of these will not be very effective, and you may just end up tiring yourself out, but for those who Just. Can't. Wait. here are a few things to try: *NOTE: Before trying any of these methods, discuss them with your care provider.
Medical Induction. Some care providers recommend induction for medical reasons at or near the 40 week mark. Some interventions to induce include the use of cervical softeners and/or catheters to stimulate effacement and dilation, artificial rupture of membranes, and pitocin. Induction does carry risks, including an increased chance of a cesarean section, so every pregnancy should be carefully evaluated before deciding if you are a good candidate.