Bump Update: Week 42
How are you doing? Are you hanging in there? Do you feel like you’re the only person in the world whose pregnancy has lasted THIS long? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Most first-time moms go past their due date. In fact, only five percent of babies are actually born on their due date. If they decide to wait to go into labor naturally, most first-time moms tend to deliver at 41 weeks and one day. Mamas who aren’t having their first baby should have a slightly shorter pregnancy, usually delivering at 40 weeks and three days. But (and here's the most important statistic for you, at this point in your pregnancy) only 10 percent of mamas go longer than 42 weeks. So whether this is your first baby or not, you’re definitely near the end! Hold on, mama! You're so, so close!
Are you still asking, “Why me?” Well, before you get too down about still being pregnant, you should know (if you don’t already) that the reason you’re probably still pregnant is that your due date was miscalculated. This is because most doctors use the first day of the last menstrual period and add 280 days (or 40 weeks). But as most of us know, periods can be affected by so many things, including (but not limited to) unusual stress, getting sick, or going on a vacation. And many women don’t have a consistent 28-day period. Instead, they might have periods that are shorter or longer than the standard 28 days. Because of this, you might deliver later than your estimated due date if your cycles are longer. Or earlier, if your cycles are shorter. And if you’re expecting a boy, one study found that you’re more likely to go into labor after your due date. So if you're having a boy and your cycles are usually a little longer, that might explain why you're forty-two weeks pregnant, and well...still pregnant. One thing that does seem to be very consistent is that, now that you’re at 42 weeks, your OB-GYN or midwife will most likely want to deliver your baby very soon. At 40 weeks, most doctors will choose to induce labor. In contrast, most midwives commonly wait until 42 weeks. Now that you’re past both of those dates, and because of the increased risk for decreased amniotic fluid and the fact that your placenta may not be functioning as well as it should, you’ll probably be induced. To induce labor, your doctor will most likely break your water, strip your membranes, or administer hormones that prepare your cervix and help contractions begin.
Since you’re definitely full-term now (most doctors now consider thirty-nine weeks to be full-term), your baby should be fully developed. So, what’s happening this week in your baby’s body? Well, he’s just continuing to grow and put on weight. Right now, he is the size of a pumpkin, weighing in over eight pounds and measuring over twenty inches long. And by the time he’s born, he will have shed his protective vernix, leaving his skin more dry and wrinkled than a baby who’s born early. His fingernails and hair will probably be longer, as well.
You’re obviously anxious for your baby to arrive, but I’m sure by now you’ve realized that many, many other people are waiting to hear the happy news! If these well-meaning loved ones are starting to add more stress to your life by constantly checking in, maybe consider asking someone else to keep them updated. Or you could post regular updates on social media, set up your voicemail with special messages sharing updates, or post any news (or lack thereof) on your blog.