It’s week forty – the bona fide end of your pregnancy term! Don’t fret if the baby didn’t get the memo; he or she will be coming out and into your doting arms any day now.
Now that you are at the official end of your pregnancy, the baby is (amazingly) the size of a small pumpkin and will weigh between six and nine pounds while measuring at around nineteen to twenty-two inches in length. It’s important to note, however, that many babies are born smaller or bigger and are perfectly healthy without any complications.
Assuming you haven’t yet given birth, your placenta is still hard at work providing baby with the innumerable antibodies he or she will require to ward off sickness and infections for the critical first months of its life. Breastfeeding your baby will actually provide him or her with a significantly increased amount of antibodies to further support their immune system. Colostrum, in particular, is notable in its ability to provide a bounty of crucial antibodies and is used to feed baby in its first few days outside the womb.
Don’t fret if baby missed its forty-week inauguration! A majority of births do not occur precisely on their due date, with the baby coming out a few days or even up to a week later. Additionally, many women don’t go into labor on their own, and as a result, it must be induced – usually at the forty-one to forty-two-week mark.
Read on below to learn more about the fortieth and final week of pregnancy!
Table of Contents
Your Physical and Emotional Health
40 Weeks Pregnant
Many women ponder how their body will know when it’s time to give birth. Although your doctor gave you a due date, the reality is that the majority of women don’t end up giving birth on that day. Some will give birth a bit early, others a little later, and many will have to undergo induced labor up to two weeks after the official end of the pregnancy term.
Reassuringly for many women, it’s a well-known fact that over thirty percent of pregnancies will go well past the forty-week mark and will assuredly not extend past forty-two weeks.
Quite a few women are unaware that it’s not a guarantee that their water will break before labor commences. Despite the prevalence of images in movies of pregnant women experiencing their water breaking at the most inopportune times, the reality is that less than fifteen percent of pregnant women have their water break prior tolabor beginning.
Even on the off chance that your water breaks in public, it will occur as a slowly leaking trickle or a small gush of fluid. Rest assured, when your water breaks it’s not like it is in the movies – you won’t experience a cascading deluge of fluid.
If and when your water does break, labor will more than likely commence within the ensuing twenty-four hours and if it doesn’t, your doctor will more than likely induce labor on your behalf.
Sometimes it can be hard to tell if your water has broken. By paying attention to the color and odor of the fluid, you can quickly ascertain if your water has broken, or if you are leaking urine. If you are leaking fluid that is yellow-hued and has an ammonia smell to it, you are more than likely leaking urine – not uncommon at all for pregnant women in this final week of their term.
In contrast, amniotic fluid is typically colorless and without any kind ofodor. If you are leaking or slightly gushing fluid that is without color or odor, it is quite possible that your water has broken.
A cool trick you can use to tell the difference is by using Kegel exercises. If you find yourself leaking or gushing fluid and begin to do Kegel exercises in response, you will find that the leaking or gushing halts if it was in fact just urine. Conversely, if the leaking doesn’t stop, it is almost definitely amniotic fluid, signaling that your water has broken.
Information About Inducing Labor
|If labor does not commence on its own, your doctor, midwife, or healthcare professional can induce labor
Via a range of medications and special techniques, contractions are induced to hasten the labor process
|Labor can be induced through a variety of methods that are chosen from depending on your individual circumstances, such as the status of your cervix and whether it has begun to ripen||If your cervix has not yet thinned out and dilated and you require induced labor, your doctor will commence induction by administering medication into your vagina.
The medication contains
prostaglandins and assists the ripening of the cervix in addition to stimulating contractions to the point of kickstarting labor
|If in the event that medication containing prostaglandins fails to start the labor process, your doctor may opt to administer oxytocin via intravenous therapy
If your cervix has already ripened, oxytocin is often administeredin lieu of prostaglandins-containing medication
|Induction will occur between 1-2 weeks after your due date because the placenta becomes significantly less effective at providing nutrients to baby around 42 weeks and can result in dangerous complications||Induction is induced because of the many risks of a prolonged pregnancy.|
Your Baby’s Health and Status
40 Weeks Pregnant
Now officially considered full-term, the baby should be on his or her way out of your womb and into the world within a matter of days!
Impressively matured, strong, and capable, the baby has a mind of its own. Your little one has, over the course of forty weeks, evolved from a tiny bean to the size of a pumpkin, and has amassed a great deal of skills, senses, and capabilities along the way.
Don’t worry too much if baby takes their time coming out of your womb; it’s warm, comfortable, and utterly cozy in there.
He or she may want to take their time before suddenly surprising you with an abrupt decision to come out from within the confines of your womb and into the real world.
By now, your adorable cherub has reached his or her final weight and overall length. While the average baby is seven and a half pounds and measures a bit over twenty inches, many perfectly healthy babies are born featuring weights and measurements that are comparatively smaller or larger.
Baby’s skull is still flexible at this point and not yet entirely fused. Malleable enough to overlap on itself to make it through the confines of the birth canal and to withstand the immense compression along the way, his or her skull will remain intact and protected from damage during the birthing process.
Impressively, fifteen percent of baby’s body weight is from body fat. Functioning to help them stay warm in the world outside the womb, this copious amount of fat also cushions their delicate bodies and as an added bonus makes them unbelievably soft and cuddly to hold in your arms.
Tips, Tricks, and Knowledge
40 Weeks Pregnant
- Read up on how to recover after giving birth
- If your water breaks and you notice green or brown colors in the fluid, call your doctor immediately as it could indicate that baby had a bowel movement while in utero
- Don’t stress if the baby hasn’t made its debut yet. Perhaps it wants to be fashionably late! In any event, you’re not officially considered to have a late pregnancy until the forty-two-week mark. Take the extra time and put the last finishing touches on your nursery and baby supply stock
- Many women experience prolonged pregnancy terms for no readily apparent reason. It’s not cause for great concern, as your doctor will induce labor for you and ensure baby exits your womb in a timely fashion
- If baby is taking its time coming out of your womb, your doctor may order a biophysical profile, which is a type of ultrasound designed to examine baby’s range of movements in breathing, chest muscles, diaphragm, and more. This ultrasound also takes a concise look at baby’s muscle tone, the levels of amniotic fluid present, and the amount of support the placenta is providing at this point
- Commonly performed concurrently to a biophysical profile is a fetal heart rate monitoring test
To-do List and Reminders
40 Weeks Pregnant
- Complete the tasks on your daily to-do list
- Make sure your automobile has a full tank of gas ready for the big day
- Have your car seat correctly installed and rear-facing (as per the law)
- Have your overnight bag packed and ready to go in the car – Make sure there is a copy of your birth plan in your bag
- Have your route to the hospital planned – ensure that it is the shortest and most efficient route
- Have your partner or other person accompanying you to the hospital on the big day on alert
- Keep eating healthy and make strategic choices that offer the best bang for the nutritional buck. For example, having a nice grilled steak for lunch gives you plenty of protein, choline, and zinc. A piece of salmon for dinner yields nutritional benefits like protein and Omega-3 fatty acids along with plenty of powerhouse vitamins and minerals.
- When making its debut in the world outside your womb, your newborn will absolutely love being swaddled. As a result of the confined space he or she has been in for so many weeks, swaddling offers a similar “feel” for baby that is comforting and reminiscent of your uterus
Congratulations! You have made it to week forty of your pregnancy. You and baby have adventured together over many months to get to this momentous point in time. The profound bond forged between the two of you will only grow stronger and more deeply felt as you and baby continue the journey of life; forever linked as mother and child.