• IF Survivor

    AMEN! I’ve tried to get a few friends to read the ACOG pamphlet to no avail. You know “My doctor says…” I’m just the crazy who birthed at home at 43 wks 3 days so what do I know? ;o)

  • Adrienne

    Thank you! I cringe when I hear people say their babies were “late” without any inkling as to what that really means. There is a wonderful article in Midwifery Today Issue #63 by Gail Hart called “Induction and Circular Logic”. Ms. Hart turns a critical eye toward studies of perinatal morbidity and mortality plotted against weeks of gestation. The literature shows risks don’t rise significantly until 43 weeks.

    Then there’s the inaccuracy of Naegele’s Rule with which to contend. Oh, Mittendorf? I wish all the little OB wheels were made to factor in parity, menstrual cycle length, and race rather than treating every woman like a statistical average.

  • Mindy

    AMEN!! My sweet boy was born two weeks ago, and was somewhere btwn 42 & 43 weeks, depending on which EDD you use. The birth was wonderful, ecstatic, and my recovery has been much faster than it was with his sister. While he had dry, peeling skin (which is beautifully soft by now), he is amazing, holding his head up, cooing, making deep eye contact. I truly believe that, if your body can handle it, having baby “cook” longer means they will be more ready to deal with the outside world when they are born.

  • Tasha

    I’m 40 weeks 1 day today and I totally needed this article! I’m in that place where I’m just not sure how much more my body can take and I’m starting to worry about the baby. Reading this reminded me that my little one and I are just a different kind of normal. Thanks for sharing!

  • Wendy

    What a wonderful article! Thank you for putting it all right there, together in black and white! If you only did this just for me, I’d thank you… but it’s now easily accessed for all! Thank you! Thank you!!!

  • Heather

    Thank you! None of my live babies were born by 40 weeks. My first was 41.5, second was 42, third was 42.3 and fourth was almost 42 weeks. People find is so strange and concerning. I just think it’s the way they are meant to be.

  • Alet-Marie

    Thank you for such useful info! My 2nd baby was born at home at exactly 42 wks. He weighed in at 5.72kg and was a much easier birth and completely pain free compared with my 41wk 3.8kg baby. We put his birth story on You Tube under ‘Our Supernatural Homebirth’ or just google ‘5.72kg baby’.

  • Ruth

    Just wanted to add that I believe EDD actually stands for Estimated Date of Delivery. Even less specific and sounds less set in stone that Estimated Due Date. 🙂

    I went to 43 with my baby, trusted my instincts and would have changed anything about my choices made in my birth!

  • Angela

    Yeah for this article! I had all of my kids at 42 and 43 weeks (2 of them) and twins at 40.3 weeks (yes, they were actually 2 weeks early…for me…thank goodness!!). Very happy, healthy children. What reason is there (besides emergency medical) would someone want to make their baby come before it’s ready? Baby will let mom know when baby is ready (labor will start). Be happy, put your feet up and know that you are doing best for baby. 🙂

  • Kathryn

    Although all of my 6 babies were early (ranging from 3 days to 4 weeks), I’m glad that we now have something from ACOG making it possible to go past 40 weeks. I mean, without their say-so, women around the globe just might explode at 40+1. *smh*

  • Tiffany

    My son was induced at 41+5 and born via c-section at 41+6. I was so scared of something happening to him and made the decision to be induced and abandoned our plans for a homebirth. I wonder all the time what would have happened if I just would have given him a few more days or another week. I felt alot of guilt over his birth. Now that I am pregnant with #2 I am planning to go as long as this baby needs. I’m no longer afraid of going past 42 or even 43 weeks.

      • Sandy Hess

        Agree. I tell the women in my classes that each will learn and grow with each pregnancy and birth. By the time they are pregnant for the third time, they will tell their care provider at their initial appointment, “This is how I have MY babies”. 🙂

  • Nicole

    Tiffany, I know how you feel about being induced. I went through the same thing with my second. I planned a CNM birth, but ended up showing complications during my ultrasound at 41w2d and was induced that night. I was terrified that I had made the wrong decision, especially when the pain became excruciating and I was not progressing past 2cm. It has taken me a while to accept my decision, but you will find that you did the right thing. When you put yourself in the mindset you had at the time you will remember why you chose what you did. You will remember that you made an informed decision in hopes that it was what was best for your unborn child. That is the best that any of us can do. Best of luck this time around and trust in your body, whatever it’s telling you.

