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42 WEEKS PREGNANT
Welcome to a “post-term” pregnancy.
If you’re reading this, you’re one of the rare moms-to-be who makes it to 42 weeks pregnant.
Don’t let all those people asking you where your baby is and why you haven’t been induced make you feel like something’s wrong.
Every mom-to-be and baby is different and your due date is just an estimate—sometimes due dates are miscalculated too!
So, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with making it to week 42 of pregnancy.
And while you might feel like you’re going a little crazy with anxiety, remember: 98 percent of babies emerge by the end of week 42.
So you’ll get to meet baby really soon—we promise!
How Big Is Baby at 42 Weeks?
At 42 weeks pregnant, baby is the size of a watermelon—a bigger watermelon than last week.
The average 42-week fetus measures 20.3 inches and weighs 8.1 pounds.
Yup, baby’s still growing!
But don’t worry, he or she is unlikely to be too big to deliver vaginally.
42 Weeks Pregnant Is How Many Months?
42 weeks pregnant is nine months and two weeks. Yes, it happens!
42 WEEKS PREGNANT SYMPTOMS
Your 42 weeks pregnant symptoms are probably the same ones you’ve been feeling the past few weeks—leg cramps, trouble sleeping, backaches, pelvic pressure, hemorrhoids, frequent urination, contractions—just maybe more intense.
You might be stressed at 42 weeks pregnant.
No one said pregnancy after 40 weeks was easy!
Try to be patient as you let baby decide when to make his or her debut.
Know that at 42 weeks pregnant, risks are higher for complications such as placental problems, low amniotic fluid, and a pinched umbilical cord.
And baby’s at a slightly higher risk of having to go to the NICU.
Keep doing kick counts and letting your OB know if you notice any changes in kick frequency.
Also tell your doctor right away if you have any troubling 42 weeks pregnant symptoms, such as strange discharge, bleeding, or abdominal pain.
42 WEEKS PREGNANT SIGNS OF LABOR
At 42 weeks pregnant signs of labor—the ones you’ve been waiting for!—may begin.
Look out for:
Mucus plug and/or bloody show. The thick mucus discharge—sometimes tinged with blood—is a sign the cervix is getting itself ready for delivery.
It’s often a sign labor will start soon. Though just how soon, we can’t predict!
If you’re leaking amniotic fluid or if your water breaks in one huge gush, call your doctor.
Labor will probably begin within hours.
Hallelujah! This sign you’re in labor is the one you’ve probably been anticipating most.
These guys are more intense than any Braxton Hicks contractions you may have been having, and most importantly, they don’t go away.
True labor contractions happen over and over, at shorter intervals, and at higher intensity (ouch!), and don’t let up until baby is born.
Wondering how to induce labor at 42 weeks pregnant? You probably have been trying natural methods such as walking, sex, and acupuncture.
But don’t resort to drinking castor oil (you’ll probably just make yourself sick), taking herbal supplements (they could be dangerous to you and baby), or stimulating your nipples (the resulting contractions could be too strong and dangerous for baby).
Because at 42 weeks pregnant risks increase, your doctor may recommend a medical labor induction if tests show it isn’t safe for baby to stay in utero much longer.
Ways your doctor can induce labor are:
Stripping the membranes. At 42 weeks pregnant, this technique might be the thing that sets your body over the edge.
Your doctor uses a finger to swipe around the amniotic sac.
The hormones released often cause contractions within 48 hours.
Breaking your water.
Using an instrument that looks like plastic hook, your doctor breaks the amniotic sac.
This can cause contractions in just hours.
Ripening your cervix.
A medication called prostaglandin is inserted vaginally overnight in order to dilate the cervix.
Stimulating contractions. You’ll be hooked up to an IV with a synthetic version of the hormone oxytocin.
This medication can get contractions started.
42 WEEKS PREGNANT ULTRASOUND
Because your 42-week baby has probably shed the vernix caseosa (that filmy stuff that covered his or her skin), the skin is probably getting a little dry at this point.
Because of the 42 weeks pregnant risks, your OB will want to monitor baby extra closely.
A 42 weeks pregnant ultrasound, a non-stress test, and a contraction stress test will be given to make sure baby’s still moving well, has plenty of amniotic fluid, is breathing well, and has a healthy heart rate.
