Normally a pregnancy lasts for 38-42 weeks. Some pregnancies will end early (pre-term) and others can occur late (post-term).
The occurrence of delivery before pregnancy due date is known as pre-term pregnancy, a pregnancy where the labor begins before two to three weeks of your pregnancy due date.
Pre-term pregnancy generally occurs due to excessive amniotic fluid or infections that lead the membranes to become weak and break, which in turn result in early uterine contractions.
The occurrence of labor before pregnancy due date is very rare and it is found in two out of every hundred pregnancies.
On the other hand, going beyond your pregnancy due date is common and harmless. The condition where a pregnancy lasts more than 42 weeks is called post-term pregnancy or prolonged pregnancy.
Your pregnancy due date can be estimated easily when you know the date of your last menstrual period. The doctor usually calculates estimated date of delivery (EDD) by adding nine months and seven days to the date of your last menstrual period (LMP).
It is found that only five percent of all estimated pregnancy due dates has come true. Remember that the pregnancy due date will be accurate only if you have regular menstrual periods and your ovulation process is always in the mid of your menstrual cycle.
There is nothing wrong if you pass your pregnancy due date. However, your doctor will start checking the condition of your health as well as your baby more closely (once a week) by observing the heartbeat of the baby through an electronic fetal monitor.
Moreover, he/she performs an ultrasound test to view the amniotic fluid in the uterus around the baby and also observes the movements of the baby in the uterus.
It is always recommended to feel the movements of your baby close to your pregnancy due date because decreased fetal movements indicates for a medical support and you need to consult your doctor immediately.
The doctor also starts observing the condition of the cervix to find whether it is dilated and thinned because a dilated cervix signifies that the baby is ready to come out.
However, the doctor recommends inducing labor when your pregnancy is beyond two weeks of your pregnancy due date. Inducing labor refers to the commencement of labor pains through artificial methods. It is estimated that one out of every five women will get induced.
Some of the reasons for inducing labor are to avoid the serious complications to the baby from your chronic illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, etc and also to avoid fetal distress/stillbirth.
It is also referred when there are no contractions although rupture of the membranes that are surrounding the fetus takes place.
Doctor uses many methods to induce labor, two weeks after pregnancy due date, by inserting a suppository that contain hormones (Pitocin) into the vagina to start uterine contractions. Pitocin is a medicine that is most commonly used by the doctors to induce labor.
Pitocin will be given through vein in the hand or arm. It generally starts working in one to two hours. Finding pregnancy due date helps to prepare for the labor.