Is There a Safe Way to Jumpstart Labor?

About 5% of pregnancies are post-term. This means that the pregnancy has reached or gone longer than 42 weeks. This can be frustrating and uncomfortable for many women. However, it doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong your baby. In fact, a common reason for a post-term pregnancy is that the due date wasn’t calculated correctly.

But post-term pregnancies can be risky for the baby. The placenta may not work as well and there is less amniotic fluid. Plus, your baby may grow so large that you need to deliver by cesarean section (C-section).

In most cases, healthcare providers will suggest inducing labor by 41 to 42 weeks of pregnancy. This can be done with medicines. These ripen or soften and dilate the cervix. This helps start contractions. 

You may hear about ways to jumpstart your labor on your own. These methods may include herbs, hot baths, breast stimulation, or sexual intercourse. But there isn’t much evidence that these tricks work. Some may even be dangerous.

If you go past your due date, the best thing you can do is share your concerns with your healthcare provider.

Online Medical Reviewer: Bowers, Nancy, RN, BSN, MPHFoley, Maryann, RN, BSN

Date Last Reviewed: 4/12/2016

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