Week 41-42 of Your Pregnancy
“Transfer” – no problem, as long as the baby is well – In the 41st week of pregnancy and 42nd week your pregnancy is “officially” over. The calculated due date was at the end of the 40th week of pregnancy. Your gynecologist will now talk about the fact that you are “overdue” respectively your baby is “transferred”.
Transferring is not dangerous at first, as long as the baby is doing well, has enough amniotic fluid available and the placenta is not overaged. Around ten percent of all newborns are born in the 41st and 42nd weeks of pregnancy.
Table of content
- The baby in the 41st week of gestation and 42nd week of gestation
- The mother – the last relaxation time before the birth
- Examinations in the 41st week of pregnancy
- Induction of labor and labor promotion
- Promoting labor: When mom gets impatient in the 41st week of pregnancy
- FAQ – Forty-first and Forty-second Weeks of Pregnancy
- Induced Labor – Video
Here you can find all of our 3rd trimester articles:
The baby in the 41st week of gestation and 42nd week of gestation
The baby is definitely ready for life outside the womb after the beginning of the 41st week of gestation; it has not been considered a “premature baby” since the end of the 37th week of pregnancy.
It uses the remaining time in the baby’s belly for further growth – in crown-heel length, it now measures about 20.5″. With an average weight of 7.9 to 8.4 lbs, babies in the 41st week and 42nd week of pregnancy are already small heavyweights.
The baby’s supply situation is the decisive factor in determining whether it is still allowed to dawdle a little. Amniotic fluid is vital for the baby, but its quantity slowly decreases during this phase of pregnancy. From the 41st week of gestation, the placenta may also age and calcify, so that the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the baby eventually falls below a critical level.
If the doctor finds evidence of undersupply during the two-day or daily examinations, the birth is usually induced directly, or the pregnancy is terminated by cesarean section. Also, if by the 42nd week of gestation the baby is noticeably large and heavy compared to other children or is significantly smaller, the possibility of natural birth is no longer waited for; in both cases, the doctor’s recommendation often boils down to a cesarean section.
However, much more likely than these two scenarios is a natural birth in the course of the 41st week or at the beginning of the next week.
Incidentally, a common medical theory is that the birth process normally starts all by itself when the pregnant woman’s metabolism reaches a so-called “energy plateau”, i.e. can no longer provide the baby with the number of calories it needs for its development. For the child’s later life, the waiting period may even be positive – new studies suggest that babies who are born very mature have a developmental advantage over their peers well into school age.
For the mother, the waiting can now become a real burden. The hospital suitcase is packed, not only the parents themselves, but also relatives and friends are expecting hourly that the new citizen of the earth finally shows his readiness to come into the world. In addition, the pregnancy becomes more exhausting and heavier with each passing week. However, you do not have to worry about your baby during this time, your doctor will immediately respond to any incipient problems.
Stay calm, your pregnancy cannot and will not last forever.
Use the time to recharge your batteries before the strains of childbirth and the start of life with your baby. With a healthy diet, sufficient sleep and rest, light pregnancy gymnastics, or swimming, you can prepare yourself for the upcoming birth in the best possible way. It is nice if you and your partner also have some time for relaxing hours together.
By the way, “filling up your batteries” also has a very practical component right now: If you are already very exhausted before the birth process begins, your body may not have enough strength to trigger contractions and drive the birth forward.
There is not too much you can do yourself to get the birth going. Walking, climbing stairs or taking warm baths are considered to promote labor – but only if your baby is ready for birth anyway. Experienced midwives also advise a very pleasant way of stimulating labor: through sex, natural prostaglandins (opening hormones) enter the vagina and reach the cervix along with the male seminal fluid. Your baby cannot be harmed by this; until the onset of the first contractions, there are no medical reasons against physical tenderness and sex.
When the expected delivery date is exceeded, close monitoring begins in the 41st week of pregnancy – even in a low-risk pregnancy. The aim of these examinations is to ensure that mother and child are doing well and that the baby in the womb continues to receive adequate care. In the 41st week of pregnancy, examinations take place every two days with the gynecologist, midwife, or directly in the clinic. Depending on the individual situation of the pregnant woman, the following will be examined:
- Urine and blood pressure of the mother
- Heart sounds of the baby by means of CTG
- Examination of the cervix
- Doppler’s sonography, if necessary
- Ultrasound examination to check the amount of amniotic fluid (if necessary, amniocentesis)
If the pregnancy is not high-risk and no abnormalities are found during the examinations, it is possible to wait until the 41st week of pregnancy to see whether the birth will occur naturally. If complications become apparent during the precautionary measures, the birth is induced: What is the methods?
Induction of labor and labor promotion
At the latest, towards the end of the 42nd week of gestation, the midwife and doctor will start active induction of labor. This can be done using naturopathic methods as well as medical interventions.
Important: Naturopathic methods to induce labor must not be used under any circumstances without medical supervision. For the most part, therefore, they are only used in the birth center or birth clinic. Your midwife may first try to see if and how you respond to aromatherapy with various essential oils or herbs.
Other methods to induce labor include enemas, nipple stimulation, or even homeopathic remedies. The effect of the so-called labor cocktail is mainly based on the laxative effect of castor, can lead to very violent spontaneous contractions, but is not completely risk-free for mother and child, if the cervix has not yet opened.
If the naturopathic methods of induction of labor do not bring the desired result or there is no more time for it, the midwife or the doctor have some other procedures at their disposal:
- the artificial opening of the amniotic sac, which, however, is rarely performed today
- Egg separation, i.e. manual detachment of the amniotic sac from the cervix.
- introduction of artificial prostaglandins into the vagina
- infusion of the hormone oxytocin (Syntocinon) – the so-called contraceptive drip.
Before an artificial induction of labor, discuss with your doctor which options are promising for this, which you personally prefer, and which painkillers, if any, you would like to receive. If the attempt to induce labor artificially is unsuccessful, your obstetrician will advise you on whether another attempt – possibly with a stronger drug – or a cesarean section is the more sensible alternative.
Expectant mothers in the 41st week of pregnancy are feverishly awaiting the start of labor and are already sitting on the packed hospital bag. Understandable, after all, the joy of having a baby is great, and the huge belly is now burdensome. Nevertheless, keep calm and enjoy the last days of your pregnancy. Soon your child will be on its way.
If you experience the discharge of a mucus plug, a hard abdomen, or pulling abdominal pain in the 41st week of pregnancy, this is the first sign of the beginning of the birth. If you notice any unusual pain that does not indicate the onset of labor, contact your doctor to be sure.
Do you want to encourage the onset of labor? To encourage the baby to labor naturally, the following may help:
- Nipple stimulation to encourage the release of labor-stimulating oxytocin.
- Regular sexual intercourse
- Walking and climbing stairs (note: don’t overexert yourself! Also allow yourself rest to gather your strength for the birth).
- Keep in mind: taking medications is only allowed under a doctor’s supervision.
Remember, if everything is okay, your child will give birth. We wish you and your child all the best!
FAQ - Forty-first and Forty-second Weeks of Pregnancy
When you’re 41 weeks pregnant, you’re 10 months pregnant.
At 41 weeks pregnant, it is considered a late-term pregnancy but is still within the normal range. Even though doctors estimate your due date to be at 40 weeks, it’s just that — an estimate. As frustrating as it can be to continue to have to wait to welcome your new baby into the world, it’s completely normal.
In general, babies born after 41 weeks are at an increased risk of dying before or during labour (stillbirth) or soon after birth. When pregnancy lasts longer than 41 weeks there is an increased risk of problems arising in labour for which a caesarean section may be required.