Obstetrics – Late Pregnancy

Your baby is due soon. This information may help you prepare for this exciting time ahead. We are privileged to be a part of this amazing time in your life, and are eager to help you prepare for this.

Your “due date” was established earlier in the pregnancy, and is not affected by the baby’s future
growth or later ultrasound measurements. Labor will usually come naturally at full term, between
37 and 42 weeks gestation.
False labor or Braxton-Hicks contractions are not uncommon. These contractions will be irregularly
spaced, and eventually ease off. True labor contractions usually develop a more regular pattern,
with decreasing intervals between them. Usually the contractions will progress to at least
every 5 minutes for more than an hour.
Mild and limited vaginal spotting may occur at times, especially after intercourse or a recent exam.
If you have heavier or more persistent bright red bleeding, especially if it is accompanied by pain or
decreased fetal movement, do not hesitate to call.
At times, the bag of water may break before labor. If you experience heavy, persistent, or recurrent
leakage of fluid, make sure you call. You may lose your mucous plug 1-4 weeks prior to labor.
Although it is not unusual for the nature of the baby’s activity to change in late pregnancy, you
should remain reassured by the activity level. If there are any questions about this, lay on your left
side following some liquid and food intake, and pay attention. You should feel at least 6 movements
in an hour. Call us at any time you are not reassured.
Your plan for labor management is personal and individual. This may involve your desire for
supporters, use of cameras or video, the ability to ambulate, your confidentiality, etc. If you have
questions, requests or a birth plan please let us know. We would like to review it and discuss options
or limitations if they exist. Similarly, your desire for pain management is individual, and we will try
to accommodate your choices as best as the labor allows.
If you have questions or concerns about your pregnancy or symptoms, please call. Questions or
problems that are not urgent should be managed during office hours. After hours you may call labor
and delivery (919-731-6200) if you think you are in labor or your water has broken, or if you
need to speak with a doctor, calling the office number (919-734-3344) will put you in contact
with the doctor on call.