Week 40


Baby Development

How is my baby growing?

Your baby now is about the size of a small pumpkin and can be born at any time. Your baby weighs about 3.4kg and the length is about 50.8cm.

After many weeks of anticipation and preparation, you will meet your baby very soon. Only 5% of women deliver on their estimated due dates, and many first-time mothers find themselves waiting up to 2 weeks after their due date for their baby to arrive.

Don’t expect your baby to look like the beautiful and lovely baby right off the bat. Newborns often have head shapes that are not perfectly round and may have skin discolorations, dry patches, and rashes. This will only be temporary.

Because of the presence of your hormones in your baby’s system, your baby’s genitals (scrotum in boys and labia in girls) may appear enlarged. Your baby, whether a boy or a girl, may even secrete milk from the tiny nipples. This should disappear in a few days and is completely normal.

Right after birth, your doctor will suction mucus out of your baby’s mouth and nose, and you’ll hear that long-awaited first cry. Your baby may then be placed on your stomach, and the umbilical cord will be cut – often by the baby’s dad, if he chooses to do the honors. A series of quick screening tests, such as the Apgar score, will be performed to assess your baby’s responsiveness and vital signs, and he or she will be weighed and measured. If your pregnancy was high risk, or if a cesarean section was necessary, a doctor who specializes in newborn intensive care will be present at your delivery to take care of your baby right away and then your newborn will be placed in your waiting arms.

Body & Life Changes

How is my body changing?

If your labor isn’t progressing, or if your health or your baby’s health requires it, your doctor may induce labor by artificially rupturing the membranes or by administering the hormone oxytocin or other medications. If your pregnancy is high risk, or if there are any other potential complications, you may require a cesarean section delivery.

Some women know ahead of time that they will be delivering via cesarean section and are able to schedule their baby’s “birthday” well in advance. If you’re one of them, you’ve probably been able to prepare yourself emotionally and mentally for the birth, which can help to lessen the feelings of disappointment that many mothers who are unable to deliver vaginally experience. But even if you have to undergo a cesarean section that wasn’t planned, rest assured that you’ll still be able to bond with your baby. It might not be the birth experience you imagined, but your beautiful newborn has arrived nonetheless. The months of waiting are over.

What should I be concerned about?

This week you’ll experience the moment you’ve been anticipating – your introduction to your baby! Before you can meet your baby, though, you have to go through labor and delivery. You may have learned about the three stages of birth in your prenatal classes. The first stage of labor works to thin and stretch your cervix by contracting your uterus at regular intervals. The second stage of labor is when you push your baby into the vaginal canal and out of your body. The third and final stage of labor is when you deliver the placenta.

If your labor doesn’t start on its own, your practitioner can use certain techniques to help bring on or induce your labor. You can use medications to soften and widen your cervix. Doctor might break your amniotic sac by a plastic hook to create a hole in your amniotic sac. This will not hurt yourself, but you can feel a warm stream when the sac breaks.

Doctor Visits

What should I tell my doctor?

Ask your doctor to let you take medicine to bring up contractions. Dosage can be changed appropriately to adjust the frequency of your contractions.

What tests should I know about?

If you don’t go into labor within a week of your due date, your docotr may recommend you receive a test, which monitors fetal heart rate and movement to be sure that the baby is receiving adequate oxygen and that the nervous system is responding. Talk to your health care provider to find out more about this test.

Health & Safety

What should I know about staying healthy and safe during pregnancy?

It can be safe to fly during the third trimester. However, discuss your trip plans with your doctor before booking your flight. In certain high-risk cases, your doctor may advise you to stay close to home throughout your pregnancy.

It may be smart to postpone your travels if you:

  • are carrying twins or multiples.
  • have diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • have placental abnormalities or vaginal bleeding.
  • are under observation for preterm labor
  • have a history of forming blood clots (including prior to pregnancy).

It is best to avoid flying during your final month, when you’re more likely to go into labor.

You should stay close to your doctor. Your baby may be ready to come out and meet you any day now. It is normal for some babies to be shy and not come out until another week or so. Closely monitor your baby’s movement. If you feel there is any concern or change, let your doctor know right away.

We can’t wait to help you go through your first year with your baby. Talk to you soon!

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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