Pregnancy week 42 – This is it … for real

May 24, 2013 12:00 AM by

YOUR CHANGING LIFE

Relax – this is your last week
Welcome to week 42 of your pregnancy. Did you ever think that you would be one of those women who makes it to this point? Even though it might feel like you're the most pregnant woman on earth, you're actually not alone. Plenty of moms-to-be have post-term babies, and it's not always because they're actually "late." In fact, studies have shown that 70 percent of post-term births are actually right on schedule. This is because it's not always easy or accurate to calculate a due date, especially when women can't recall the date of their last period or experience irregular ovulation.

So what's actually going on with you this week? Pretty much the same old stuff, which you're well-versed in by now. While you're probably really tired of dealing with pregnancy symptoms and answering the phone to talk to eager relatives who are wondering where your baby is, the good news is that it'll all be over by the end of this week. By Sunday, your little one will finally give up his or her spot in your womb or your doctor will induce labor or perform a cesarean section. The bottom line is that he or she is coming out!

While you may be experiencing the same uncomfortable sensations that you've been dealing with for a while now, anxiety and stress might start to take control this week if you're not careful about keeping your cool. Tension and stress can both have an averse effect on labor, so it's important to stay calm and get plenty of rest while you wait it out this week. Watch a few movies, catch up on your favorite shows and just try to relax as you keep up your newborn preparation!

YOUR BABY THIS WEEK

From even bigger jackfruit to newborn baby
There's no real point in likening your baby's size to fruits and vegetables anymore, since he or she is definitely baby-sized this week. Actually, he or she might be around 8 or 9 pounds if it's really a post-term birth! Your little one has been gaining weight slower than he or she was a few weeks ago now that there's less room, but there's definitely still some growing happening.

When your bundle of joy finally decides to come out, you might notice that his or her skin is a little rashy. Dryness, redness, wrinkling, peeling and cracking are all possible, because the protective coating (or vernix) that was keeping your baby's skin from the amniotic fluid started shedding weeks ago when your due date was approaching. It's nothing to worry about though, and it's all only temporary.

Your baby might also have longer nails, longer or thicker hair and none of that fuzzy lanugo that most babies are born with. He or she might also be more alert. That's what happens when he or she has extra time to grow!

HOW TO

Recover from a C-section
Even if you've been paying attention to natural pregnancy tips and have been preparing for a vaginal birth this whole time, the chances of a vaginal delivery get slimmer and slimmer every day past your due date, especially if you have narrow hips. That's because your baby's been growing bigger and bigger, and he or she might not be able to fit comfortably in the birth canal anymore! In this case, you'll need a C-section, which means you'll have a few other things to keep in mind once your baby is born.

Moms who have C-sections typically stay in the hospital for two to four days after delivery, but that doesn't mean that the recovery period ends there! It's going to take weeks for you to fully recover from the C-section – after all, it's a pretty major abdominal surgery! However, don't stress out too much. Even though you'll be taking care of a new baby and recovering from surgery, you should get plenty of help from your partner, family and friends. There's also a lot of single mother support options available.

Right after the surgery, you'll probably feel a little foggy and maybe even a bit nauseous. Lots of moms also get really itchy – but both nausea and itchiness can be taken care of with medication, which you'll have plenty of access to in the hospital. Don't hesitate to ask for help from your doctor or nurse if you feel uncomfortable in any way.

In the days to come, you might feel numb and sore around the incision site, and the scar will be noticeable. During this time, your doctors and nurses will likely help you get up and walk around if possible, as it's important for recovery. Just take it slow!

It's also a good idea to go to the bathroom regularly, as a full bladder can put pressure on the wound and make it sore. On the third or fourth day, your stitches or staples will likely be removed if they don't dissolve on their own.

Once you get home, just take it easy and ask for all the help you can get. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, take any advice or medication that your medical team gave you and just enjoy spending time with your new baby! You'll feel good as new in a few weeks' time.

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