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Guide to Being 42+ Weeks Pregnant


What's Going on in Your Body
Babies born this late are usually fairly large and alert.
Babies born this late are usually fairly large and alert.
© iStockphoto.com/Kameleon007

Your caregiver is most likely checking on your baby quite frequently to make sure there aren't any problems. And there probably aren't any -- except that your baby may be "over-baking" a bit.

Post-term babies are usually born with chapped skin, long nails and hair, some extra weight, and no vernix or lanugo at all. That skin is totally free of fetal fuzz and creamy coating, and it's dry from that unprotected exposure to amniotic fluid. It's fine -- he or she is simply in your uterus longer than is ideal and will, at first, look a little bit different, and possibly be more alert, than a full-term newborn.

There can be a couple of issues with post-term pregnancies, though, and that's what those ultrasounds and fetal heart monitoring tests in your doctor's office are looking for. For one thing, your baby is probably still gaining weight, and a bigger baby makes for a more difficult delivery. At the other end of the spectrum, since your placenta isn't meant to last this long it could start degrading, in which case your baby could actually start losing weight and end up malnourished.

Another concern is that the longer your little one is in there, the more likely it is the baby will have bowel movement before birth. If this meconium (the earliest bowel movements for newborns) is passed into the amniotic fluid, the baby can inhale it, which is dangerous. If your water breaks and it's tinted green, that tint could mean meconium, and you should get to the hospital as soon as possible.

So, at 42+ weeks, rushing may be in order. It's therefore more important than ever for your partner to be on the alert …


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