  • Shara

    My first was 40+3 and I used to always say he was “late”…makes me cringe now to think that I was so uninformed!! My second was 41+3 and I was determined to stand my ground. At 24 weeks the hospital OB booked me in to see the anesthetist as I probably would need a c-section due to my first being 9p 1oz! I made a complaint to the hospital and was told I was not the only one to complain about him. At 39 weeks the hospital midwife said that “next appointment we’ll book your induction” …. At 40 weeks I took my husband with me for solidarity and prayed in the waiting room for a good midwife. When she asked what we wanted to do about induction, I said I wanted to wait for him to come on his own, she said she thought that was a fantastic idea!! (prayer answered!)…labour started spontaneously at 5am after a week of tightening and false starts and when we arrived at the hospital 2 hours later the midwife on duty was very rude and said my contractions were erratic and that I should have stayed home (thankfully she went off shift 10 minutes later), our 10p 8oz son was born at 8:45am, 1 hour and 45 minutes after arriving at hospital. I came home 7 hours later and am so glad I listened to ME, however I think I will try and skip the hospital all together the next time! although the homebirth situation in Australia is not looking good right now:(

  • ylsamaj

    As a Doula, I am frequently discussing this subject with friends and clients, and I always watch them become impatient and frustrated at 40 weeks 1 day, often calling their doctors to ask if they can be induced. It is sad and unfortunate how many women “watch the clock” when it comes to their bodies and babies. Most women in my family have approached 42 weeks with their deliveries so I assumed I would as well when I had children. During my pregnancy I anticipated being an example of how to “handle” going past 40 weeks and politely dismissing suggestions of induction, and was so confident about it that I went shopping a few hours out of town while my husband was refinishing our hard wood floors at week 39, day 6, but lo and behold I went in to spontaneous labor that evening and delivered my baby 40 weeks to the hour from my LMP. Ha! Of course, only me… 😉

  • Jen

    My darling daughter was due on Sept. 18th and born Oct. 23rd (no, there was NOT a mistake in the due date). She was/is perfectly healthy and is now expecting HER first child. It was a fight every step of the way to let mother nature take her course, but in the end, we avoided induction and all of the trappings that go with it. The docs indicated that the plancenta was aged, but the only indication that she was overdue was her extra long fingernails. My second child was also a little slower than average with her coming out party (2 weeks past due date), but again, was born perfectly healthy & happy.

  • Rae

    My mom’s ‘due’ date with me was in Mid-March, and I was born in mid-February…and she went into spontanious labor with me…her water broke just as she got back into bed from a midnight bathroom break, lol. I ended up being a c/s, apparently I kept turning summersaults in the belly, and had the cord around my neck a few times.

    Why on earth didn’t this sink in during my pregnancy with my daughter? I was all set to go ‘past dates’ cause I was a FTM, and thats what most FTM’s do, right? (yes, I was given multiple dates, phht) I had her ‘early’…right on time for her though she picked it 😀 – my (multiple) due dates were August 1, 2, and 5th. My midwife picked the 5th – cause FTM and the ‘late’ date. The pregnancy crisis center (where I had my initial test) and the health clinic picked the other two.

    She was born the 28th of July, a whopping 8lbs even, 20.5 inches long, at 8:02am…(on a side note, I think 8 is going to be her lucky number, heh). According to her body measurements and the look of her body, my midwife placed her at 38 weeks, which means ALL of those supposed ‘due’ dates were WAY off.

    My m

    Maybe it runs in families…some women might be from families who birth earlier than others, and some from families that birth later.

    • Rae

      Whoops! somehow I posted that without being done, lol.

      My midwife always cautioned me on the whole due date scam. So I always refered to it as my ‘definatly done’ date…its the date at which my baby could survive in the outside world…the date at which I could stop worrying about her being a preemie, basically. If we made it to that date, I could have her at anytime after that point and her lung development, etc, would be fine.

      I had some internal worry about going too early, since my own mother did with both me and my brother – she went into labor with me at 7 months, and had me 3 to 4 weeks ‘early’ and went into labor with my brother at 5 months, 7 months, and had him at 8 months.

      I was completely set to go past my date, like wasnt even worried about it at all, lol…usually I guess its the other way around.

  • Liene

    The pressure from the dr.s to have a C-section started at about 36 weeks, due to weight estimates of 12 lbs. We finally caved at 42 weeks and three days, induced, didn’t progress, had a Cesarean, and have regretted it ever since. Note: our son was in fact born 9lbs, only 1/3 of his estimated weight at 40 weeks! Bottom line, trust your instincts. I am so happy I’m having baby #2 abroad, it will be hard for me to trust an American obgyn ever again.

  • Jennifer

    Amd could it be that there is a slight risk of low fluid and other small issues post date because so many more of the mothers are being monitored? 🙂

  • Liz Johnson

    Hi, I am trying to access the ACOG pamphlet but it seems I need to be a member of ACOG or at least have a log-in/password. I’d LOVE to get my hands on this pamphlet. Is there another way I can access it or can someone send it to me via email? Thank you!!

  • amelia

    I was born 11 days after my mom’s EDD.

