Whew, week 42 is here — and it's the official end of your pregnancy.
Your baby will probably get some extra monitoring in advance of your late-comer's debut.
Meanwhile, your doctor may recommend inducing labor to get the process moving along — and your little one (finally!) in your arms.
Your Baby at Week 42
At a Glance
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.
How big is my baby at 42 weeks?
At the 42-week mark, your watermelon-sized baby is measuring around 19 to 22 inches and 7 and 9 pounds.
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 with tests like nonstress tests or ultrasounds.
When this late-comer finally makes a debut, chances are baby's 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!”
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 when it comes to tardiness.
Most babies have their own timetables for delivery; fewer than 5 percent are actually born on their due date. Many babies continue to thrive well past week 40, 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. Happy cuddling!
Your Body at Week 42
While you may feel as if this pregnancy has been going on forever, studies show that an estimated 70 percent of post-term pregnancies aren't post-term at all.
The frustrating mix-up is typically due to a miscalculation of the date of conception, usually thanks to irregular ovulation or a mom's uncertainty about the exact date of the last menstrual period.
Even if you do end up among the approximately 2 percent of women who are truly overdue, know that before this week is over, labor will begin naturally — or when your practitioner induces it.
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. It may be helpful to keep in mind that your estimated due date was just that — estimated.
So even though your baby seems to be overdue, there's a chance your dates, and not your baby, are just a little off the mark, especially if you didn't have an early ultrasound (before week 14) 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.
Here's a happier thought: By this time next week, you'll have a brand new beautiful baby to cuddle in your arms and keep you up at night. Good luck!
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 certified postpartum doula!
A doula 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 — and a doula won't laugh at your pathetic attempts at swaddling.
Such a pregnancy and postpartum helper 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 or check with DONA International.
Keep in mind that most doulas charge an hourly rate, so you can be flexible about when and how often your pregnancy companion comes to help. A few hours a day for the first couple of weeks might mean the difference between a mommy and a zombie.
Learn more about what to ask a doula before you hire one.
Pregnancy Symptoms Week 42
Tips for You This Week
Baby is now officially late. Since your uterus is likely becoming less hospitable, if you don't go into labor on your own, your practitioner will likely schedule you to be induced sometime this week. Whether you have an induction, or baby makes an arrival without help, you'll have to be tested for COVID-19 before delivering.
During an induction, your doctor can use a topical hormone to ripen your cervix, which allows baby to enter the birth canal, or jump-start your contractions by breaking your water or administering Pitocin.
If your contractions are strong, last at least 45 seconds and are coming more often than every five minutes, call the doctor! Baby could well be on the way within a few hours.
Planning on saving your placenta? Talk to your health care provider before you go into labor so that there’s no confusion when the time comes.
Believe it or not, diarrhea might be a good sign that your baby is on the way — it's your body's way of clearing out the area.
Minimize the "sting" of birth with perineal massage (but get your practitioner's okay first).
Here's how: Insert clean, lubricated thumbs into your vagina. Press down and slide across your perineum (the area between your vagina and rectum) and back continuously for five minutes. Repeat daily.
This isn't your first labor? Second and subsequent labors and deliveries are usually — though not always — easier and shorter. Hooray!
At this point, you're about as overdue as you can get, but try to stay calm and don't get too stressed. All is well as long as you're in regular touch with your practitioner and have plans to be induced soon if baby doesn't make an appearance. Get ready: Your little bundle is almost here!
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