Believe it or not, you're not officially overdue. Thirty-seven to 42 weeks is considered full-term. In fact, you may not even be at 42 weeks. Many women who go this far beyond their due date simply have a miscalculated due date, typically because they incorrectly remember the start date of their last period.
Either way, you find yourself at 42 weeks along, as far as you know, and probably begging for some real contractions. The pregnancy symptoms don't disappear just because you've passed your due date, so aside from the desperate desire to give birth, you might (still) be experiencing:
- Heartburn, constipation, gassiness, hemorrhoids
- Mild swelling of feet and ankles, general bloating
- Difficulty getting around
- Kicking, punching and squirming in your womb
- Braxton-Hicks contractions (or "false labor," a random, fairly painless tightening of your uterine walls)
You may also start feeling some signs of labor, such as true contractions, which are rhythmic and painful; passing of the mucous plug that blocks your cervix; diarrhea (your body making space to pass a baby); and the "bloody show," or blood-tinged discharge. All of this means labor is near -- perhaps a couple of hours, perhaps a couple of days.
That's all normal and good. At this point, though, since your baby has been in your womb longer than is ideal, you do need to be on the lookout for some changes that might not be normal and could signal a problem, including a decrease in fetal movement or a leaking of green-tinged amniotic fluid, which signals the baby has passed fecal matter into the fluid (which is dangerous), and dramatic swelling of your hands, feet or ankles (which can signal a dangerous condition called preeclampsia). If you experience these, call your doctor or go straight to the hospital, because you and/or your little one could be in distress.
But the chances of that are slim. It's far more likely he or she is just lazing about, reluctant to leave your warm, cozy womb…