How long can a baby stay in the womb after the due date?
Most healthcare providers consider a pregnancy to be “post-term” or “post-dates” when it goes beyond 42 weeks gestation, which is two weeks past the due date.
While it is common for pregnancies to last up to 40 weeks, some women may go into labor naturally anytime between 37 and 42 weeks.
However, if a pregnancy goes beyond 42 weeks, the risk of complications for both the mother and baby may increase.
Some of the potential risks of a post-term pregnancy include:
- The placenta may start to deteriorate, reducing the oxygen and nutrient supply to the baby
- The amniotic fluid levels may decrease, putting the baby at risk of compression or cord prolapse
- The baby may grow too large to be delivered vaginally, increasing the risk of instrumental delivery or C-section
- The risk of stillbirth may increase
For these reasons, healthcare providers may recommend inducing labor or scheduling a C-section for women who are post-term. The specific approach will depend on various factors, including the health of the mother and baby, the progress of the pregnancy, and any other medical considerations.
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