40 weeks pregnant illustration

42 Weeks Pregnant

You’re Almost There!
Baby is as big as a watermelon

Key Takeaways at 42 Weeks Pregnant

  • You’re more than ready to get this show on the road. It won’t be much longer yet. Your doctor has probably already broached the topic of induction.
  • You’ll probably get a biophysical profile this week—a non-stress test and ultrasound to make sure baby is still in tip-top shape and that you have adequate amniotic fluid.
  • A “post-term” pregnancy is linked to certain risks for potential complications, including placental problems, so you’ll almost definitely be delivering by the end of this gestational week.

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 (if your pregnancy dating is accurate!). So you’ll get to meet baby really soon—we promise!

Video Recap at 42 Weeks

Watch Week 42 Highlights

Baby at Week 42

If you’re reading this, you’re one of the rare moms-to-be who makes it to 42 weeks pregnant. If you notice a decrease in the way baby moves, call your heathcare provider immediately.

How big is baby at 42 weeks?

At 42 weeks pregnant, baby is the size of a watermelon—a bigger watermelon than last week. The average 42-week fetus measures 20.3 inches and weighs 8.1 pounds. Yup, baby is still growing! But don’t worry, they’re unlikely to be too big to deliver vaginally.

42 weeks pregnant is how many months

Forty-two weeks pregnant is 10 months and about two weeks. Yes, it happens!

42 week ultrasound

Due to 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 biophysical profile will be given to make sure baby is still moving well, has plenty of amniotic fluid, is breathing well and has a healthy heart rate. Because your 42-week baby has probably shed the vernix caseosa (that filmy stuff that covered their skin), the skin is probably getting a little dry at this point.


Pregnancy Symptoms at Week 42

What happens at 42 weeks of pregnancy? Well, 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 and 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 their debut.

Signs of Labor at 42 Weeks

At 42 weeks pregnant, the 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 that 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).

Inducing Labor at 42 Weeks

At this point, your doctor has probably already discussed some induction options. One or more of the below options may be necessary.

Stripping the membranes

At 42 weeks pregnant, this technique might be the thing that tips you over the edge into labor. Your doctor uses a finger to swipe around the amniotic sac. The hormones released often cause contractions within 48 hours.

Breaking your water

Your doctor breaks the amniotic sac with an instrument that looks like a plastic croshet hook. This can cause contractions in just hours.

Ripening your cervix

A medication called prostaglandin is inserted vaginally overnight or taken orally 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.

Rest assured that as long as baby is being watched with an eagle eye, they’re doing just fine in there. And they may be comfy inside your uterus, but they can’t stay there forever!

How many weeks overdue is safe?

At 42 weeks pregnant, risks are higher for complications such as placental problems, low amniotic fluid and a pinched umbilical cord. And if baby gets too big, you may have to deliver by c-section. Because of those increased risks, your doctor may recommend a medical labor induction at 42 weeks if tests show it isn’t safe for baby to stay in utero much longer. Ways your doctor can induce labor.

What is the longest a woman has been pregnant?

It’s hard to know for sure! In 1945, a Los Angeles woman gave birth after reportedly being pregnant for 375 days (for comparison, the typical pregnancy lasts 280 days). In 2016, a woman in China claimed she was 17 months pregnant, but she didn’t have medical records to back her up and doctors expressed a sizable dose of skepticism. In any case, we’re pretty sure your pregnancy won’t be breaking any records!

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.

Julie Lamppa

APRN, certified nurse midwife at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and co-author of *Obstetricks: Mayo Clinic Tips and Tricks for Pregnancy, Birth and More

Tips for 42 Weeks Pregnant

The good news? One way or another, baby is coming this week. Here’s what you can do in the meantime.

Relax as much as you can

If you’re worrying about how long things are taking and suffering from those 42 weeks pregnant symptoms, it’s easy to get stressed out. Try calming your mind with prenatal yoga, meditation or even a soothing scalp massage from your partner. You can also relax by taking some deep, slow breaths—and that can help prepare you for labor!

Do your kick counts

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.

Set up online deliveries for supplies

If you haven’t done so already, set up regular deliveries of diapers, wipes and other essentials on your favorite shopping sites. No more last-minute or late-night runs to the store!

Double check your hospital bag

You probably packed this several weeks ago, so you may want to give it a quick once-over and make sure you have everything you need.

Treat yourself

Want to nap in the middle of the day? How about ordering a new lipstick in a pretty pink or bold red color? Maybe you just want to indulge in a scoop of ice cream? Whatever it is, go for it—at 42 weeks pregnant, you deserve to pamper yourself!

I was so anxious about being induced—I tried everything I could to avoid it. In the end, it wasn't nearly what I spent weeks worrying about. With my first I had all the first-time-mom anxiety, so being in the hospital for my entire labor (no having my water break on the subway) actually eased my concerns.

Lauren K., mom of two

Pregnancy Checklist at Week 42

Reminders for the week:

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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