Week 41 onwards

It’s just not fair – you have already had to wait 40 weeks, and now you've gone over your expected due date! However, there are some fun things you can do to while away the time:

  • Snuggle up on the sofa and watch DVDs
  • Read lots of books
  • Lie around in the garden (if the weather’s good, naturally!)
  • Visit friends and family (take your maternity notes with you, plus your mobile)
  • Take up a hobby, like knitting or painting
  • Spend extra time with your partner and/or your other child or children
  • Give in to your nesting urges and spring clean
  • Fill up the freezer with some delicious home cooked 'ready meals'

Did you know?

Only 5% of women give birth on their due date; however, around 80% of women do give birth within 10 days of this.

What happens now...

You'll most likely have an appointment with your midwife or doctor at 41 weeks. They will examine your bump to check your baby’s size and position, and they might (with your permission) give you an internal examination to check the softness of the cervix, which can indicate whether your body is getting ready for labour.

They may offer you a membrane sweep to help get things started - although not all hospitals/surgeries offer this procedure. They may also want to discuss the option of induction with you.

Did you know?

In the UK, around 1 in 4 pregnant women have an induction.

What happens during an induction

Induction is a medical way of getting labour to begin. Your midwife or doctor may choose to insert pessaries or gel next to the cervix, use an instrument to break your waters, or give you an intravenous drip to stimulate contractions. It may take a little time for your labour to start after one of these procedures – but it will most likely proceed normally once it has started. If you're worried about induction, rest assured that it doesn’t affect your chances of requiring a caesarean section.

Old wives' tales

If you're desperate for labour to start, you've probably heard about one or more of these “surefire” ways to get things going (though of course, we can't endorse or recommend you trying any of them):

  • Having sex
  • Stimulating the whole of the nipple area for at least 15-20 minutes several times a day (although you may become very bored, or sore!)
  • Eating spicy food
  • Eating fresh pineapple