Tuesday, 8 March 2016

When a pregnancy is ‘overdue’

The hospital bags are packed and we’re ready to go.  But we’re still waiting for our baby to appear.  I’m now 8 days overdue. 

2016-03-08 09.26.28

I’ve been getting a lot of painless contractions, some quite strong and uncomfortable, but they don’t stay regular for very long, and they don’t develop into full-on labour.  This stage is sometimes called pre-labour, but it doesn’t necessarily progress uninterrupted into labour. 

It has been hard to wait, my hopes rising with regular contractions, only to have them fade.  I’m thankful that I feel the baby moving often, reassuring me that everything is still okay.  I have been trying to be patient, but it gets harder the longer we wait. 

I wanted to write about some things that I think are helpful for friends and family to do when someone they love is experiencing an overdue pregnancy.  This is also for my own benefit, for future reference if my friends go overdue. 

I’m introverted, and happy to spend time at home alone, but at some point you run out of things to do.  I think even the most introverted person would appreciate a visit once they’ve gone overdue.  It’s boring sitting at home waiting.  You’ve been on alert for three weeks already and nothing has happened. 

I’ve had my parents visiting for the past week, which has been helpful in a number of ways.  Before they arrived I felt a bit like I had cabin fever.  But now we’ve all been waiting together for a week, which isn’t as bad as waiting alone, but it’s still waiting.  It has been nice for me to see some other people too.  This would be even more important for those who don’t have parents around to help, or a community around them for support. 

Don’t say “still”
Some people have exclaimed things like “you’re still here!” or “you’re still pregnant!”.  We all know that she’s still pregnant, you don’t need to tell her.  You can use the word ‘still’ of course, what I really mean is try not to make too much of the fact that she’s overdue.  The baby will come when the baby and the body are ready, and it’s harder to tell yourself this when everyone exclaims over the fact that you’re overdue.  I know that people mean well, and they are trying to be sympathetic, but hearing the same thing from everyone is wearing.  Others might keep asking “has the baby come yet?”  This is similarly wearing I imagine, but I haven’t experienced this question much.  We will tell you when the baby comes, never fear!

Instead, you can ask other things about the pregnancy or baby-preparation.  How are your swollen feet?  Have you chosen an outfit to bring baby home in?  What did you do today?  Be creative and start a conversation rather than making a statement. 

Let her know you’re thinking of her
I have one friend in particular who has been wonderful in remembering my dates or significant appointments and texting me that she is praying for me.  It’s lovely to get a message out of the blue and know that someone is thinking of you, and even better if they have remembered something about you.  I think this is actually a good life-skill in general, everyone likes to be thought of and remembered!  I’ve been encouraged by my friend to do this in any situation. 

Other tips?
Maybe you’ve experienced an overdue pregnancy.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on what’s helpful in this time. 


  1. Our no.2 was born at 41 weeks and all this rings true to me. I found people asking questions like WHEN (not if) I was going to be induced, and talking in almost moral terms about the baby as if the 'lateness' of his arrival meant he was being rude or disobedient. It's such a hard time! I found this article helpful: http://www.mothering.com/articles/the-last-days-of-pregnancy-a-place-of-in-between/

  2. Thanks Tamie. It's helpful hearing from people who have had this experience. Thanks also for the article!