If your baby is only a couple of days late, there is no reason for worry. But if your baby is more than ten or 12 days late, the risk of stillbirth starts getting higher – though it is still low. Doctors are unsure of the reason for this but one thought is that the placenta might not be working as well as it used to.
The first thing you may be offered is a membrane sweep. The membrane sweep makes it more likely that you will go into labour naturally and won’t need to have your labour induced.
The membrane sweep usually happens wherever you normally see your midwife rather than in a hospital. It does not take long. It is a bit like an internal examination. The midwife puts a finger inside your vagina and reaches the cervix. She makes a circular, or sweeping, movement with her fingers. The point of it is to separate the sac surrounding your baby from the cervix.
Doing a sweep helps to release natural hormones that stimulate contractions so it may get labour started. You can have more than one sweep.
There is a 50 percent chance that a sweep will start your labour within 24 hours but if it doesn't you may be offered a date for induction. If you prefer, you can ask to have one or more extra sweeps before making a decision about induction.
A membrane sweep can be uncomfortable for some women and there may be some vaginal bleeding afterwards.
In the diary of a third pregnancy our diarist tries to capture the pain and magic of the birth of her son.
Hypnobirthing is a method of pain management that can be used during labour and birth. It involves using a mixture of visualisation, relaxation and deep breathing techniques.
You might like to consider giving birth at home for a more relaxed experience in familiar surroundings. Find out whether this is the right option for you.
Are you thinking about having a water birth? Find out about the advantages and disadvantages of giving birth in the water, what to wear and what the pain relief options are.
Cutting the cord immediately after the birth has been routine practice for 50-60 years but more recently research is showing that it is not good for the baby.
Your waters can break before you go in to hospital but they are more likely to break during labour, or they can even be broken for you by your midwife to speed up your labour (a process known as artificial rupture of membranes).
Braxton Hicks is the name given to the action when the womb contracts and tightens with your bump becoming hard to touch; it then relaxes again, becoming soft.
Manage your anxieties about giving birth, with some helpful advice from mums who’ve been there.
The ideal position for your baby to be in for labour and birth is head down, their back towards the front of your stomach.
At the end of your pregnancy, you may have some signs that your baby will arrive very soon, even though you may not go into labour for a little while yet.
The moment has arrived. Your contractions are regular and building up, and your baby is really on his or her way…
From contractions to your waters breaking, these are the typical signs that your body is getting ready for labour.
- NICE (2008) Clinical Guideline 70: Induction of labourhttp://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg70/resources/guidance-induction-of-labour-pdf
- NICE (2008) information for public, Induction of labour:http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg70/ifp/chapter/before-you-are-offered-induction
ℹLast reviewed on April 1st, 2015. Next review date April 1st, 2018.