What Does It Mean When Your Pregnancy Is Overdue?

The time has come — you've made it through all three trimesters, abstaining from deli meat, sushi, and your favorite cocktails. The nursery is all set, the parenting books have been read, and you've mentally prepared yourself for labor. After 40 long weeks of waiting and preparing, your due date passes by yet still, there's no baby in sight.

If your pregnancy is overdue, it may bring up a lot of emotions — worry, frustration, and even the feeling of "let's get this over with already!" According to Mayo Clinic, a baby is considered overdue if they are more than two weeks late. This occurs in about 1 in 10 pregnancies (via Healthline).

Early in your pregnancy, when you find out when your baby is set to arrive, it becomes a very special date in your calendar. Between counting down the days, figuring out what your baby's astrological sign will be, and what celebrities might share a birthday with them, we place a lot of emphasis on that exciting day. But in reality, your due date is really just a rough estimate. 

According to Healthline, due dates are typically calculated by taking the first day of your last period and adding 280 days onto it. This gives you a rough idea of when your little one will arrive but the truth is, babies are usually on their own schedule.

Causes and risks of an overdue pregnancy

According to Mayo Clinic, your chances of going late will increase if your BMI is over 30, if you're having a boy, or if you've had a previous overdue pregnancy. If your family members typically have late babies, this can also raise your chances (via Healthline).

While it's not entirely uncommon for pregnancies to be overdue, it can pose certain risks for both mom and baby. An overdue pregnancy may increase the mom's chances of vaginal tears and postpartum hemorrhage, while the baby's heart rate and oxygen levels may be affected thanks to low levels of amniotic fluid, per Healthline.

Because of the risks that an overdue pregnancy may hold for mom and baby, your doctor will be sure to closely monitor you both during this time. They will most likely keep an eye on the baby's heart rate, amniotic fluid, and ask you to track your baby's kicks to ensure they are still active, per Mayo Clinic. Depending on what they find, they may opt to induce labor or let you go a little longer to see if labor begins on its own.

According to What to Expect, there are some things you can do at home that may help to encourage the arrival of your little one. Meditating or taking a walk are a couple of the tactics you can employ, but be sure to get the okay from your doctor before trying them.