Rest assured that as long as baby’s being watched with an eagle eye, he or she is doing just fine in there.
And he or she may be comfy inside your uterus, but can’t stay there forever!
Your Baby at Week 42
Baby Will Be Monitored
Although it’s perfectly normal for a baby to arrive past the due date, you and your baby will get some extra attention this week.
To be sure all is well, your practitioner will likely monitor your overdue baby.
When this latecomer finally makes her debut, chances are her skin will be dry, cracked, peeling or wrinkled — all completely temporary.
That’s because the protective vernix was shed weeks ago in anticipation of a delivery date that came and went.
A tardy baby will also have longer nails, possibly longer hair and little or none of that baby fuzz (lanugo).
She’ll also be more alert: “Hi, Mommy!”
42 Weeks Pregnant Is How Many Months?
If you’re 42 weeks pregnant, you’re in month 9 of your pregnancy.
It’s almost time! Still have questions? Here’s some more information on how weeks, months and trimesters are broken down in pregnancy.
Well, the due date’s come and gone…two weeks ago.
You’re still as pregnant as ever (make that, more pregnant than ever) and your baby is still happily ensconced in that uterine home.
At 42 weeks pregnant, you’re not alone in your frustration and neither is your baby in her tardiness.
Most babies have their own timetables when it comes to delivery; fewer than 5 percent are actually born on their due date.
Most babies continue to thrive well into the 10th month (though you may have lost that “thriving” feeling long ago) — but just to be sure, your practitioner is likely to monitor your baby through nonstress tests and biophysical profiles.
There’s one thing for sure: Whenever your baby chooses to arrive, you’ll be meeting that little bundle of joy with open arms.
Your Body at Week 42
While you may feel as if this pregnancy has been going on forever, studies show that 70 percent of post-term pregnancies aren’t post-term at all.
The frustrating mix-up is typically due to a miscalculation of the time of conception, usually thanks to irregular ovulation or a mom’s uncertainty about the exact date of her last period.
Even if you do end up among the two percent of women who are truly overdue, know that before this week is over, your baby will come out on her own — or your practitioner will perform labor induction.
Of course, you’re probably sick of everyone calling to see if you’ve had the baby yet.
But here’s something to focus on as you wait: By this time next week, you’ll be snuggling with your newborn.
Past Your Due Date?
Okay, after all those weeks of preparation, do you sort of have that hurry-up-and-wait feeling?
At 42 weeks pregnant, you know why they call you an expectant mother — and why now, in your 42nd long, long week, you may be calling yourself an overexpectant mother.
Don’t be discouraged — and don’t call the folks at Guinness to put yourself down as the longest pregnancy on record… just yet.
It may be helpful to keep in mind that your estimated due date was just that — estimated.
So even though your baby seems (by all calendar accounts) to be overdue, there’s a chance your dates (not your baby) are just a little off the mark, especially if you didn’t have an early ultrasound (before week 18) to date your pregnancy.
So hang in there and continue to watch for signs of impending labor (or get ready for an impending induction if your practitioner goes that route).
One prelabor sign to look for may be loose bowel movements. Some women experience mild diarrhea just prior to the onset of labor.
Think of it as nature’s enema — a way to empty your intestines to make room for the baby’s passage through the birth canal.
Not such a pleasant thought — but certainly better than pooping on the birthing bed (though most women do that too and it’s nothing to worry about).
Here’s a happier thought: By this time next week, you’ll have a brand new beautiful baby to cuddle in your arms (and to keep you up at night).
Once the baby comes home, a new mom can expect to be exhausted and overwhelmed.
(So can a new dad, by the way.) Who do you call? A postpartum doula!
She will provide care for you and your baby, including breastfeeding advice, cooking, child care, errands and light cleaning.
This miracle worker will teach and support you and your partner without judgment (she won’t laugh at your pathetic attempts at swaddling).
She knows all about emotional and physical recovery, infant soothing and coping skills, feeding, diapering — anything and everything that eases the tricky transition into parenthood.
The best way to find a postpartum doula is through word of mouth, so ask your pediatrician and your friends
Keep in mind that most doulas charge an hourly rate, so you can be flexible about when and how often she comes.
A few hours a day for the first couple of weeks might mean the difference between a mommy and a zombie.