Will This Help Labor Get Started?

QUESTION

Dear Midwife,
I am currently 38 weeks and five days pregnant and I had my weekly OB appointment today with my midwife. She checked me and I am about 75% effaced, but have not yet begun to dilate. She said that next week at my next appointment they will again check me and they will start to rupture my membranes for me to get things going. What can I expect at this visit and does that mean that I will have my baby next weekend? My due date is next Sunday, November 7th.

Thanks.

ANSWER

I'm not sure what the rush is in your individual case. Usually, as long as the baby comes by November 21, it is considered normal, not "late.

"You have a much better chance of a normal delivery if you wait until the baby's real birthday, when the baby starts the labor, rather than forcing it out ahead of time. There may be reasons in your case for starting the labor sooner, but my advice would be that you find out what those reasons are, and ask what the risk would be to just wait until it's really time for the baby to be born.

Once you have all the information, you can make your decision. I know you must be anxious, but the decisions you make now could affect you, your baby and all future babies for a long time.

-- Cynthia, CNM

Cynthia Flynn

Cynthia Flynn, CNM. PhD, is the General Director of the Family Health and Birth Center which provides prenatal, birth, postnatal, gynecological and primary health care to underserved women and their families in Washington, D.C. Recently Cynthia served as Associate Professor of Nursing at Seattle University. There she not only taught, but remained in full scope clinical midwifery practice at Valley Medical Center where she cared for pregnant and birthing women, and practices well-woman gynecology, family planning, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Cynthia founded Columbia Women's Clinic and Birth Center, where she took care of pregnant women and infants up to two weeks of age and attended both birth center and hospital births. Before Cynthia earned her CNM, she worked as a registered nurse in labor and delivery and postpartum and is a certified Doula and Doula trainer.