Photo: Mandy Milks, Erik Putz, Anthony Swaneveld. Felt: thefeltstore.com
Your baby is clearly comfy in there, even if you’re not. At 42 weeks pregnant, she is still growing but is the same size as last week: She is as big as a turkey dinner, weighing about 3.7 kilograms (8.1 pounds) and 52 centimetres (20.3 inches) long. However, some babies born in week 42 start to lose a bit of weight because, in some cases, the older placenta isn’t as effective at providing nutrients.
Her skin is probably dry, cracked and peeling in spots, especially on her hands and feet, because she has shed much of the vernix coating on her skin and been soaking in the amniotic fluid. Her nails may be getting long enough to extend past her fingertips, and she likely won’t have much lanugo, the fine, downy hair that covers babies in utero. She may have more hair on her head, though.
You may be feeling the same as the past few weeks but perhaps with a bit more intensity. Backaches, pelvic pressure, leg cramps and difficulty sleeping are all very common at this stage of the game. You may be feeling stressed, frustrated and impatient, too. But take heart: The wait is nearly over, and it really is babytime at last.
The countdown has been frustratingly protracted for you, but look at it this way: You’re off work, everything is ready and you’re going to be very, very busy—very soon. Savour the peace and quiet (and try to ignore everyone messaging you!). Chances are good that your baby is completely healthy and happy in there, but at 42 weeks pregnant, you’re at a higher risk of complications like low amniotic fluid, problems with the placenta and a pinched umbilical cord. Your healthcare provider will keep a close eye on you and your baby through ultrasounds, cervical checks and heart rate monitoring. If you don’t go into labour naturally this week, your doctor or midwife will probably recommend inducing labour. Methods include breaking your water (we’ll warn you now, sometimes they use a device that looks like a crochet hook), doing a cervical sweep (where your doctor uses a gloved finger to swipe around the amniotic sac and release hormones that start contractions), applying prostaglandin gel to your cervix to dilate it or using an IV hookup with a synthetic drug that will mimic the hormone oxytocin (Pitocin) to start contractions. All of this can feel scary and daunting, so make sure to ask questions and talk about your concerns. You may also be fretting about a long labour—one of the possible side effects of induction. Obviously, you can’t control the length of your labour, but there are some things you can do to conserve your strength. Moving around, taking pain meds to get you over the hump, doing breathing exercises you learned in prenatal class and having a supportive partner and birth team can go a long way toward helping you through labour. The sweetest approach? Focusing on holding your baby in your arms, and that wonderful new baby smell (there’s actual science behind it!).
Yup, gestating a baby for 42 weeks is more like 10 1/2 months. Feel like you’re in the running for the longest pregnancy ever? You’re not even close. A Los Angeles woman named Beulah Hunter supposedly had the longest recorded human pregnancy, back in 1945. Her pregnancy lasted 375 days rather than the usual 280, putting her three months past her due date. (Her daughter, Penny, was born healthy.)
The clear winner in the animal world is the common frilled shark, which stays pregnant for—wait for it—three to five years! Other long-time pregnancies include elephants (22 months), walruses (15 to 16 months), sperm whales (14 to 16 months) and giraffes (13 to 15 months)—remember poor April the giraffe?
Give me an E! Elsie, Edie, Evelyn—the newest baby-name trend.
You’ve spent a long time waiting for your little one, and it’s helpful to anticipate what life will be like once she is actually here. Read up on the first week, including waiting for your milk to come in, soft spots on your baby’s head and peeling skin (both totally normal!), postpartum recovery and first baths.
And since your baby will be here soon (really!), then you might want to think about monthly milestone photos. We have 13 cute ideas to inspire you.
