Post Term Pregnancy and Birth Injuries
Medical experts define a post-term pregnancy as one that lasts for over 42 weeks. It stretches two weeks over the gestation period. While premature birth comes with its own set of dangers, a post-term pregnancy can be dangerous to a fetus as well. Doctors try to ensure delivery as close to the due date as possible, as it lowers the risk of complications. Sometimes, doctors will induce labor to lower the risk.
How Do You Treat Post-Term Pregnancy?
To determine the risk of complications associated with post-term pregnancy, a doctor should perform a series of tests. For example, the doctor might perform a contraction stress test, providing oxycontin to the mother to cause contractions early. He might also conduct what is known as antenatal fetal monitoring. The doctor monitors the infant closely as a way of detecting any signs that the infant feels distressed. A doctor might also perform a biophysical profile. During this test, the doctor looks at the overall health of the child. The score takes many factors into account, including:
- The volume of amniotic fluid
- Fetal tone
Doctors might also try to induce labor early to avoid a birth injury from a post-term pregnancy. This normally happens when the doctor suspects fetal distress wants to keep the child from experiencing a birth disorder. In some cases, they might schedule a C-section or give the mother-to-be medication that will begin the contractions. Treatment, as always, will depend on the condition of the mother.
The Risks of Induced Labor
Inducing labor can come with its own set of risks. For example, it might mean a longer hospital stay, higher risk of infection, health problems for the child, and complications during the delivery. However, these risks may be outweighed by the danger of prolonging the pregnancy. In rare cases, post-term pregnancy can cause cerebral palsy, a debilitating life-long condition.