Finally, it is time! Any moment from now, you are going to deliver your baby. However, be prepared for a rough stretch because the last moments of pregnancy are the most tumultuous. Actually, your 40th week could feel longer than the entire pregnancy. So, here is what is happening to your baby, your body, and what to do in the 40th week of pregnancy.
Your Baby at 40 Weeks Pregnant
At 40 weeks pregnant, your baby is already full-term and ready to step out. This week, your baby is likely to weigh 7.5 pounds and 21 inches in length of slightly more. Note that these are almost the same measurements recorded on the 39th week of your pregnancy. While it is true that your baby is full-term, the immune system is still not fully developed. Therefore, he continues getting nourishment via the placenta. This process will continue until the placenta is cut after birth.
Although the brain, spinal cord, and heart of your baby are ready to operate independently, they are still developing. This development is going to continue even after birth. Another notable development of your baby is the hardening of bones and ligaments. But the different parts that form the skull will remain flexible (acting like flexible joints) to make it easy for your baby to move through the vagina during delivery. The skull sections will fuse completely months after birth.
At 40 weeks pregnant, your baby is curled up and facedown. In reality, your baby does not have a lot of options. The remaining option is one: getting out and starting an independent life. This is why your body will go into labor to get your baby out through the birth canal.
Your Body at 40 Weeks Pregnant
In the last 40 weeks, your body has done an awesome job of protecting, nourishing and housing your baby. Because it is the last week in your pregnancy journey, you should expect to get into labor that will culminate to delivery. Here are the three main stages of labor that you should anticipate:
- Stage one. This stage involves the onset of labor and active labor. The cervix will start dilating (opening) through thinning and stretching. The contractions commence at your back and then move like a wave towards the belly. They help to push your baby lower down the birth canal.
- Stage two. After the cervix dilates about ten centimeters, it implies that you have entered into the second stage of labor. At this stage, you will be in the delivery room, and you have to push your baby out via the birth canal. Note that although this stage of labor is relatively shorter compared to the first, it is more painful. But there is no need to worry about it because the doctors assisting you will use medication to control the pain. And voila, the moment you have been waiting for: your lovely angel; so cute, so lovely, so amazing … it is a miracle!
- Stage three. Once you deliver your baby, it means you have entered the third and final stage. Here, you will need to deliver the placenta. You will continue feeling the contractions as the placenta detaches from the uterus and comes out. This stage is less painful compared to stage two.
Note that if your baby is to be delivered via Caesarean section (CS), you will first be given anesthesia before the operation. Then, the doctors will make an incision on your abdomen and uterus to remove your baby and placenta.
The whole process of your delivery is guided and monitored closely by medical professionals who are ready to handle any complications that may arise. So relax because you will be in the right hands.
40 Weeks Pregnant is How Many Months?
The 40th week is the moment you have been waiting for. It is the fourth week of the ninth month. Your baby is full-term, and it is time to welcome him into the world!
40 Weeks Pregnant Ultra Sound
At 40 weeks pregnant, the chances are that you will head to the delivery room to deliver your baby. Therefore, your doctor might recommend a final ultrasound and non-stress test to check on your baby’s condition.
An ultrasound will reveal your baby in an engaged (head-down) position. This will be a great moment to see your baby in utero before delivery. So check closer to see the fully-grown legs, hands, and nails extending beyond the fingertips. Also, you will see the fully formed facial features. Did your baby just blink, and smile? It is awesome!
40 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms
At 40 weeks pregnant, you are really tired. Aren’t you? The contractions have become stronger, and everything appears against you. Come on, yes, it is tough, but it will not last long. The prize is a few steps away. So encourage yourself. Here are the symptoms to expect at your 40th week of pregnancy.
- Braxton Hicks contractions: These are practice contractions that you have been experiencing all through the third trimester. Now, they are more intense. Try to change sleeping positions and also walk around to get some relief.
- Baby movements: Unlike in the last couple of weeks when your baby’s kicks were so strong, they are now gentler. This is because of the limited space. But you can still feel the wiggles, rolls, and flutters.
- Diarrhea: As your bowel gets the beating of pregnancy, it gives in and your poop is likely to shift from sluggish to loose. When you notice this, early labor is about to kick in.
- Insomnia: At 40 weeks pregnant, sleeping is likely to become troublesome. Things such as the frequent rush to the washroom, contractions, baby wiggling, and worry about labor are all going to work together to deny you sleep. So when you get a moment to nap, no matter the time of the day or night, go ahead and sleep.
Things to Do at 40 Weeks Pregnant
- The last week is tough and torturous. You feel like everything is out of control. This is the time to get that assuring hand. Take more time with your partner, and he will give you the assurance that all is gonna be okay. That is the assurance you need now.
- Shave safely. Do you feel extra furry? Go ahead and shave. But this is likely to be problematic at a time when bending over is a challenge. So consider seeking help from a friend. And, remember, only use a new razor and be extra careful!
- Learn about post-term pregnancies. Notably, you should not be surprised if your baby decides to take some more time in the comfort of your womb. If everything is okay, your pregnancy can extend to 41 and 42 weeks. But your doctor will monitor you closely to note the right moment to induce labor
- If you have not organized some help around your home, it is time to do so. This is very important because you will need a lot of time to relax after getting home from the hospital.
- Learn how to handle post-delivery hormonal changes (baby blues). Before delivery, your body goes into a frenzy by releasing huge doses of hormones that help during delivery. But these hormones will fall suddenly after delivery leaving you feeling different. Consider talking to your doctor and having a supportive hand after delivery.
- Want to remember this hard and last moment of your pregnancy, take some photos. Years to come, when your baby is fully grown, or do you prefer his 18th birthday, surprise him with the photo. The photos will be timeless pieces that bind you with him permanently.
40 Weeks Pregnant Checklist
- If you do not deliver this week, schedule the 41st week checkup. Again, remember it is perfectly OKAY for the pregnancy to go beyond the 40th
- Read a chapter of your favorite book every day. This will help you to relax, pull down anxiety, and get you closer to the final moment.
- Recheck and retest the emergency numbers. You might need them anytime from now, and even later once discharged from the hospital.
- Talk to your baby. It will be even better if you do it together with your partner.
- Recheck the hospital bag. Do you think it might be okay to take an extra dressing gown?
Questions to Ask Your Doctor at 40 Weeks Pregnant
- What is more painful: Natural labor or induced labor?
- I have been checking my baby’s ultrasound images, and I know he is cute. How will he look after delivery?
- Can I eat during labor? If yes, what should I take?
- After delivery, how long will I wait to start breastfeeding my baby?
- My friend told me that her breasts could not release milk immediately after delivery. What causes the problem?
After a lengthy and bumpy 40 weeks pregnancy journey, you can finally expect to deliver your baby. So, be prepared for labor, delivery, and post-delivery period. The good thing is that, even if you feel like everything is really hard on you, the doctors; with huge experience will be there to help you.