If you want to keep track of your baby’s measurement the good ol’ fashioned way, this all-in-one backdrop and card set has you covered. Go with a blanket that has a ruler printed right on it and you can watch your baby’s progress with the included monthly cards. Lulujo “Loved Beyond Measure” Baby’s First Year Blanket and Cards Set: $25, lulujo.caPhoto via lulujo.ca
The letterboard idea is trendy, simple and to-the-point. Include your child’s name, age, and any other memorable details or milestones, then snap a pic. Letterboards are available at retailers like Michaels and on Etsy, but we love how @janettmarieee added her own personal touch to this one with some bright pink flowers. The Poet Oak: $65 USD, letterfolk.comPhoto: Courtesy of @janettmarieee via Instagram
Belly stickers like these are the go-to choice for plenty of parents. They’re affordable and easy to use. Bonus: if your baby’s a squirmer or learning to crawl, this keeps the photo shoot process quick and easy. Just peel and stick on your baby’s onesie each month, snap a photo and voilà! Pearhead First Year Foil Belly Stickers in Grey: $12, bedbathandbeyond.caPhotos via pearhead.com
These wooden blocks do double duty as both a classic nursery decor item and as a milestone marker. They can be placed into the frame of your shot quickly without much prep, but older babies will still want to play with them (and chew on them). Pearhead Wooden Milestone Age Blocks: $30, well.caPhoto via well.ca
If this isn’t your first child, get your older kids involved in the monthly documentation project with something handy, like LEGO or Duplo blocks. It can even turn into a math lesson: Instagrammer @dayswithgrey had her older son measure his baby brother. “My baby brother is 12 Duplos long! 👶🏼 I am 26 Duplos long. 🙋🏼♂️” It’s such a sweet way to include siblings. LEGO Duplo Deluxe Box of Fun: $60, shop.lego.comPhoto: Courtesy of @dayswithgrey via Instagram
These floral wreaths have become quite the trend on Pinterest—we’re thinking they might be Beyoncé-inspired after her flowery twins announcement? We realize this might be tricky once baby starts to roll over and grasp at items, but if you can catch her while she’s napping, it’ll make a perfect photo! Also trending on Pinterest are floral number wreaths. You can make these wreaths yourself with supplies from Michaels, or buy them pre-made from sites like Etsy.Photo: Courtesy of @janeane_marie_photography via Instagram
Here’s another milestone blanket and card set option for parents who want something that’s inexpensive and requires almost zero work. The multipurpose lightweight blanket can also be used as a swaddle, car seat canopy, nursing cover or stroller shade. Lulujo “I Will Move Mountains” Baby’s First Year Blanket and Cards Set: $25, lulujo.ca
Light boxes are popping up all over Pinterest and nursery design blogs right now. This particular one by A Little Lovely Company comes with 85 pieces and three rows for your text, so you can customize it however you want. Once you’ve slid the letters in, just pose your babe in front of it (the lightbox can stand upright or hang on the wall) and switch it on! A Little Lovely Company Lightbox – A4 (Black): $60, westcoastkids.ca
If you want something instant without having to leave the house (let’s be real—who has the time with a newborn?), then these printable milestone cards are the perfect option for you. Purchase online, then download and print. Instagrammer @lee_kristine keeps it easy (but super-cute) by using the same white chair as a consistent backdrop, which helps showcase her baby’s monthly outfits. She got her pink printables from Etsy seller kardzkouture. If you’re looking for something more gender-neutral, we love these black and white printables by ARRAcreative for $13.Photos: Courtesy of @lee_kristine via Instagram
Here’s a simple idea: take your baby’s photo next to the same favourite stuffie every time. In the early weeks, that stuffie will look huge next to your teeny-tiny newborn. But at the end of year one, you’ll be wowed by how big your baby has grown in comparison. We love this monochromatic shot from @ourlittlephotodiary’s Instagram page.Photos: Courtesy of @ourlittlephotodiary via Instagram
Nothing beats a classic chalkboard—it’s easy and reusable. If you want something other than your standard rectangular shape, opt for a heart or star. Uxcell Wood Festival Home Heart Shaped Blackboard: $5, amazon.caPhoto via amazon.ca
If an app on your phone has replaced your wall or fridge calendar lately, this idea will feel almost old-school: Buy an oversized wall calendar (the bigger the better), rip out the pages, and circle the date when you do your monthly photo session. Lay down a blanket or comforter as your backdrop, and place the calendar beside your little one. Tip: take a cue from @ourlittlephotodiary and add in some confetti for flare. We love this “All Things Wild” cute animal print wall calendar by Studio Oh!: $22, indigo.caPhotos: Courtesy of @ourlittlephotodiary via Instagram
A garland or banner with empty spots for the monthly photo is a great visual reminder to make sure you capture a cute moment every month. (And it’s OK if you’re occasionally late by a few weeks—we’ve all been there!) These felt banners by Mud Pie are available in pink and blue. Mud Pie First Year Photo Banner in Pink: $20, buybuybaby.comPhoto via buybuybaby.com
But, really, your only job this week is to have the baby. Congratulations!