Congratulations on making it to the 42-week mark of your pregnancy. By this time, you're probably experiencing a mix of excitement, anticipation, and perhaps a touch of impatience. It's completely normal to feel this way! Let's look at what to expect...
Your 42-Week Pregnancy Appointment: At 42 weeks, your doctor or midwife will closely monitor you and your baby's well-being. During this appointment, they will conduct various assessments to ensure everything is progressing smoothly. These assessments typically include:
- Non-Stress Test (NST): This test evaluates your baby's heart rate patterns in response to their movements. It helps determine if your baby is receiving enough oxygen and is generally a painless procedure.
- Biophysical Profile (BPP): The BPP is an ultrasound-based assessment that evaluates your baby's overall health. It involves checking their breathing movements, muscle tone, amniotic fluid levels, body movements, and their reaction to stimulation.
Understanding the Biophysical Profile: The Biophysical Profile provides valuable insights into your baby's well-being. It assigns a score based on the individual components mentioned above, with each component scored as either 0 or 2. A score of 8 to 10 is considered reassuring, while a lower score may indicate a need for further action.
Why Induction Might Be Necessary: When a pregnancy exceeds the 42-week mark, there is an increased risk of certain complications, such as reduced oxygen supply to the baby and placental dysfunction. In such cases, inducing labor becomes necessary to ensure the well-being of both you and your little one. The decision to induce labor is made after carefully weighing the risks and benefits in consultation with your healthcare provider.
Natural Ways to Encourage Labor:
If you're hoping to encourage labor naturally, there are some methods you can try. We first recommend the Miles Circuit. These are activities to do during the latter days of labor to help with optimal fetal and pelvic positioning. Other methods include gentle exercises, such as walking or prenatal yoga, nipple stimulation, acupressure or acupuncture, prenatal massage, consuming certain herbs like raspberry leaf tea, and practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing and visualization. It's encouraged to consult with your healthcare provider before attempting any of these methods. Spinning babies can help wiggle baby into optimal positioning which is sometimes what your body is waiting for!
Remember, these natural methods may or may not be effective for everyone. It's crucial to discuss any labor-inducing techniques with your healthcare provider to ensure they are safe for you and your baby.
Be sure to stay in touch with your provider about any changes or concerns you may have.
Author: Liz Oldham
Elizabeth is an experienced birth doula and childbirth educator serving the DC metro area. She is passionate about family centered birthing, believing that families will always remember the support and communication surrounding their births. She currently lives in Virginia with her Husband 4 children and crazy dog.