    My daughter was born at 42+4 by my LMP and 41 weeks by ultrasound dating. She came on her own time and was 9lbs. With my next baby I plan on using 42 weeks as my “due date” that I tell friends and family since that seems more realistic for us anyway.

  • Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    My babies were all born when they decided to come on their own.

    My second baby was born 10 days early, because I was not that healthy and the placenta couldn’t nourish him anymore. It was deteriorating and not in great shape after birth. Clearly, he had to come out. There’s no way he would have stayed in and been at risk; my body knew better. He is 2 years old and healthy now.

    My third was actually born ON his due date. I never in a million years thought that would happen (earlier in the pregnancy I thought for sure I’d carry to 42 weeks), but it did. About two days before he was born, I realized he was extremely large and my body couldn’t carry him any longer. I couldn’t even pee anymore, I seriously had to try really hard because he was so big and sitting on my bladder. I knew it was time. And obviously it was! He was a full 1.5 lbs. bigger than my first two babies (8 lbs. 11 oz.), and my body really could not have carried him any longer. BUT my body knew that…and he was born exactly when he was supposed to be! I don’t believe babies get “too big” unless there is an underlying health condition. His placenta was excellent and he was (and is) very strong and advanced, developmentally. He is almost 12 weeks now.

    Babies come WHEN THEY ARE READY.

    You didn’t mention in this article, which I think is also really important, but a lot of women don’t even have their dates right. Their cycles are irregular, they weren’t expecting to be pregnant, etc. It’s rare for women to know their exact conception date. That can throw things off by a week or two, which is a big deal. Not to mention the hormonal cascade that prepares babies for birth, which doesn’t happen if you are impatient and induce….

    (Of course, women might know their conception dates if they were more familiar with their bodies but that’s another issue entirely. I happen to know all of mine.)

    • Laura

      I guess I must be “rare” then, because I know the exact conception dates of almost all my pregnancies. For women to be familiar with their bodies and how they work, I totally recommend the book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Weschler. I learned so much about myself from that book. I even turn down the “dating scan” that doctors are so eager to give… and give them an exasperated look. I know they don’t believe me, but I can tell them the EXACT day it happened…. maybe it’s just TMI for them. LOL

  • Lena

    Thank you for this reassuring article. I am 40 weeks 3 days along today & was starting to get nervous. My midwife wants me to have an ultrasound if I make it to 41 weeks, but I think I will wait until I am at least 42 weeks. I am afraid of the ultrasound finding something unusual & then me having to abandon my home water VBAC plan.

    • Mrs. BWF

      Having an u/s is not always a bad thing. Checking on baby is always OK. Being informed of what is a reason to not have a home water VBAC and what is not a reason to abandon it is good!

  • Dehlia

    I am 37 weeks 2d and soo ready. But this article did help me to see that my baby boy will come on his time. With my first I was at 40 weeks 2d, and all natural, and w second, I was induced at 41 weeks 1d. I had an ultrasound and she failed movement. I don’t regret the induction but I do regret being misinformed about how long is “safe” to be pregnant. With this baby I’m trying to be patient, but it’s August and I’m hot! Lol

  • jenn

    I tried to access the links for information, but they said item not found. Anyone else have these problems? I would really love to have the information & pamphlet.

  • Jen

    My ob’s policy is to induce at 42 weeks. I was researching to see if I should try to push her on that or not. I have *no* reason to believe that I will go post dates (my daughter was induced early due to pre-e, but my son came two days before his due date), but as this is my third and final pregnancy I want to do my best to have a completely intervention free experience this time. Does anyone have any research regarding a risk of going past 42 weeks?

  • Laurel

    Thank you for this! My daughter was 41+1, though I asked our midwife to adjust the EDD as I knew she’d be late, so she may have been “later” depending on which due date you used.
    My sister’s four boys were all about 2wks late, except for the one in which his due date was estimated by using her average cycle length – much longer than 28 days. He was born within a day of his EDD – listening to your body helps!
    My mother carried me 44+1 days, which is incredible! She was checked daily at the end. Unfortunately the placenta had shattered and had to be removed by hand after the birth – incredibly painful and potentially dangerous. She went into labor just in time and we were both just fine though I weighed a nice big 11lbs. Listen to your body, it really does know what’s best – whatever it is telling you.

  • Rebecca

    Great sharing of MEDICAL information. I had both my babies 10 days past their “due date” based on ovulation/early ultrasound dating. From LMP, they were 6 days and 11 days “overdue”. I really had to fight an induction with the second pregnancy (I agreed to biophysical profile to reassure the OB) and people at work thought I was crazy for being there at 41 weeks. It’s hard to explain to them that 41 weeks+ was NORMAL for me.

