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The 42nd week marks as the 10th month of pregnancy, it is considered as a late delivery and post – term. On the contrary, studies show that 70% of post – term pregnancies is not necessarily post – term but a miscalculation of the time of conception.
The mother in week 42
Did you know that only 2% of pregnant women reach week 42? Expectant moms who are long overdue might have had an irregular ovulation or uncertainty about the exact date of her last period, especially if she did not underwent ultrasound before week 18.
Week 42 symptoms
More frequent Braxton – Hicks contractions
Expect more frequent Braxton – Hicks contractions (also known as practice contractions) during the final stage of gestation, this is because the uterine muscles are flexing in preparation for labor.
Braxton – Hicks contractions are the irregular and painless tightening which begins at the top of the uterine muscles and radiates downwards. These contractions begin when the hormones signals the body to gradually start the process of childbirth.Pregnancy week by week
If the contractions have some certain patterns, occurred 4x in an hour and can last up to 30 – 70 seconds each, an over expectant mom may be experiencing the real deal.
Bloody show refers to the trickles of pink or brown tinged mucous discharge (streaked with blood sometimes), this happens when the blood vessels rupture due to cervical dilation and effacement. It serves as a definite sign that labor can start within the next several days.
With that being said, take note to keep an eye on the bloody discharge. Seek immediate medical attention if an over expectant mom experiences the following scenarios:
- Heavy bleeding (equivalent to 2 tablespoonful of blood) that is bright red in color
- Placenta previa – a pregnancy complication where the placenta is positioned deep into the pelvic region which partially covers the cervix
- Placenta abruption – abruptio placentae in medical term, is the vaginal bleeding which goes along with abdominal pain since the placenta separates from the uterine wall
Did you know that only 15% of pregnant women experience water breakage right after labor and delivery begins? Water breakage occurs when the amniotic sac has burst allowing the amniotic fluid to leak out trickles of odorless and colorless discharge.
Moreover, water breakage varies from woman to woman. An over expectant mom must contact the Ob – Gyne if she experiences the following scenarios:
- Amniotic fluid is contaminated (greenish or brownish in color), this indicates that the unborn baby had his 1st bowel movement (meconium) while inside the uterus
- Water breakage occurred in week 37 or less
- Cord prolapse – did you know that only 1% of all pregnancies experience cord prolapse? Cord prolapse is a pregnancy complication where the umbilical cord comes out of the uterus with or before the baby
Cervical dilation and effacement
Cervical dilation (openness measured by centimeters) and effacement (thinness measured by percentage) is the body’s way of providing a passage from the uterus to the birth canal for the baby’s exit route.
The cervix dilates up to 3 centimeters in early labor, 7 centimeters by active labor, and can dilate for up to 10 centimeters when it reaches full cervical dilation.
Mild pregnancy – induced diarrhea
Pregnancy – induced diarrhea serves as an onset for labor during this week. Expect mild diarrhea as the body empties out the intestines to make way for the baby’s passage through the birth canal.
Did you know that about ¾ of pregnant women are affected by edema beginning from week 22 onwards? Edema (swelling feet, ankles, and sometimes hands) is caused by the bodily fluids that are at its peak volume to nurture both the mother and the baby’s.
Aside from the bodily fluids, below are the other factors which cause pregnancy swelling:
- Accumulates the tissues
- Increased blood flow
- Pressure of the expanding uterus on the pelvic veins
- Pressed vena cava – large vein on the right side of the body which circulates the blood coming from the lower abdomen to the heart
Many women experience leaky breasts towards the last stage of gestation. This is because the body is producing colostrum – a thin and yellowish fluid that is a precursor to breast milk.
Fetal development in week 42
Week 42 is considered as a fetal distress and the fetus as an overdue baby. As a matter of fact, about 98% of babies make their debut by the end of this week. Furthermore, here are the fetal developments which are working on the finishing touches during this week:
- During the 42nd week, there are higher chances that the placenta may not be able to provide as much oxygen and nutrients to the unborn baby.
- The baby – in – waiting stretches for about 18.9 – 20.9 inches and tips the scales roughly at 6.2 – 9.2 pounds. But there is no need to worry about as he is unlikely to be big to deliver.
