42nd Week Pregnancy: Symptoms, Baby Development, Tips, And Body Changes

42nd Week Pregnancy

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If it is the 42nd week of pregnancy, you are overdue. But that does not mean there is something wrong with the delivery or the baby. Every pregnancy is different, and the due date is just an estimate that may be miscalculated sometimes.

So what is it like in the 42nd week of pregnancy? Read this MomJunction post to find out the symptoms of pregnancy in this week, the changes that you and the baby experience, and ways to cope with the situation.

How Many Months Pregnant Are You At 42 Weeks?

At 42 weeks, you are nine months and two weeks pregnant. The baby is completely comfortable at this stage.

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Is It Safe To Deliver At 42 Weeks?

In most cases, it is safe to deliver at 42 weeks as labor happens naturally when the baby reaches full-term. If the delivery does not occur past the 42nd week, there might be certain risks to you and your baby. Some of the possible risks include fetal stress, stillbirth, larger babies and C-section (1).

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How Big Is Your Baby At 42 Weeks?

The baby is about the size of a bigger watermelon this week. Your baby measures around 21in in length and 9lb in weight (2).

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Baby Development In The 42nd Week Of Pregnancy

Your baby is fully developed this week (3).

Body organsDevelopment
SkinDry, cracked, peeling or wrinkled
Internal organsFully developed
FingernailsLong extending the fingertips
LanugoAlmost shed, and no more present
VernixThe coating over the skin will be soaking in the amniotic fluid
HairFully grown on the head
SkullHarder
Palms and solesVisible creases
EyesWide-eyed and more alert

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Symptoms Of Pregnancy That You Experience In Week 42

The common symptoms include:

  • Braxton Hicks contractions: You are likely to have frequent and intense contractions that make your uterus feel hard. If they become regular, they are the real contractions preparing the body for labor.
  • Bloody show: Brown or pink vaginal discharge that is normal and signals labor would start in the next few days. Heavy discharge needs your doctor’s attention.
  • Water breaking: A gush of clear and odorless vaginal fluid that breaks the amniotic sac.
  • Cervical dilation and effacement: The cervix dilates (opens) and effaces (thins out), preparing the baby to pass through the canal.
  • Diarrhea: Intestinal muscles relax, indicating approaching labor and cause abdominal discomfort and diarrhea.
  • Edema: Water retention in the body causes swelling in the hands, feet, and face.
  • Insomnia: The anxiety about labor and discomfort with the fully grown belly causes difficulty in sleeping.
  • Colostrum: The breasts begin to leak yellowish fluid called colostrum that is the precursor of the matured breast milk.
  • Hemorrhoids: The baby’s weight puts pressure on the rectal and pelvic nerves, leading to hemorrhoids that are very painful.
  • Frequent urination: The fully grown uterus applies pressure on the bladder, causing frequent urination.

Since your pregnancy is overdue, your doctor will check for the signs of labor.

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What Are The Signs Of Labor In The 42nd Week?

You might experience the following labor signs in the 42nd week of pregnancy (4):

  • Regular contractions: You will experience painful and true contractions that are different from the false contractions. They develop again and again at a higher intensity and shorter intervals.
  • Water breaking: A constant fluid leakage with rupture of amniotic sac indicates your labor will begin soon.
  • Mucus plug: Discharge of thick blood from the vagina that signals cervix is ready for labor.

It is highly likely that your baby is completely fine and happy there. But in some cases, you might be at a higher risk of complications due to low amniotic fluid, placental problems, and pinched umbilical cord. In these cases, your doctor will recommend ultrasound, cervical check-up, and heart rate monitoring for better examination.

If there is an emergency, your doctor will suggest inducing labor.

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Inducing Labor At 42 Weeks Pregnancy

Following are the methods of induction your doctor or midwife might recommend (5).

  • Breaking your waters: This involves using a plastic hook to break the amniotic sac, resulting in contractions in only a few hours.
  • Ripening the cervix: A medication called prostaglandin is inserted into the vagina and left overnight to cause cervical dilation.
  • Cervical stripping or sweeping: The doctor inserts the gloved finger to swipe the amniotic sac. It releases the oxytocin hormone that induces labor within 48 hours.
  • Administration of oxytocin: IV administration of oxytocin stimulates contractions, which will begin the labor. Oxytocin is administered only after the water bag is broken.

The length of the time for the labor to begin depends on how your body is responding to the induction methods. Once induced, the labor will start in a few hours to two or three days.

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Tips For Mom-To-Be

Here are some tips you should be following to get through the overdue pregnancy safely.

  • Discuss all the changes you are experiencing with your doctor.
  • Go for long walks
  • Do not skip any tests
  • Stay calm and avoid over stress
  • Get enough rest
  • Have sufficient sleep
  • Do some yoga
  • Avoid spicy and fast foods
  • Do not try natural induction methods

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Tips For Dad-To-Be

Some tips for your partner to follow this week:

  • Keep all the insurance and related documents ready to avoid last minute hurry.
  • Understand what your partner is going through and follow the instructions from your doctor when she enters into labor.
  • Check your partner’s preferences, and know what method of induction she would prefer.
  • Know everything about the hospital policies.
  • Ensure you have all the necessary items in the maternity bag.
  • Collect all the contact details of friends and family, should you need to reach them in an emergency.

Next, we answer some frequent queries about overdue pregnancy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it dangerous to go over 42 weeks in pregnancy?

It is not dangerous to go over the 42nd week of pregnancy if both the mother and the baby are doing well. Also, most overdue women enter into labor naturally without a need for cesarean section or induction method (6).

2. Do you have to be induced at 42 weeks?

Most women go into natural labor at 42 weeks. Induction is usually necessary at 42 weeks if you are not going into labor naturally, waters have not broken or if you or your baby has a health problem (7).

Not all pregnancies are the same. The time for delivery and natural labor induction depends on your body type, your health, and the baby’s health. You might become impatient and want your baby to come out soon, but fretting about it won’t help. Just stay calm and prepare for the upcoming delivery procedure. Consult your doctor if you experience any discomfort.

This post marks the end of our pregnancy week-by-week feature. If you have any experiences to share or suggestions to make, please mention in the comment section below.

References:

1. Labor and delivery; Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center (2012)
2. Pregnancy Month By Month; Greenville Health System
3. Postmaturity in the Newborn; University of Rochester Medical Center (2018)
4. When does labor usually start?; National Institutes of Health (NIH)
5. When your baby is overdue; Raising Children Network (2017)
6. Pregnancy and birth: When does labor need to be induced; Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) (2018)
7. Inducing labor; National Health Service (2017)
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Rebecca Malachi

She is a Biotechnologist with a proficiency in areas of genetics, immunology, microbiology, bio-engineering, chemical engineering, medicine, pharmaceuticals to name a few. Her expertise in these fields has greatly assisted her in writing medical and life science articles. With 8+ years of work experience in writing for health and wellness, she is now a full-time contributor for Momjunction.com. She is passionate about giving research-based information to readers in need. Apart from writing, she is a foodie, loves travel, fond of gospel music and enjoys observing nature in silence. Know more about her at: linkedin.com/in/kothapalli-rebecca-35881628
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