40 weeks pregnant? You have successfully survived nine months of pregnancy and should be preparing yourself for the next step. Being pregnant isn’t easy as numerous bodily changes occur and you experience a lot of discomfort. Being pregnant also takes up all your energy and you cannot even indulge in rigorous activities and get attached to your bed more than anything else. By your fortieth week of pregnancy you should be well aware of pregnancy by week and baby development week by week as not you have practically experienced it rather than just reading about it. The next step is to know what you can about labor, since at this point, you can go into labor at any point; hence it is better to keep your well informed regarding the entire procedure.
Your baby and the fortieth week of pregnancy
In this week your baby grows up to twenty inches and is now fully grown. The average weight for babies at the point of delivery is from seventeen to eighteen pounds, but the weight and height can differ according to every individual birth.
At the time of your baby’s birth the skull bones may appear to be cone-shaped. This is temporary and your baby’s head will become rounder as the time passes. The cone shaped skull is there to provide room for the baby to pass through the birth canal. If the head was round, it would be difficult for the baby to pass through.
What the mother to be should expect in the fortieth week of pregnancy
It is frustrating for most mothers to be at this stage, since they really want to get it over with. However, it is difficult for most doctors to determine exactly when the pregnant mother will go into labor, as ovulation periods differ. However, you should know that this is the peak time for you to go into labor hence you aren’t in the post term period i.e. when you surpass the fortieth week.
At this point, the doctor will conduct a biophysical profile of you and your baby. This will contain an overview of your baby’s health, movements and position. The baby’s breathing pattern, muscular tone, heart beat and amniotic fluid will be monitored closely. The quantity of amniotic fluid present in your womb is essential to determine as it shows how well your baby is being supported by your placenta. If everything is good, your doctor will ask you to wait a few more days, however, if something isn’t right such as the amount of amniotic fluid are less or your baby’s position can cause damage, then your doctor will suggest an immediate caesarian operation.
Your doctor will also conduct an internal exam of your cervix to determine if it is opening up, dilated and ripening for the delivery. This can cause mild discomfort for the mother to be, but hang in there; just a few more days and this will be over with.
What happens if you are still pregnant after the fortieth week of pregnancy?
If you are 40 weeks pregnant and still haven’t gone into labor, some doctors will suggest inducing labor. Why is there a need to induce labor? After the 40th week of pregnancy the placenta grows week and the amount of amniotic fluid diminishes so your baby can no longer be supported or provided nutrition. This can cause damage to your baby hence doctors give you certain medications that can induce labor artificially. Labor is often induced when you go a week or two weeks over your due date.
There are many myths as to inducing labor yourself. However, no specific way of inducing home by remedies at home are really proven to be effective. Some of the myths which you should refrain from practicing include:
- Herbal remedies – such remedies should be avoided as they can cause the opposite of labor i.e. contractions that are intense and last longer which can cause serious damage to your baby.
- Sexual intercourse – sexual intercourse causes the release of semen which contains substances that can lead to contractions. However, scientific study has proven that nothing is for sure, as sexual intercourse sometimes causes no changes at all.
- Castor Oil – some people believe that since castor oil is such as good laxative, ingesting it will cause you to go into labor. However, there is no proof of castor oil helping you go into labor.
- Nipple stimulation – this is said to cause contractions however, in certain cases overstimulation has led to damage being caused by such stimulations.
What mothers to be should do is keep an eye out for symptoms of labor as specified in their pregnancy symptoms week by week guide. They should also know the difference between false labor caused by Braxton Hicks and real labor instead of aiming for self-induced labor remedies.