Baby Growth at 42 Weeks Pregnant
Hello week 42! Your baby should be here any day now. A pregnancy that is between 41 and 42 weeks is referenced as what some would call late term. If your baby has yet to arrive, don’t worry as it is quite normal to have a pregnancy last 42 weeks. Fun fact: about 30% of pregnancies go over the 40 week mark, and over 80% of those give birth within two weeks. A baby is considered full term between 37 to 42 weeks. A pregnancy is not considered overdue until you go past 42 weeks. Most doctors and midwives don’t mind allowing you to go a few days over your estimated due date as long as everything seems to be okay, and mom and baby are healthy.
After 42 weeks however, the baby's health might be at risk. This is when your doctor might start talking to you about inducing your labor. Women with high-risk pregnancies may be induced closer to their due date or sooner, depending on their situation. Some risks of complications require induction well before the due date. For low-risk pregnancies, your doctor may want you to go to 42 weeks before inducing labor.
There are a few ways to speed up the course of things if your baby is behind schedule. The safest and most effective way is to see your doctor as they can provide medication or use other medical techniques to bring on labor more quickly.
During a vaginal examination, the doctor might start making circular movements around your cervix with their fingers to help release something prostaglandins. This is a simple procedure that can be done right in the doctor’s office.
The doctor can also go in and break your water bag for you at the hospital. This is where your doctor uses a small hook-like medical tool and inserts it into your vagina to poke a hole in the amniotic sac that is holding the amniotic fluid. This will increase the pressure of your baby's head that is on your cervix, which typically helps to initiate labor. Medication that acts like oxytocin may also be given to start the contractions as well.
As your baby remains cozy in your belly, at 42 weeks the baby is the same size as the previous week; still the size of a pumpkin, weighing about 8.3 pounds and approximately 20.3 inches. Your baby may still put on a little weight. Not only has your baby gained more weight, but they added a few more brain cells. Babies born closer to 42 weeks will now have long nails and hair. Babies born later do sometimes tend to be a tad bit bigger than earlier full-term babies. Post term babies also tend to be more alert at birth, thanks to all that extra time spent in your belly.
You And Your Body at Pregnancy 42 Weeks
You will continue to have regular Braxton Hicks contractions; just stronger and more intense. Don’t confuse these with labor contractions, as labor contractions are continuous, shorter intervals, and increased strength all the way until you deliver – a noticeable difference.
At this time your body may begin experiencing some signs of labor as well. Some women experience the loss of the mucus plug or also known as a bloody show. This is a thick discharge of mucus that forms at the cervix during pregnancy. When the cervix starts to open, sometimes days before labor begins, the plug gets pushed into the vagina. This then begins to build up in the vagina, and that is when you see a pink, or light bloody discharge; a good indication that the cervix is preparing for delivery.
You are likely to have problems with swelling this week as well. Your ankles and feet may be a bit swollen as they are retaining more water. It may also be harder to walk shorter distances or stay on your feet for long periods of time. In this case, try to stay off your feet and get more rest.
When the baby is almost ready to make its entrance, a woman’s amniotic sac will break and amniotic fluid will begin to leak out. It can come out lightly, in a trickling effect or a sudden gush. This happens because your contractions or baby is putting pressure on the bag. Once your water breaks, delivery is likely to occur soon after. You will want to reach out to your doctor immediately.
Typical Symptoms at 42 Weeks Pregnant
Besides the signs of labor, it is not uncommon to experience nausea, back pain, pelvic pain, and frequent urination during this time.
Your belly may even lower or drop more into your pelvis, helping you prepare for baby’s arrival. This can all cause more fatigue and discomfort. There is a lot going on with your body right now. Just hang in there and stay positive.
Pregnancy Week 42 Tips and Advice
Monitor your baby’s movement in your belly. A decrease in the movements of the baby can be a sign that the placenta is not transferring oxygen and nutrients to the baby properly as it should. This can be alarming as this can lead to poor growth of the baby or even cause stillbirth, which is why doctors take a decline in a baby’s movement seriously. This is when doctors then encourage you to have the baby monitored with a non-stress test. This procedure is done when a technician straps a belly monitor to your abdomen and monitors the baby’s heart rate. Don’t worry as they don’t actually do anything to cause the baby any stress. An ultrasound may even be completed to check the placenta and amount of amniotic fluid, to double check all is well and there are no issues.
An overdue pregnancy can be exhausting and stressful. Take time out for yourself daily and try to relax. You want to remain active but avoid strenuous exercise. Walks are always a great idea, as it is low impact. Have sex, eat healthy foods and keep yourself relaxed and at peace during this time. Hang in there mama, any day now you’ll be holding your sweet baby in your arms!