42 Weeks Pregnant | Pregnancy Week By Week
42 WEEKS PREGNANT
Well, here it is – the week you’ll finally get to meet your little one! Bet you didn’t think you’d still be pregnant at 42 weeks, did you? Whether the baby comes on his own within the next few days or your doctor has scheduled an induction for this week, one way or another, you’ll be holding your baby in your arms by the week’s end!
Babies born at 42 weeks are considered post-term babies, and while it’s rare that pregnant women make it to 42 weeks without giving birth, it does happen, and it could just mean your dates were off a bit. Whatever the reason, if you haven’t decided on a name yet, you better get to deciding because your baby is going to be here in a matter of days!
At 42 weeks pregnant, your little one is as big as a watermelon (a slightly bigger watermelon than last week!). Your baby will weigh about 8.1 pounds and will measure around 20.3 inches, give or take.
PREGNANCY SYMPTOMS WEEK 42
This is the last week you’ll have to deal with pregnancy symptoms. It’s okay to jump up and down in excitement at that thought. Who knows, maybe a little jumping is all you need to get labor going! The pregnancy symptoms you’ll have at 42 weeks are pretty much a repeat of the symptoms you’ve had for the last several weeks.
- Braxton Hicks contractions. Yep, you’re more than familiar with these practice contractions. You’ll need to pay a bit more attention to the frequency you’re experiencing them this week, though, because they could turn into real labor contractions.
- Diarrhea. Diarrhea in the last few weeks of pregnancy could mean that labor is on the way. Your intestinal muscles are relaxing, which is usually the cause for the diarrhea. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and pay attention to any other signs your body might be giving you that could mean labor is on its way!
- Swelling in ankles and feet. You may notice an increase in the amount of swelling in your feet and ankles this week. Try to rest with your feet propped up and drink plenty of fluids. If the swelling is severe and/or comes on suddenly, contact your OB right away.
- Leaky breasts. It’s not unusual to wake up in the morning with the front of your shirt soaked through at the end of pregnancy. Your breasts are leaking colostrum, which is the first bit of breastmilk your baby will receive from you when you breastfeed after delivery. The leaking can happen during the day, too, so you may want to use breast pads in your bra to soak it up.
- Difficulty sleeping. You’re feeling a lot of anxiety about labor and impending motherhood, you’re getting up to pee constantly, and you’re so uncomfortable right now, which can make it hard to fall asleep and/or stay asleep. Once the baby is born, you’ll sleep a little better at night thanks to the exhaustion taking care of a newborn will cause, but you’ll probably still be up every couple of hours for night-time feedings. It’ll be quite awhile before you get to sleep for than a few hours at a time!
42 WEEK BABY BUMP
Remember how much you oohed and aahed over your growing belly back in the earlier months of your pregnancy? Yeah. You’re probably not doing too much of that these days, are you? No. These days you’re just over it! Go ahead and pose for that one last baby bump picture, though. You’ll want to have it to look back on later.
At 42 weeks, either the baby is going to finally decide to come on its own, meaning labor could start any minute, or your doctor may decide to induce you to go ahead and get baby out if it doesn’t look like labor is going to happen spontaneously.
Here are the signs that labor is starting that you’ll need to watch for this week:
- Water breaking. This will either happen as a large gush of fluid or it’ll happen as a slow, constant trickle of fluid. Either way, contact your OB as soon as you notice it’s happened. Your contractions should start within a few hours if they haven’t already.
- Contractions. Real labor contractions are much more painful than the Braxton Hicks contractions you’ve been having for months. True labor contractions are constant, and they’ll happen at more regular intervals. If you suspect you’re having real labor contractions, contact your OB who will tell you when to head to the hospital.
- Loss of mucus plug/blood show. Sometimes when labor will be starting soon, you might have some discharge that has a mucus consistency and may or may not be tinged with blood. Not all women notice or experience this, so don’t worry if you don’t!
If it doesn’t look like labor is going to start on its own, or if your doctor decides the risks for the baby are too high to wait and see if labor will start on its own, you’ll probably be induced. There are several ways your doctor can induce labor:
- Breaking your water. Your doctor will use a tool that looks like a plastic hook to pop a small hole in the amniotic sac to break your water. Contractions will usually start within a few hours of your water breaking.
- Stripping the membranes. The doctor will sweep his fingers around the amniotic sac. This causes hormones to be released that usually will kickstart contractions in a day or two.
- Ripening the cervix. A suppository is placed inside your vagina, up against the cervix, and is left there overnight to help dilate the cervix.
- IV medications. You’ll be given oxytocin through an IV, which will stimulate your uterus and cause it to begin contracting.
42 WEEKS PREGNANT ULTRASOUND
While it’s perfectly normal for a baby to be born past their due date, by the time you reach 42 weeks, your doctor will be paying much closer attention to both you and the baby to make sure all is well with both of you. Because of this, you’ll likely have an ultrasound this week and undergo a non-stress test. If there are concerns with the results of the ultrasound or the non-stress test, your doctor will decide to go ahead and induce right away.
When your baby is born by the end of the week, his or her skin might be a little dry and wrinkled. This is because the protective coating on the baby’s skin (vernix caseosa) was shed several weeks ago in anticipation of birth.
WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING AT 42 WEEKS PREGNANT?
At 42 weeks pregnant, you should be getting as much rest as possible. You can also do things to try to start labor on your own, such as taking long walks, eating spicy food, and having sex! Also, put your mind at ease about the safety of your baby at 42 weeks pregnant by talking to your doctor about the risks and if/when your doctor will decide to go ahead and induce you. And lastly, enjoy holding your sweet baby in your arms when he or she finally makes an appearance!
- Sam C's Editorial Team