You’re 42 weeks pregnant!
Being officially full term at 42 weeks pregnant can feel different to each woman who reaches this milestone.
Some are elated, calm and patient – happy to wait until baby is ready to start labour.
Others are exhausted, anxious and frustrated by the whole thing.
Around 98% of babies will be born in the 42nd week of gestation, either on their own or by induction.
You will be starting your new journey as a parent very soon!
It’s not likely that you’ve experienced many big changes in your body over the past couple of weeks. You will probably have more swelling, especially your feet and ankles.
Keep resting as much as possible which can help take the pressure off your back and uterus.
There is about 4kg or more of baby, placenta and amniotic fluid slowing you down. Sitting with your feet up might feel like your only option.
42 Weeks Pregnant – Your Body
Being 42 weeks pregnant can be tough. You feel like you’ve been pregnant forever and it seems that everyone else who was pregnant at the same time as you has given birth already.
You’re tired, exhausted and more than ready for this to be over. But you’re also super close to going into labour. It could happen at any minute — even while you’re reading this article. Seriously!
Something else which can be really tough during this week of pregnancy is the medical pressure for an induction or a c-section.
If you’re feeling pressure from your care provider about being ‘overdue', it can be hard to resist the seduction of an induction, especially if you’re completely over being pregnant. But remember, once you begin the process to induce labour, you are committed to getting your baby out – even if that means a c-section becomes necessary.
Read about the differences between a natural and induced labour here.
If your baby is not showing any signs of stress, you can negotiate with your care provider to come in for daily monitoring. This means you’ll have the electronic fetal monitor attached to your belly to trace your baby’s heartrate. After all, they do want to make sure baby is happy and healthy, just like you.
You can also agree to a scan to check that the placenta is still functioning well. Having your partner or a trusted friend (who is on your team, supporting your choices) to come with you to appointments can be a huge help, especially if the pressure is on.
Ask your care provider questions to help you make an informed decision about your care. If you don't know what to ask, you can use BRAIN'D as a way to get the information you need:
B – what are the benefits?
R – what are the risks?
A – what are the alternatives?
I – what do I want to do?
N – what happens if I do nothing?
D – we'd like some privacy to make a decision
If you're really feeling the pressure from your care provider, ask for some privacy to make a decision and have them step out of the room or go for a walk yourself. Making decisions under pressure can result in decisions we didn’t really want.
If it’s too much for you, let your partner or birth support person know what your preference for care is and let them be your advocate. This can be a vulnerable time, so allow yourself to be supported when you need to.
42 Weeks Pregnant – Your Baby
By 42 weeks pregnant, your baby will probably be a little wrinkly and her skin might be drying out and peeling. Her fingernails are also likely to be long and can cause scratches on her face so make sure you have mittens on hand for the days after birth.
It's possible at 42 weeks for your baby to have passed her first bowel movement while still in the uterus. This first poo is called meconium and usually causes no problems, unless your baby inhales it into her lungs. Meconium aspiration is most likely to happen when your baby is distressed which is an added reason why monitoring is suggested at 42 weeks.
If your waters break and are a greenish or yellowish colour, this indicates your baby has passed meconium already. It doesn't mean your baby is necessarily in danger but be sure to let your care provider know as they will want to check for fetal distress.
At 42 weeks pregnant, your baby’s weight is likely somewhere between 3–4 kilograms, and she is anywhere from 47-53 cm long.
Well, that’s it mama. Now that you're 42 weeks pregnant, you’ve come to the end of our pregnancy week by week feature. BellyBelly wishes you an amazing, gentle and empowered birth experience that you’ll cherish forever.
We hope our resources have helped you to feel prepared and more confident about birth and your options.
Enjoy your babymoon, and when your baby arrives (or for a sneak peak on what to expect next), be sure to check out our baby week by week series!
Recommended reading: 4 reasons why you should hibernate after the birth.