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Postmaturity can't really be diagnosed until after a baby is born.
Signs of postmaturity are: no or little vernix, creases on the baby's palms and soles of feet, dry skin, long finger nails....some may have longer hair and in more severe cases (rarely seen anymore) the skin is stained yellow or green from meconium. In the more severe cases the baby will also seem to have their skin hanging a bit as they have lost weight in utero due to the placenta not functioning as well and they use up the fat stores they had. The placenta also shows signs of aging-some of which can be seen on ultrasound but aren't definitive until observed after birth.
In my experience babies who gestate longer tend to be more alert and have longer spells of quiet and alert too.
The difference between a 37 weeker and a 42 weeker in ease of waking to feed, suck, alertness, head and neck strength etc.....can be really significant. *NOT* saying all 37 weekers are lethargic and all 42 weekers are strong and vigorous but just stating my personal observations.
Bethany, crunchy Christian mom to Destiny (11) Deanna (9), and Ethan (2)
You know, I even noticed a huge difference between my son, who was born at 40wk1d, and my daughters, who were born at 41wk3d (dd#1) and 41wk5d (dd#2). My son was sleepy (I think some which was from the epidural) and much less alert then my other two. My first still had bit of vernix on her and no dry skin, but she was alert and wide awake, some of which I believe had to do with the fact that I didn't have an pain medication. My second was sleepy but was certainly quite alert when awake. Her pregnancy was scary, though. At the beginning I suffered some trauma to my belly (long story) and bled brownish blood somewhat heavily for awhile, enough to believe I was miscarrying. Luckily when I went in for my exam they did an ultrasound and she was just fine. However hear hearbeat was always in the low 120s and towards the end I showed no signs of labor and she wasn't moving much at all. I don't remember what my fluid levels were after the BPP I had at 41 weeks but I suspect probably wasn't too great, because when she was born her skin was peeling horribly. She had no vernix on her whatsoever, and her placenta was partially WHITE and looked aged. The only reason I even went into labor was because I let my midwife strip my membranes. Looking back I wonder how close I came to losing her. Before that experience I was super anti-induction so it was a huge reality check. I have since been diagnosed with Lupus so the pregnancy with my son was high risk anyway, but in the back of my mind I was terrified about possibly going overdates again and facing the same issue so I choose to have my OB strip my membranes at 39wk6d (I day before my due date). My cervix was favorable (2cm dilated, 80% effaced) and his head was really low, between zero and +1 station. The day when she stripped my membranes I had a NST that I wasn't so sure about (baby's heartrate dipping beyond what I felt it should, though the doctors weren't worried) and it brought back all the memories from my second. I freaked out a little, told the nurse I was super worried and the high risk OB came in and we scheduled an induction. I just had a bad feeling about going postdates at all, can't explain it, but I trusted my instincts that it was best I be delivered ASAP. Luckily for me the membrane strip worked and ds was born one day after his due date.
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