Congratulations! Officially you are at full term and Baby should be here any day. However, as one journey comes to an end another, much longer one is just beginning as you meet the little person that you have been growing for the last nine months and prepare for the rest of your lives together!
Your Baby in Week 40 of Pregnancy
Well, the moment your baby (and you both of course ) have been waiting all of this time for is finally here. By now Baby will weight somewhere between 2.75 and 4 kilos and measure anywhere between 48 and 55 centimetres. What it is important to remember is that babies check in at all different sizes within this general range and as different as they are their size has little bearing on how how happy and healthy they are.
The first thing most parents look for when Baby makes their dramatic entrance into the world is that all of their basic ‘bits’ are there, including proof positive that they are a boy or a girl. You will also notice that Baby is a little icky and sticky after their long journey and their skin is covered in a mixture of blood, vernix, lanugo, and amniotic fluid.One nice wipe down from the nursing staff will take care of most of that though, but before they are sent off for a bath spend a few minutes with them if at all possible.
Baby will not be able to see you too well as, at birth, they can only really focus their vision about an inch in front of them at most (that will improve of course over the coming days and weeks) What they can do however is recognise your voices, as they have got rather used to hearing them over the past few months, so talk to Baby and they will respond.
You will also notice that Baby is still favoring that curled up fetal position. That is simply because after having spent nine months in some seriously cramped quarters they are going to need a few days to figure out that there is a lot more space for them to move around in now. In addition, they don’t know any other way to lie right now, so it is also a self comforting mechanism of sorts. This is why newborns like to be swaddled, it reminds them of their old home and provides some security while they get used to their new one.
Your Body in Week 40 of Pregnancy (and Maybe Beyond)
The first thing you should know is that more than half of all pregnancies last beyond the official forty week mark. Baby will definitely be arriving some time in the next fortnight though as an OB GYN will not allow a pregnancy to progress beyond 42 weeks as to do so endangers both Mother and Baby.
It is also important to understand that every woman’s experience of of labour is different and that even if you have diligently read every single piece of educational literature you can, or even if you have given birth before, there will always be some unexpected surprises along the way.
Tips for the Fortieth Week of Pregnancy – Dealing with Being Overdue
As previously mentioned, most babies do not arrive on their appointed debut date. Therefore, if that day comes and goes and there are few signs that Baby is on the way it can quickly become very frustrating and usually, even if they don’t mean to, your family and friends make things worse by calling and emailing to see if you have had the baby yet. Every such message comes with the very best of intentions but its fair to say that each of them is guaranteed to drive you at least a bit nuts as well.
Basically you have two choices here – smile through gritted teeth and answer everyone’s queries or set your phone to voicemail, with a message that you are resting in preparation for the birth and you will make sure that everyone knows as soon as there is anything to to report.
In respect to what you can do to keep yourself sane as you wait for Baby to decide to appear a nice walk might help (there are those who feel that a regular walk can help speed labour as well) although you might want to find a spot where you won’t bump into too many curious acquaintances . Or if you do not feel like walking you could treat yourself to a trip to the cinema (it will probably be a long time before you get another chance to do that!) or even just a light snack at a nice cafe. Get a massage or a pedicure, do things to take your mind off the fact that Baby is tardy, especially since you know what they always say about watched pots…
More Tests !!!
If you do go over the 40 week mark you will probably have to be prepared to go through a few more tests just to make sure it is OK to leave a Baby that is reluctant to leave the womb where they are for a little while longer. It sounds a little strange to think of a Baby refusing to leave but in some ways it is true, as medical science now believes that is a chemical signal from Baby’s own rapidly developing brain that triggers the final labour process in the first place.
It will be entirely up to your OB GYN what tests they do perform but they may include non stress tests, which involve hooking you up to a monitor to access the fetal heartbeat, an amniotic fluid index, an ultrasound test to determine just how much amniotic fluid Baby still has to swim around in and maybe even a contraction stress test. This test, performed at the hospital, evaluates how Baby responds to the stress of real uterine contractions (usually induced with Pitocin or nipple stimulation). If the baby responds OK to the contractions, it’s usually a good sign that the conditions in their uterus home are still favorable — and baby hasn’t worn out his or her welcome and you may just have to wait a few more days until they are ready to leave!