In the medical world, a pregnancy that has passed the normal time limit is called a prolonged or postterm pregnancy. In general, a normal or term pregnancy lasts 38-41 weeks. Meanwhile, a gestation period that exceeds 42 weeks is included in the postterm or overdue category. The number of incidence of pregnant women having a gestation period exceeding the normal limit is relatively small, which is only about 3 to 12%.
Errors in Calculation
The number of pregnancies that exceed the normal time limit is not too large. Usually, these cases occur as a result of an internal error calculate gestational age. This calculation error can occur because of the mother’s irregular menstrual cycle. This means that an error in calculating the period of pregnancy has occurred since the mother first knew that she was pregnant.
To find out exactly when the mother started getting pregnant, it is better if pregnant women do an ultrasound examination or Ultra Sonography. With ultrasound examinations and regular uterine height measurements in the early trimester of pregnancy, pregnant women can find out exactly when fertilization in the uterus occurs. This is because, when he is late in his period, it is not certain that the fertilization has occurred in his womb. It could be that the fertilization has only lasted 2-3 weeks after the mother experienced a late menstruation.
However, in some cases, even though the mother has carried out a series of examinations as mentioned above, there are still deliveries that miss the estimated date. And until now, it is not certain what causes this delay in labor. Some obstetricians estimate, this missed delivery date may be influenced by factors from the mother and also the fetus in the womb.
If judging from the factors that come from the mother, postterm pregnancy can occur due to a history of postterm in a previous pregnancy. In addition, postterm pregnancy can also occur due to hereditary or genetic factors, insufficient amount of the sulfatase enzyme in the placenta, lack of thyroid hormone levels and many others. Meanwhile, when viewed from the fetal factor in the womb, postterm pregnancy can occur due to an abnormality in the location of the fetus or abnormal growth in the skull. Or, this type of pregnancy can also occur because the fetus is large or the term is macrosomy. Some people also believe that postterm pregnancies are more common in male fetuses than in female fetuses, although no studies have confirmed this.
As previously mentioned, if a pregnant woman has passed 42 weeks and the baby in the womb has not shown signs of childbirth, then the obstetrician will check whether the mother’s pregnancy really has passed the deadline. Usually, the obstetrician will conduct an examination and evaluation through ultrasound record data in the early trimester and when the mother had her last menstrual period. If it turns out that the mother’s pregnancy period has passed the normal time limit, the doctor will try to find out the cause and also check the condition of the fetus in the womb. The amount of amniotic fluid, cardiotocography and maturity of the placenta are also examined to ensure the safety of the mother and the baby.
After examining the condition of the fetus in the womb, the doctor will immediately be able to decide whether labor should be done in the near future or not. In this case, the doctor will also consider what method of delivery to use. For normal or vaginal delivery, doctors usually give induction through certain means and drugs. Meanwhile, if the induction fails or the condition of the fetus is not possible, for example, such as the size of the baby is too large or fetal distress, the doctor will usually advise the mother to perform a cesarean section.
That is why pregnant women need to prepare their mental and physical conditions in a mature manner since the beginning of pregnancy. They also don’t need to worry about postterm pregnancy because apart from being rare, this type of pregnancy is also harmless as long as the fetus’s condition is closely monitored by an obstetrician.