  • Noa

    My midwives only assist births between 38-42 weeks. At 41 weeks I started doing everything I could to naturally induce, herbs, hiking, dancing, castor oil (twice), nipple stimulation (ouch), sex… It started to become really stressful each day that passed. We payed a lot to have our home water birth and we wanted it so bad. At 42 weeks we were directed to transfer care and the midwives mostly disappeared. I tried to push off every strong suggestion to induce and at 43 weeks I was hooked up to pitocin and just like all the stories I had read one thing led to another and 10 hours later I was getting prepped for surgery. Maybe it was necessary and maybe it wasn’t. It is hard to really know. I dream of an unassisted birth. I just want to be left alone and kept away from frantic fear based people so that my body can do what I know it knows how to do… in peace… 🙂

  • Crystal

    I was 41 weeks 4 days when I went into labor on my own. First time mom and I had read that you can carry past the standard 40 weeks. However, my OB was on-call on my due date and scheduled an induction for me and told me to show up on my due date at the hospital. I asked if I was okay, if my baby was okay, if my fluid was okay to which she answered yes to everything. There was no medical reason to induce me. Only thing she said was my ultrasound was measuring the baby at over 10 lbs. I know those aren’t accurate (he was 8 lb, 4 oz). I am so very glad I waited. I had a wonder birth with only 1 stitch and everything was fine. Unless they can really give you a medical reason why you need to be induced, wait until 42 weeks to even contemplate doing it.

  • Sandy Hess

    First baby: 41/1 weeks, 8#11oz Second baby: 42/0 weeks, 8#11 oz (induced with Pit nasal spray!) Third baby 43/0 weeks, induced via amniotomy after 4 days of prodromal labor with subsided each night 9#8.5 oz. If I were to have a 4th one now, I would wait until” 44 weeks” to induce, unless kick counting decreased significantly or other indication of insufficient placental function was present. My cycles were very long, up to 40 days. And, I would be more inclined to estimate my due date with the Woods Method/Nichol Rule instead of Neagele’s Rule (where all women are the “same”). Inductions increase the risk of breastfeeding failure for many reasons. The health of mother and baby is then negatively affected for the entire lifespan.

  • kobby

    my wife is 42 weeks pregnant and doctor as booked appointment with her this coming Friday for induce, is she save or l have to tell her to wait for the due date from the lord to deliver. Please l really need your help because these is our first baby we are expecting .waiting for your responds Thank you.

  • freebirthingmama

    I too would love to see this link that no longer works. I wonder if someone would be willing to scan a paper copy or take a screen shot? I give prenatal classes and am always on the look-out for good handouts. Thanks!

  • Laura

    I fail to see any information here on the rate of still birth that climbs rapidly after 40 weeks. The ‘risks’ that you are talking about are stillbirth and other tragedies at birth. You should name the risks as they are, not just call them ‘risks’. Why are you shaming women for choosing induction because they are not comfortable with the thought of losing their child to stillbirth? I challenge you to go on any baby loss FB page and poll women to see when their stillbirth occurred. A large majority will be after 40 weeks!

    • Mrs. BWF

      We shame no one for their choices. And we were quoting the article. We know many women who have endured loss at all gestational weeks. It is always a tragedy.

  • Colleen

    Thank you for this post! I’ve had a few clients getting pressure from their docs to induce just bc they’re at 40 weeks. I shared this blog post with them and they’re putting it off. Thank you so much!

  • Debby

    43 weeks for me. …due date correct as I know date of conception too. Went into labor hours before doctor was going to induce. Healthy baby almost six pounds after 24 hour labor. A little meconium swallowed but doctors were prepared for it and we were home in less than a day. Had 2 ultrasounds the last week as doctor required but by day I went into labor there was no water when doctor tried to break it. So for me the two ultrasounds were probably essential and my fluid must have evaporated in last two days but still had natural birth and healthy baby with apgar of nine immediately.

  • Kim

    Every pregnancy should be treated individually. I am an RN with 40 years experience and now work in a NICU follow up clinic. You imply here that no one should be induced at 40 weeks. We see so many tragedies from babies who went beyond 41 weeks, when close monitoring and induction could have provided a better outcome. Don’t judge other people for their choices or other practitioners for their plans of care. I say provide no opportunity.

    • January Harshe

      We do not say no one should be induced. We offer alternatives to women being told they have to without evidence based care. Also, judgment and Birth Without Fear do not belong in the same category. Thank you for your input!

  • necha

    hi im a doula
    with my second i went 44 weeks according to my edd
    according to my date i was exactly on time
    and i can relate to the cartoon lol
    i begged my home midwife to put me into labor
    im on #3 now and im hoping for one week shorter lol

  • Mich

    The ACOG link isn’t working and I could really do with being able to print a copy for a discussion with my care provider.
    Any chance of an updated link?
    Thank you

  • Angie

    I’m very grateful for this article. I was overdue with my first two and am pregnant with my third and expect the same. I’d love to read the ACOG article but the link doesn’t work. Any chance you know where the article is now? Thanks!

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