The 40th week marks the end of pregnancy, officially. So, you will probably be heading to hospital sometime soon. But, a few expectant mothers might still have to hang in there making it to their 41st week. Not to worry! Babies have their own idea about timing you see. Just make sure you visit your doctor.
As a matter of fact, it is hard to tell what your baby weighs or measures at this stage. In terms of weight, your newborn could weigh anywhere between 6 to 8 pounds and between 19-22 inches in length. Now that’s a big baby given what you started out with – just a tiny blip.
With all the organ systems matured and gearing up for function, the body is now busy building up on immunity (it started long back) sourcing as many antibodies as it can from the placenta. Colostrum, the thick yellowish substance that precedes breast milk will further fortify your baby with more antibodies. Make sure your baby has it. All the bones in your little one’s body have hardened except those of the skull. It is for easy passage through the birth canal. It is also the reason why your baby’s head might appear slightly conical when he is out.
Your baby is all curled up in the fetal position, lying head down (unless yours is in the breech position). You will still feel the kicks, but fetal movement will have reduced considerably since over the past few months. This is because your baby does not have much space to spread out.
When your baby is born his vision is blurry. He cannot see things clearly beyond 1 inch of his eyes. However, the sense of smell is very well developed and it is by your smell and sound that your bambino will recognize mommy and daddy.
Changes to your Body
Coming down to you – You’re sore! Backs, legs, pelvic, head. It is the pressure of the extra weight you are lugging around. To add, you will feel Braxton Hick’s contractions. They are there to prepare you and your cervix for delivery. They are irregular and mildly uncomfortable.
During this week, you will have to watch for signs that indicate impending labor and delivery. Often, they get mixed with the other pregnancy symptoms making it hard to tell. The first is labor pains. You will feel a similar tightening as the Braxton Hicks contractions, but they tend to more intense and regular. The second is the waters breaking. It could be a slight trickle or a tidal gush. The amniotic fluid feels like water only slightly stickier. It is colorless and odorless. If it is green or brownish, you should call your doctor immediately; your baby has had his first stool while still in the womb.
Best Pregnancy Tips for the 40th Week
- Keep counting the kicks.
- If you don’t know the gender of your baby, get ready for the surprise. You will have to be prepared with both girl and boy names.
- Get the best of the last few hours or days with your baby inside you.
- Take it slow with all the activities you do. With the baby dropping into the pelvis simple activities such as walking and sitting also feel like a real task.
- However, don’t give up on the exercise. Do light exercises.
- Rest your fears about labor and childbirth. Everything might not go as expected and planned, but everything will be fine. A good ending to a long wait.
If you pass your due date and there are still no signs of your baby, your doctor will discuss inducing labor. Look at the different options available to you.