Week by Week

What pregnant women need to know in week 42 of pregnancy?

By Medically reviewed by Dr. Duyen Le.

msBahasa Malaysia

Baby’s Development

How is my baby growing?

At the 42nd-week mark, your pregnancy can already be considered overdue (i.e. over your estimated due date). However, it is important to understand that this is, by no means, an indication of there being something wrong with your baby. In fact, most newborns do not actually arrive on their due date. Rather, newborns, in most cases, only arrive within 2 weeks of the due date, which essentially means the fact that your baby has not arrived yet itself is nothing to really worry about. 98% of newborns arrive before the end of the 42nd week, so your baby will likely arrive sooner than you think.

Your baby at this stage should have the size of a big jackfruit or a watermelon, depending on the fruit you are more familiar with. Despite the large size of your baby at this stage, however, you should still be able to normally deliver him or her through your vagina like other mothers.

While overdue pregnancies are perfectly normal, your overdue baby may display certain features such as slightly longer hair or nails and dry, cracked, peeling, or wrinkled skin. The mentioned condition of your child’s skin is, in most cases, temporary and is due to the shedding of their protective vernix around the time of the previously anticipated due date.

Body & Life Changes

How is my body changing?

In week 42 of your pregnancy, you will likely experience the same pregnancy symptoms as those of the previous weeks. These symptoms include leg cramps, sleeping difficulties, backaches, pelvic pressure, hemorrhoids, frequent urination, and contractions. You may also experience psychological stress and this is only expected. What you can do for yourself and your baby is try to relax and let your child come out when he or she wants to.

Keep in mind that your baby will likely arrive by the end of this week, so you should also keep an eye out for symptoms of labor. These include:

  • (Possibly bloody) mucus discharge
  • Water breaking
  • Constant and intensive contractions at short intervals

What should I be concerned about?

While overdue pregnancies are not alarming themselves, patients with a 42-week pregnancy are at higher risks certain complications such as:

  • Placental problems
  • Low amniotic fluid
  • Pinched umbilical cord
  • The need to use the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
  • Possible physical injuries during the delivery
  • The need to perform a Cesarean section

Your Doctor Visits

What should I tell my doctor?

In your doctor appointments, you should discuss any possible complications that may affect your pregnancy at this stage, such as the ones mentioned above.

During this 42nd week, you should also keep up with your kick counts as much as you have been doing in your 3rd trimester. If there are any changes in the kick frequency, you should notify your doctor and/or obstetrics immediately.

Other signs you should look out for include any abnormal discharge, bleeding, or abdominal pain. If you experience any of these symptoms, you must immediately notify your doctor.

What tests should I know about?

At this stage of your pregnancy, it is very important for your doctor to keep an even closer watch on your pregnancy. This is due to the fact that overdue pregnancies tend to be exposed to higher risks of complications than other pregnancies. That being said, as long as your baby is under close surveillance and has shown no worrying signs, he or she should be completely fine.

During this time, your doctor will likely also perform certain tests to ensure the wellbeing of your baby. These tests include a 42-week-pregnant ultrasound, a non-stress test, and possibly a contraction stress test. The purpose of these tests is to ensure that your baby is moving well, breathing well, has sufficient amniotic fluid, and a healthy heart rate.

Due to the increased risk associated with overdue pregnancy, your doctor may also, at this stage, consider performing medical labor induction. This method may be necessary if test results show that your baby should not stay inside much longer. Different methods of inducing labor include:

  • Stripping the membranes: The doctor will use their finger to swipe around the amniotic sac which will cause the release of certain hormones that can, in turn, cause contractions within the next 48 hours
  • Breaking your water: The doctor may also break your amniotic sac with a specialized tool. This method may cause contractions to happen within a few hours
  • Ripening your cervix: In this method, the doctor will insert a certain type of medication known as prostaglandin in your vagina. Overnight, the medication will help dilate your cervix
  • Stimulating contractions: This is done using an IV and a synthetic version of oxytocin, which can help stimulate contractions

Health & Safety

What should I know about being healthy and safe while pregnant?

Here are a few tips to help you with your overdue pregnancy:

  • Keep your doctor updated always
  • Thoroughly discuss with your doctor about your options
  • Don’t skimp out on any test
  • Take more long walks
  • Try your best to avoid stress
  • Brace yourself for symptoms such as pelvic pain, sleeping difficulties, contractions, and other pregnancy symptoms, all at a more intense level

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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