Published on September 03, 2015

Going the Full 40

By Stephanie Marsau

I’m currently pregnant and the plan is to delivery a healthy baby boy on December 20. However, anyone who has ever given birth, or has known someone who has given birth, knows that things rarely go according to plan.

It seems though that the days are gone where you hear about women going much past their due date. Sometimes babies decide they’re coming sooner, but it seems like more and more, the mothers end up getting induced – sometimes before they’ve even hit the 40 week mark.

That got me thinking, so I contacted Nyla Carswell, the Director of Maternal Services on Mary Greeley Medical Center’s Birthways unit.

Nyla brought to my attention that there is actually a campaign in place called, 40 Reasons to Go the Full 40, that is urging mothers to give their unborn children 40 full weeks. Below are some of the reasons both you and your baby may benefit from the little girl or guy staying inside for 40 weeks. You can see the entire list at

Birth a brainier baby – at 35 weeks your baby’s brain is only 2/3 the size it will be at term

Maximize those little lungs – babies born just two or more weeks early can have the twice the number of complications with breathing

Boost breastfeeding – term babies more effectively suck and swallow than babies born earlier

Ignore people who say an induction is more convenient – inducing labor is associated with increased risks including a longer labor and cesarean surgery. Labor should only be induced if medically necessary.

Nyla pointed out that it’s important to note that due dates are not always exact. In fact, sometimes they can be off by one to two weeks, which could be a problem if you induce at 40 weeks. It could be that you’re actually only 38 weeks!

I asked Nyla if it becomes dangerous to go too far past your due date, and she informed me that typically a woman won’t go past 42 weeks. If you consider the issue with due dates though, that would make sense, since at 42 weeks a woman could actually only be 40 weeks. Nyla also mentioned that some of the doctors and midwives on Birthways induce only for medical reasons or postdates, meaning they wait until the due date to induce.

Over 1,000 babies are born on the Birthways unit at Mary Greeley Medical Center each year. Birthways has 22 patient rooms, nine regular patient rooms and 13 labor/delivery/recovery/postpartum rooms. Birthways also has a Level II neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and one operating room along with one recovery room for cesarean births. For more information on Birthways, including information on scheduling a tour, visit

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About the Author

Stephanie MarsauStephanie is the Marketing Communications Coordinator at Mary Greeley Medical Center. A blogger for several years, Stephanie's goal is to present health information in an entertaining, but helpful way.