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Pregnancy Symptoms Week 41 and Week 42: You Might Be Induced if You Haven't Given Birth Yet!
PHOTO BY @tatyana_tomsickova/iStock
  • When your fellow preggos are giving birth one by one, and you find that you're the only who hasn't popped yet, you tend to overthink it — especially if you reach your 41st (or even your 42nd) week of pregnancy. You must think you're already overdue.

    Bear in mind, however, that your estimated due date is exactly that — an estimate — and the date your doctor said to expect your baby is not precise. It's highly possible that your baby is still one or two weeks away from coming out, so relax! Your baby will arrive in due time.  

    Pregnancy signs Week 41 and Week 42


    Because you're carrying a heavy load in your tummy, some veins in your rectum may become swollen from the weight and pressure. These are hemorrhoids, which are quite common during pregnancy. Once you've given birth and the pressure eases up, the hemorrhoids are likely to go away.

    Low-positioned belly

    You'll not only feel it when your baby descends or "drops" to your pelvic area (pelvic discomfort, hello!) you'll also see it. If you don't notice it, sometimes people will tell you, "Ang baba na ng tyan mo." This is a signal that your baby is getting into position and is ready to go out.

    Mucus plug and/or bloody show

    As everything else in your body is getting ready for childbirth, so, too, will your cervix. A mucus plug is a thick, sticky substance that protects the uterus from bacteria during pregnancy. When it's time to give birth, this will "unplug" to give way to the baby. That's why, if you see blood stains on your underwear during this time, expect that labor will ensue very soon.

    What other parents are reading

    A leak that you might mistake for urine

    Many pregnant women think they just peed their undies or the bed when in fact, it's their water bag that has broken. One mom says she only realized it wasn't urine because the mark was brownish in color. When this happens, call your doctor immediately.

    Possible weight loss

    It's common for pregnant women to lose weight once they reach the end of their pregnancy. This is because the body is getting ready for childbirth, and thus has rid itself of the excess fluid that's been making you look big (and feel bloated). Also, the body is producing less amniotic fluid as the baby prepares to head out. 

    Pregnancy symptoms Week 41 and Week 42


    By now you already know what Braxton Hicks contractions feel like. A real contraction is much stronger, will persist, and their intervals become shorter over time. You should time your contractions when they become more regular, and call your doctor when they happen successively.


    A loose bowel movement towards the end of your pregnancy is a cue that you'll be giving birth soon. This is the body's way of making room for the baby's passage through the birth canal, by making sure the intestines are empty. 

    Change in fetal movement and activity

    Your baby is already the size of a watermelon, weighing almost 8 pounds and about 20 inches long. There's hardly any space for him to move around in there, so it's possible that movement may be restricted. Nonetheless, even if there are changes, you should take note of the pattern so you would know if something is off.

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    Cervical dilation

    You won't really know if your cervix is already dilated until they do an internal exam (IE) on you. During labor, a woman's cervix becomes effaced (or becomes thin and flexible), and dilates up to 10 cm. How quickly it goes from 0 to 10 varies, as for some it does happen within a span of a few weeks, while for some others it can be within a few hours during active labor.

    An instinct to nest

    Not only will you feel motivated to tidy up your space, but you'll actually find a sudden burst of energy to do it! That's your nesting instinct kicking in. So go ahead and fold those tiny white shirts and arrange those mittens and booties by pairs. It will only add to the excitement leading to your baby's birth!

    Your baby's development on Week 41 and Week 42

    Your baby has grown even plumper, and his nails and hair are even longer now. When he's ready to go out, there's a theory that the baby sends out stress hormones to the placenta to signal labor to begin. Those hormones are also what your baby needs to survive in the outside world.

    Your to-do list on Week 41 and Week 42 of your pregnancy

    Get an ultrasound + other tests

    Your ob-gyn will probably ask for it anyway, just to check on the baby and to make sure there are no problems.

    Decide what you will do with the placenta

    Some women prefer to keep their placenta for their own reasons. Whatever it is, let your doctor know, so they know what to do. 

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    Finalize your postpartum care arrangements — both yours and baby's 

    Some new moms hire a doula, while some others just get a night nurse, especially if they have other members of the family they know can assist them during the crucial first weeks (or months). Whichever it is you prefer, look into it already and get it done. 

    Get your perineum ready

    To make childbirth less painful, experts recommend massaging the perineum, or that area between your vulva and the anus, using your thumb, going from the vagina down to the perineum then back. This strengthens this muscle and could minimize the stinging.  

    Practice relaxing techniques

    Now's the time to put all those you've learned into good use. Do breathing exercises, find a visual cue, know what calms you down. You'll need it.

    Will you need to be induced?

    Typically, labor induction is not done unless the fetus is in danger, such as when your water bag is leaking and there's little amniotic fluid left, or if the mother experiences complications. 

    You can, however, try any of the following to jumpstart your labor naturally: walking, stimulating the nipple or having sex. A few sips of raspberry tea leaf or evening primrose oil is also said to be effective for some.

    More on your week-by-week pregnancy:

    Pregnancy Symptoms Week 40: You Can Be in Labor But Not Feel It Yet! 

    What other parents are reading

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