Post-Term Pregnancy: Complications & Treatment

Post-Term Pregnancy: Complications & Treatment

You took the home pregnancy kit test and was overjoyed by the good news. You made a perfect plan for 9 months but the gestation period seems to be extended. Post-term pregnancy can lead to several complications and risks. But don’t worry there are safe-treatments to deal with it. Read this blog to know more about the symptoms, causes, risks and how to deal with post-term pregnancy.

What is Post-Term Pregnancy?

Post-term pregnancy is when the pregnancy lasts for more than 42 weeks. Normally, the delivery takes place between 37 weeks and 42 weeks which is considered a term pregnancy. You can use Pregakem’s pregnancy calendar due date which will give you an estimate of your delivery date. Pregnancy between 41 weeks and 42 weeks is late-term pregnancy and anything beyond that is post-term pregnancy.

There are not a lot of cases of post-term delivery but women who have already experienced one are at a higher risk of having another post term delivery.

Post-Term Newborns -

Newborns are classified by the gestational age. Gestational age is the number of weeks from the first day of last menstrual period to the date of delivery. This gestation period is considered to determine the due date of the baby. If you have accurately carried out a pregnancy detection with an effective kit from Pregakem, figuring out the due date will not be too difficult. Pregakem Pregnancy Due Date Calculator can help you here.

Post-term newborns have dry, peeling skin and may appear thin. They have long toenails and fingernails and their umbilical cord might appear green due to meconium present in the amniotic fluid. Post-term newborns might develop low blood sugar levels. This is because they used their stored fats and carbohydrates to provide energy.

Complications and Risks -

When the term pregnancy is nearing an end, the placenta starts shrinking and is unable to provide oxygen and nutrients. The level of amniotic fluid also decreases. Amniotic fluid is the fluid that surrounds the fetus in the uterus. To make up for the lost energy, the fetus uses its own fats and carbohydrates leading to a decrease in its growth and weight.

Some of the complications of post-term pregnancy are-

• Longer labor

• Forceps or vacuum-assisted birth

• Vaginal tearing or injury

• Cesarean delivery

• Infection, wound complications, and bleeding after birth

• Stillbirth and newborn death

• Placenta problems

• Decreased amniotic fluid

• The baby may stop gaining weight, or may even lose weight

• Birth injury if the baby is large

• Baby breathes in fluid containing the first stool (meconium aspiration)

• Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) because the baby has too little glucose stored

Causes -

As per Dr. Asmita Mahajan, consultant neonatologist and pediatrician, SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim, the most common cause of post-term pregnancy is “inaccurate dating.” Therefore, the first thing to do when the doctor suspects that the pregnancy is extending beyond the term i.e., 40 weeks, is to check the mother’s last period dates. The actual cause of post-term pregnancy still can’t be determined by doctors but there are some factors associated. These factors can be - having your first baby, having experienced a pregnancy that went past 42 weeks, carrying a male fetus, hormonal changes or being overweight.

Treatment -

After you have had pregnancy symptoms, you can confirm the good news with a Pregakem pregnancy detection kit. And then head to a qualified gynaecologist for a detailed check up. Doctors conduct tests such as fetal movement counting, checking fetus’ heart rate and its blood flow through ultrasound. If the tests show that it is not healthy for the baby to be in the uterus then the best way to deal with it is induction of labour. Once you are in labour, the doctor will check your baby’s heart rate on the screen to check any changes due to low oxygen levels. You might undergo cesarean delivery depending on the baby.

Post-term pregnancy might have some complications but the aim is to have a safe pregnancy. Doctors provide basic treatment to ease your pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby. Trust your doctor and listen to their advice during your pregnancy planning as they place maternal-fetal health as the top priority.


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