Motherhood & Parenting
Congratulations, you have safely arrived at your due date! At 40 weeks pregnant, you have successfully completed the full term of your pregnancy, which means that your baby can come out safe and sound any day now! Isn’t that exciting? Even as you as your impatiently bouncing in your seat, wanting to meet you tiny one already, hang in there for a bit longer, because they will be in their time.
By now, you have probably prepared all that you need over the previous pregnancy weeks and have all the newborn essentials ready to be used. All you need now is some minor details, such as making sure your car has enough gas, that you know your hospital route very well, and also that your phone is charged.
You can also invest in a waterproof mattress, which will add protection in case your water breaks in the middle of the night and will later be useful when the baby makes their mess during feeding and other things.
We know that you may be stressed right now, fully aware of every little sign in your body because the big moment could happy any day. Still, try to relax by doing things which calm your nerves, writing them down, sharing them with your friends, therapist, partner, etc.
Remember that you still need to take extra care of yourself now and even after the baby has been delivered. Hold onto all that strength and confidence that you have gathered inside of you, and keep moving your way forward.
The size of the baby at 40 weeks is around 20.2 inches from crown to heel, weighing approximately 7.6 pounds, 15% of which is from the fat in their body which will keep them warm. This means that the baby is most likely at their birth weight and height at the moment, having done all the growing needed inside your womb.
For a visual image, the size of the baby at 40 weeks is around that of a watermelon. Now doesn’t that seem so huge when compared to before? This means that the baby is ready to see you, whenever the correct time comes, which should be soon now.
The baby’s nails and hair are growing, while the lungs are keeping the development at the perfect pace. The organs and systems are ready to support them in the outer world.
The placenta is still transferring antibodies from you to them so that their immunity can build up. After birth, they will get extra antibodies through your milk when you breastfeed them.
Your 40 week baby bump is at its max size and you just can’t wait for the day the tiny one inside it enters this world. As nervewracking as you may be feeling right, caress your 40 week baby bump because even with all the aches it has brought, you will still miss it once it subsides.
Try to think about all the exciting things you will get to do with your baby, such as hold them close and snuggle with them. Thinking about the positives will help you relax, so try your best to focus on the good things that are waiting for you in the future.
Your 40 weeks pregnant symptoms will most likely consist of the symptoms which you have dealt with during the past few weeks. Don’t worry, because you won’t have to feel these discomforts for too long.
Whether you give birth at the end of this week or run a little overdue, you only have some time left before this journey comes to an end, which can be quite a bittersweet thing. All you can do right now is keep up with the self-care routine you have diligently been practising till now.
Here are the 40 weeks pregnant symptoms you may experience:
1. Trouble sleeping
The combination of the aches of pregnancy along with the nervousness of knowing that the due date could be anytime soon can make it difficult for you to sleep.
However, rest is necessary for you right now, because you are carrying the weight of 40 weeks worth of changes inside of you. Try to do some calming, relaxing activities like reading, listening to music, writing, etc. to get into a soft, comforting mood,
2. Pelvic pressure
This week, the baby may move even lower in your pelvis, which can increase the pressure put on that area.
3. Leg cramps
You may find these spasms in your legs bothering you, especially during the night. Try to go for light calf and hamstring stretches to relax the muscles and relieve leg cramps, while also drinking lots of water.
The lack of proper sleep adds to this symptom, making you feel drained and exhausted. Even if it’s hard to catch proper rest at night, try to still settle in a relaxing atmosphere. Now that you have all the preparations taken care of, you can also take a much-needed nap during the day.
The practice Braxton-Hicks contractions can gradually turn into actual labor contractions, so it is important to be able to tell the difference. If you feel like you are having a lot of them, it would be good to time them, so you can tell how frequent they are. If they are growing closer together and also becoming painful, you are most likely in the early stages of labor and should call your OB immediately.
While it is normal to feel stress, try to calm down, because being on the edge will only make you feel even more distressed. Try to talk to the people around you or your therapist to get the reassurance and support you need at the moment.
At 40 weeks pregnant, labor symptoms may approach you any day now. Some things to look out for are contractions that are more uncomfortable and painful, happening at regular intervals. Timing your contractions can help you tell if they are the real ones or not.
Another thing you may observe is the leakage or flow of a watery fluid, which is not like your usual vaginal discharge. This happens when your amniotic sac ruptures and the fluid leaks, indicating that you are now in the early stages of labor.
Try to be aware of your body, noting down any changes you may feel and checking for signs of labor because it is better to be safe, always. If you are wrong, all you have is a false alarm, which will not harm anyone. But if you are right and you actually are in labor, it is better to have found out early so you can get to the hospital sooner.
When you finish the full term of pregnancy at 40 weeks, your doctor will probably want to do a biophysical profile, which is a combination of a non-stress test and a 40 weeks pregnant ultrasound.
In the none-stress test, the baby’s movements and your contractions will be monitored to see how the baby’s heart is reacting. The 40 weeks pregnant ultrasound will be used to observe the levels of amniotic fluid. This procedure is generally done twice a week once one passes their due date.
If the results of any of these give your doctor an indication that it would be better for the baby to be delivered, they may talk to you about inducing labor. There are many ways to do this, both natural and medical, and your doctor will guide you through what is safe and what should be done.
However, this will only be done in cases of risk, complication, or possibly for those who are pregnant with twins. If things are normal on your end, your doctor will ask you to wait till your body by itself, which can very well happen by the end of this week.
As impatient as you may be feeling right now, self-care cannot be compromised on. You have worked so hard to look after you and your tiny one(s) all this time, so you owe it to yourself to see this through to the end.
Keep going with your balanced, nutritious daily meals while also continuing taking your prenatal vitamins. Make sure to drink lots of water and take care of your health right now, most of all.
Talk to your OB/GYN
It’s always good to discuss all and any doubts with your doctor because they know best. Ask them how long will you have to wait before induction becomes an option, discuss induction procedures, ask if there is anything that can be done to speed things up in a safe manner, ask what extra care you should be taking, whether it is safe to have sex etc.
At this point, running things by with your doctor will give you confidence and reassurance that you are doing well.
People around you may suggest natural labour-inducing methods and in your desperation, these may seem tempting. However, do not proceed with anything without asking your OB first because chances are that a lot of these so-called remedies are myths. Thus, always trust your doctor first and if they ask you to wait things out, be patient for just some more time.
We know that these last miles of your pregnancy journey may stress you out the most, but we would like to remind you of all the growth you have experienced to get to this point. It can be easy to get swept up in the doubts because it is only natural to worry about your beloved tiny one.
However, try to focus on the good things, because if your tiny one could speak, they would surely tell you just how proud and grateful they are of you for taking care of them so well. One day, when they are old enough, they will surely be able to do so. To get to that point, you need to hang in there right now and have faith in yourself.
We, at The Voice Of Woman, believe in you!