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Cynthia FlynnEncouraging Labor to Start
by Cynthia Flynn, CNM, Ph.D.

Q. My due date was yesterday and still no baby. Three days ago, I was 2 cm dilated, my doctor stripped my membranes, I lost my mucous plug and I had contractions 7 minutes apart. I keep walking and walking and still nothing. Do you have any suggestions? I know that I am in the early stage of labor but this is taking too long.

A. Congratulations on being dilated already! If this is a first baby, this all sounds very normal, because they're usually an average of 5 days "late." Your baby may be "face up," in which case hands and knees pelvic tilts might help, along with walking and stairs and a birth ball. Your provider can tell you which way the baby is facing. You also might make sure you're not dehydrated (your urine should have no color at all), because your uterus will work better if it's well-hydrated. You will probably need stronger contractions to get the show on the road. Nipple stimulation and intercourse can help there. Another good thing is a good night's sleep.

But the bottom line is that the baby has a real birthday, and part of being a mom is having the patience to do what's best for your child, which is usually to come on its real birthday. As long as there is no medical problem, I encourage moms to wait for spontaneous labor, and enjoy having the baby all to themselves for just a few days more. The baby is not actually "late" until 42 weeks (2 weeks after your due date). At that point, it does make sense to induce, in my opinion.

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