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Post-term pregnancy (over 41 weeks)

Maternal pregnancy complications


A pregnancy is considered prolonged after 41 weeks of gestation and post-term if it exceeds 42 weeks. As the risks of complication are more significant after the expected date of delivery, close monitoring is necessary.


Hereditary and genetic factors may be at the root of many post-term pregnancies.

Symptoms to monitor

When a woman has not given birth by her due date, the medical team must monitor the mother and fetus closely.

Tests and procedures

  • Ultrasound control – Evaluation of the Amniotic Fluid
  • Assessment of the baby’s heart rate (non-stress test (NST))

Treatment and follow-up care

The medical team will plan to induce labour before 42 weeks. The gynecologist-obstetrician can remove the membranes by sliding a finger at the cervix, which will naturally promote the release of hormones that promote labour (prostaglandins). In general, this technique will be enough to stimulate spontaneous labour and delivery will happen within the next couple of days.

When labour will not begin naturally, steps are taken to induce it. Hormones (prostaglandins) are applied locally to the vagina in tablet or suppository forms. When the cervix is considered ripe for the onset of labour, the mother is given oxytocin by intravenous infusion.

Dre Lucie Morin

About this page
Updated on 1/25/2021
Created on 12/18/2017
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