42 weeks pregnant

42 weeks pregnant! Is that even possible!?”, you may be desperately saying to yourself this week.

Well, yes, it’s actually quite possible. Don’t forget that only about 5% of all babies are born on their due date, and around half are born after. The most common reason for a baby being overdue is that they are, in fact, not overdue at all! The much more likely explanation is that the doctor miscalculated exactly when you conceived, which usually happens if a woman has irregular ovulation or menstruation the month of conception. 

If your baby is in fact overdue during pregnancy week 42, and it’s not a miscalculation, don’t worry. Although you may be feeling desperate to get him out, he’s still safe and sound in there. Take a look at this easy guide to learn everything you need to know about week 42 pregnancy.


42 weeks pregnant: Baby could use some pampering

As you already know, your bun has been ready to come out of the oven for at least a couple of weeks by the time you’re 42 weeks pregnant, physiologically speaking. Maybe you should even feel proud of yourself; you’ve provided him with such a comfortable environment inside the womb that he just doesn’t want to go anywhere! Surprisingly, it’s actually fairly normal for babies to go into the 10th month of pregnancy and it can be perfectly healthy, all the way through the end of this week. There are just a few things that may differentiate a baby born during pregnancy week 42 from those born earlier: 

  • His skin will be most likely be cracked and dry, or even peeling. This is because the vernix caseosa that kept his skin protected during most of the pregnancy has already been shed, leaving his skin vulnerable. Don’t worry, though. His skin will heal quickly after birth, with the help of a nice bath and moisturizing creams, and he’ll be completely normal.
  • His finger and toe nails have been growing this whole time! So you’ll probably need to clip them shortly after birth.
  • Usually babies born at 42 weeks pregnant will have more hair, simply because it has had more time to grow.
  • Most likely, there will be no traces of lanugo left on his body, which can still appear on babies that were born a few weeks earlier.


42 weeks pregnant: The end is nigh!

After 42 weeks, pregnancy is almost certainly driving you crazy! The best words to describe how you’re feeling this week might include anxious, desperate or impatient. It’s understandable—you’ve been dealing with pretty nasty symptoms for several weeks by this point! But it will be over any day now, and you’ll be able to finally wrap your arms around your little angel. 

You almost certainly already know the symptoms of labour, but at 42 weeks pregnant be sure to look out for:

  • Diarrhoea and nausea – some people call this your body’s way of cleaning itself out before giving birth
  • Colostrum, or pre-milk leaking from your breasts – this means that your hormones are gearing up to make your breasts start producing milk
  • Bloody show – when your discharge looks pinkish or brownish, labour is usually just a couple of days away
  • Cervical dilation – you may be feeling soreness in the area
  • Increased Braxton Hicks contractions – both in frequency and intensity
  • Waters breaking – when your amniotic sac ruptures, your contractions should start soon. If they don’t, call your practitioner immediately
  • Genuine contractions – If they become very intense, last more than 45 seconds, and come more often than every 5 minutes, your baby will probably arrive within a few hours. Head to your birthing place!


42 weeks pregnant: Make it happen!

In almost every circumstance, the doctors will induce labour if it hasn’t occurred naturally by the time pregnancy week 42 ends. Induced labour, as was thoroughly explained in the 41 weeks pregnant article, is when the doctor uses one of several methods to force your body to go into labour. They’re not surgical, painful, or dangerous, so don’t worry! Once the labour has been induced, everything else should happen just like a normal labour. 

Doctors will usually start talking to pregnant women about this option at the beginning of week 41, but may choose to wait until your are 42 weeks pregnant to intervene. Once you have gone past your due date, your doctor will call you in to talk to you about your options.

Some women, however, do not want to have an induction. If this is your preference, the doctor will want to keep a very close eye on the health and general progress of your baby, including his heart rate and stress levels inside the womb. After pregnancy week 42, the amniotic fluid slowly become less able to provide oxygen and nutrients to your baby, so it’s important to get him out of there.


As anxious as you may be feeling at 42 weeks pregnant, your little one is more than likely safe and sound. He’s either just taking his time to come out and say hello, or you’ll need to give him a little kick out the door (Hopefully this isn’t foreshadowing for what he’ll be like as a young adult!). For now, be on the lookout for any of the pre-labour symptoms that we’ve described, and try to take advantage of the extra time you’ve been given to prepare or rest before your baby arrives! And just know that by the end of week, you’ll be cuddling and kissing your little guy!


Need help? Ask other mummies in CaptainMums' forum!


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