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!
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.
Sign 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!
- Water breaking If you’re leaking amniotic fluid or if your water breaks in one huge gush, call your doctor. Labor will probably begin within hours.
- Regular contractions 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. (Yay!)
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.
Development of Baby
At 42 weeks pregnant, baby is the size of a watermelon- a bigger watermelon than last week. The average 42-week fetus measures 20.6 inches (52.4 cm) and weighs 8.1 pounds (3.7 kilogram). Yup, baby’s still growing! But don’t worry, he or she is unlikely to be too big to deliver vaginally.
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!