Overdue'... What does that even mean?
The pressure this term can place on the mindset of a pregnant woman is immense. Suddenly after 40 weeks of a potentially worry free pregnancy she is facing medical interventions, dealing with daily texts from multiple friends/family members and pausing to consider every tummy grumble or tightening she feels. Why is so much focus placed on that one specific 'due date' when only 4% of babies actually arrive on it?! (Even then, it's likely labour has actually kicked off a day or two before) A pregnancy is generally considered to be full term at 38-42 weeks of pregnancy and given that 80% of babies arrive during that time, this gives a little more breathing space to the pregnant mum to be. She is not actually 'overdue' until 42+1.
We are told that as a pregnancy progresses past weeks 40,41,42 etc that the risks of a stillbirth increase. However studies provide figures which demonstrate that there are real concerns around the validity of the information. For example, there are no studies which suggest a woman who has had a previous baby has any increased risk of stillbirth (See Sarah J. Buckley - Gentle Birth, Gentle Parenting). It is based on those considered risks that all women will be offered the option of an induction as they pass their 'due date'. For many this can be a very attractive option. But it is important to remember that labour is a very delicate and natural process which is actually triggered from a hormone that baby releases. Therefore attempting to kick this off artificially could result in the birth of baby who simply wasn't quite ready for the big wide world. He could be born with breathing difficulties and may have trouble latching on to the breast (among other possible complications).
So! If you know a pregnant woman who is approaching or has passed her due date, why not ditch the 'any news?' texts... Take her out for lunch, pop in with some pampering goodies or simply as how SHE is! Take it from me, she knows she is due, she can most likely think of nothing else and would welcome her mind being distracted for an hour or two.
Dads to be, remember that your baby is still baking for a reason and will arrive only when the timing is perfect. Babies don’t wear watches and have not been marking the days in their little womb calendars. Show your support to your partner by praising her patience and selflessness. She is tired and most likely a little apprehensive. Field those calls from excited family/friends and keep her environment positive, encouraging and most importantly, peaceful. It's not going to be that way again for sometime so enjoy it.