Pregnancy week by week

Baby

Toddler

Week 40 of Pregnancy


Congratulations!!!! You are finally there. You are likely to go into labour any time now. Or maybe not- only 5% of women actually go into labour on their due date. Almost 95% women deliver within 10 days of their due date. So if you haven’t delivered yet, there may still be sometime left. Take this time to get your hospital bag ready, if you have not done so already.

Hopefully by now, you may have attended antenatal classes or read enough about stages of labour and what to expect during labour. You have probably been experiencing Braxton-Hicks contractions but soon real contractions will start. If your feel that your contractions have intensified or become more frequent; notify your doctor. And if your water breaks, you should well be on your way to the hospital. Try to let go off the worry and fear and go with your instincts. And sincerely......the very best of good wishes!

Try to relax and distract yourself with activities you enjoy.  Stress and anxiety can make the existing pregnancy-related discomforts even worse. Continue with healthy pregnancy diet and lifestyle, and pay attention to signs of labour as well as other symptoms that may indicate a problem. When 40 week pregnant, your doctor will check how your pregnancy is progressing and will probably measure your cervical dilation and effacement. Your doctor can then determine how close you are to labour. If labour does not seem close, your doctor may also do an ultrasound to check your baby’s movements, heartbeat, and the amount of amniotic fluid. You will be advised to continue to watch for the signs of labour.



Your body

You may be feeling heavy and uncomfortable. You may have trouble sleeping because of the awkward position of the baby. You will need all the rest you can get, partly for the birth, as it will take a lot of energy but also because once you have delivered, you will be in for a lot of sleepless nights

Plan something for every day like watching movie. This week you will wake up every morning wondering whether today will be the day. You may have trouble sleeping. You may worry that your water will break in public. You may be feeling huge and uncomfortable. You may worry that every twinge is a sign of imminent labour. You could feel heavy and clumsy, less inclined to go out and about. You may have swelling in your feet.

In this week, your obstetrician will do a thorough check-up to see how your baby is doing. There will always be a possibility that your labour may not occur naturally. In that case, labour will have to be medically induced. Don’t panic! This doesn’t mean there is something wrong; it’s just that your body needs an extra push to get into action.



Your baby

Your baby is getting ready for its journey to the outside world. An average baby weighs around 3.4 kg and measures around 50 cm in length (average crown-rump length is 36 cm). She can suck, grip, blink and react to touch. All her senses will be working like smell, touch, taste, sight and hearing. He has by now put on enough fat under the skin to maintain a stable body temperature after birth.  your baby has now developed coordinated reflexes enabling him or her to open and close the eyes, respond to light, hear, feel the touch, turn his head and grasp firmly. Hopefully, she’s fully engaged by now, presenting head down, ready to be born. Her movements will be restricted due to lack of space. You may feel that her movements are not as vigorous as they used to be. If you feel like the baby’s movements have drastically reduced notify your doctor immediately. (because of the variability in the length of the legs and the difficulty of maintaining them in extension, measurements corresponding to the sitting height (crown-to-rump) are more accurate than those corresponding to the standing height.)



Be prepared that your baby isn’t going to arrive looking like something on a picture post card. Newborns tend to have the head misshapen, but this is only temporary and is caused by pressure while passing through the birth canal. He will also be covered in blood and vernix. There may be skin discolorations, dry patches, and even rashes that are completely normal. Read more in our section on  the first few days after birth.


Remember

As soon as you notice the first signs of labour, you can start with the following tips: take a deep breath at the beginning of each contraction and exhale slowly. Get up and move about as this may help distract you and relieve any lower back pain you may be feeling. Get someone to massage your shoulders, neck, and feet. Most important of all stay calm and try to relax, as this way you will save your energy for the hard work ahead.



FAQs

1) What can I do to lose all the excess weight I have put on during my pregnancy?

Don’t worry, you will lose a considerable amount of weight when your deliver your baby. A significant part of your weight gain is contributed by your baby’s weight, the placenta, the amniotic fluid. You will lose approximately 4.5- 5-5 kg of this weight as soon as you deliver.

In the first couple of weeks you will lose some more weight in the form of lochia (tissue that lines the uterus). However, this rapid weight lose can leave you feeling flabby around the abdomen. With regular exercise and good diet, you can lose weight over the next few months. You can start with gentle exercise like walking soon after birth. Once your 6 weeks check up is over, you can start with other exercises such as Pilates, swimming, or brisk walk. It is important to be realistic in your weight loss goals, as losing too much too fast can have a negative impact on your health.
 



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