When it comes to pregnancy, how long past your due date is considered 'normal'?

Thanks to our brand partner, Westpac

There a few more situations in a woman’s life more uncomfortable than the very pointy end of pregnancy.

Apart from actual labour, of course.

Despite the discomfort and general unwieldiness that accompanies the ninth month, however, many women insist on going into labour naturally. That is, even if their due date comes and goes, they’ll refuse to be induced. They’ll wait it out. Until the baby comes, ‘on its own’.

What many women don’t know is that the longer a baby remains in the womb past its due date, the greater the health risks – to both baby, and mum.

Any mum-to-be whose baby is a day, or two, or maybe a week overdue needn’t worry. The majority of newborns come within a few days of their due date, meaning it’s not a drama if they come slightly late or early.

But according to Midwife Cath Curtin, “some women may not come into labour at all”.

“A lot of women want to come into labour naturally, and sometimes it’s just not going to happen,” Curtin says on Mamamia’s pregnancy podcast, Hello Bump.

She goes on, “You don’t want to go over too long… things can happen to the baby, and the mother can get quite unwell… both [mother and baby] can die.”

According to Curtin, who has delivered over 10,000 babies during her 42-year career as a midwife, a baby showing normal development in the womb shouldn’t be left in utero any longer than ten days to weeks past its due date.

This is the point at which doctors will be looking to induce labour.

The longer you go past your due date, says Curtin, “things go bad, and they go bad quickly.”

If you’re concerned about any aspect of your pregnancy, consult your local GP or specialist. 

Listen to the full episode of Hello Bump all about that final month, below. 

This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Westpac.