- When the overdue baby finally makes her debut, chances are his skin will probably be wrinkled, dry, cracked, and is peeling off. That is because the cheesy coating called the vernix caseosa has shed weeks ago in anticipation of the estimated due date that has come and gone. On the bright side, a newborn’s skin does not need any skin treatments since all of which are temporary and a new layer of skin underneath will soon resurface.
- The fuzzy coating called lanugo has either completely shed or remains are left on his skin (swirls of hair strands during childbirth).
- Nails have extended longer past the toes and fingertips.
- Hair on his scalp continues to grow longer.
Pregnancy tips and to do’s
42 weeks of pregnancy (10th month) is considered as the ultimate stage and an expectant (probably an over expectant) mother’s final week to make it a habit to do the following tips and to do’s for the baby’s safety and well – being.
Things to do during the 42nd week of pregnancy
Labor induction aims to limit all pregnancies to 39 weeks only. Labor is induced if an expectant mom is:
- Pregnancy complications such as pre – eclampsia, diabetes, gestational diabetes, placenta problems, low amount of amniotic fluid, various infections
- Membranes have ruptured (water breakage)
- Baby is not thriving
Hire a post – partum doula
For first – time parents, it is highly recommended to hire a post – partum doula. A post – partum doula provides support and care for both the mother and the baby such as:
- Breastfeeding advice
- Child care
- Light cleaning
Perineal massage minimizes the stinging sensation during labor and delivery. Below are the following step – by – step procedure on how to perform a perineal massage:
- Insert clean thumbs into the vaginal opening
- Press down and gently slide across the perineum (the skin or area between the anus and the vulva) and back
- Do this for at least 5 minutes a day
Non – stress test
A non – stress test (abbreviated as NST) is ordered for pregnant women who have the factors that could cause them fetal distress (due date passes by but the baby stays put) and vice versa.
This test is considered as a 3rd trimester check which examines the following:
- Measures fetal heart rate
- Notes changes in fetal heart rhythm when the baby goes from resting to moving
- Records fetal movement
A NST is necessary to order for pregnant women who carry multiple gestation or pre –eclampsia. This test is performed with the following step – by step procedures below:
- The medical practitioner will let her sit in a chair or lean back in a gurney table
- Two stretchy belts with monitors attached to it are placed around her belly
- One belt measures the fetal heartbeat and the other belt sense the uterine contractions
- The expectant mom will be asked hold a clicker contraption and each time she feels the baby’s movements, she must press the button so that the practitioner can see how the fetal heart rate alters while moving
- Monitoring lasts for about 20 – 40 minutes
- Senses the uterine activity
- Checking the unborn baby’s health
- Records contractions
After the test, there are 2 expected results:
- Reactive – if a lot of fetal movements and a normal heart rate are recorded. The fetus is considered healthy and will likely stay put for the next 3 – 7 days
- Non – reactive – if a baby has limited fetal movements
The biophysical profile (abbreviated as BPP) is a pre – natal ultrasound evaluation of fetal well – being which involves a scoring system called the Manning’s score; it is accompanied by a special ultrasound and the profiling lasts for at least 30 minutes.
A BPP evaluates four aspects of life in – utero such as:
- Fetal breathing count
- Fetal movement and muscle tone assessment
- Fetal tone – fetal ability to flex his finger or toe
- Amount of amniotic fluid surrounding the unborn baby
A BPP is necessary for pregnant women who suffer from risk factors such as:
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- If she carries twins or multiples
- Estimated due date has come and gone
Sleep on the left side of the body
Sleeping on the left side of the body aids in the optimum circulation and reduces edema.
Wear nursing pads
Wear nursing pads whenever the breasts begin to leak colostrum to prevent her clothes from getting wet.
What to avoid in week 42
Engaging in vices
Vices are considered as immoral practices which are harmful to the human body and can cause birth defects. Even in the final stage of gestation, an over expectant mom must still discipline herself to not engage in vices such as the following below:
- Smoking cigarettes or e – cigarettes
- Chewing tobaccos
- Drinking beverages with alcoholic content
- Sleeping aid intake
Food and beverages with caffeine content
Caffeine is a form of psychoactive drug which disrupts the sleeping cycle of both parties; it is also a central nervous system stimulant which triggers a more frequent urination. Aside from coffee, here are the following food and beverages with caffeine content:
- Soft drinks
- Energy drinks
- Caffeinated snacks and candies
- Some herbal teas or tea brews
- Low calorie colas with aspartame or saccharine content
- Non – cola carbonated soda with aspartame content