The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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Old thinking Watch and wait until you’re 42 weeks along, at which point you are officially “post-term.” This belief stemmed from the fact that due dates can be wrong and some women have longer pregnancies.
New thinking Delivery is induced between 41 weeks and 42 weeks. Perinatal mortality (defined as the death of a baby immediately before or within seven days of birth) at 42 weeks is twice that at 40 weeks, according to a study of all deliveries in Sweden from 1987 to 1992.
What to do now If your due date does come and go, don’t fret. Most practitioners will want to perform some tests, such as an ultrasound, and check on you twice a week. You should also call your doctor or midwife if your baby is kicking noticeably less often.
Old thinking Once a C-section, always a C-section. Because of the risk of the C-section scar breaking open during labor and endangering the mother and baby, the vaginal birth after Cesarean section (VBAC) rate dropped from a high of 28 percent in 1996 to 8.5 percent in 2006.
New thinking Attempting a VBAC is an appropriate and safe choice for most women, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The risk of the scar opening, called uterine rupture, is less than 1 percent, research shows.
What to do now Women who have had a previous vaginal birth are more likely to have it work post- C-section as well. You should also wait a minimum of 18 months after a C-section before trying for a VBAC, says Alliman.
It’s important to know the type of incision you had: Women who have had one or two previous C-sections via a low, transverse incision are potential candidates for VBAC. Alliman also recommends working with a midwife or OB-GYN who has a 70 percent or greater success rate with VBAC deliveries.