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Pregnancy Guide: Week 40

Your skin is dry and itchy, but your baby’s pores could be, too. As she sheds the vernix that was keeping her skin protected, her skin may be drying out. 

If you’re already past your due date, don’t panic. Many women pass the 40-week mark. Keep doing what you’re doing and make sure you and your partner are both involved in what’s coming up next. You may already be thinking about the next few months and beyond. Wondering what it will be like to have a newborn, feeding needs e.g. whether you’ll breastfeed or bottle-feed, when can baby hold a bottle, if you need to buy or rent a breast pump, and so on.

40 weeks pregnant is how many months?

You are nine months pregnant. It feels plenty good to say it, but you’re not done yet. You made it to the due date, but we’re sorry to say, you may still have a week or two to go.

Your Baby at 40 Weeks

You’re officially at your due date, or beyond. Your baby is right at her birth weight and length and won’t be growing much anymore. The placenta is still working and will right up until the moment the cord is cut, at which point, breastmilk will take over providing all the antibodies and nutrition your baby needs.

As your baby makes an entrance, you’ll be able to tell once and for all whether it’s for sure a boy or a girl. You can see your baby’s sweet little face, but he or she won’t see you very well. Her eyes will be a bit blurry for a while, and she won’t be able to see very far away for a few months.

Her skin carries some leftover vernix, lanugo, amniotic fluid, and blood. It will get washed away with your baby’s first bath, but until then, it provides some protection, moisture, and nutrients. No matter what, your baby will surely recognise your voice, so say hello.

You’ll also notice that your baby seems to have a hard time stretching out, but that’s because she’s been cramped for so long that her muscles need time to adjust. That’s why for the first few months of life, she’ll enjoy being snuggled tightly and swaddled.

How big is a baby at 40 weeks?

Your baby is 52 centimetres long and weighs 3819 grams.

Your Body at 40 Weeks

You may have reached your due date, but that’s never been set in stone. Your baby will come when she’s ready. You can’t guarantee when labour will start, but your body is getting ready. 

You’re likely losing sleep over it in addition to being very uncomfortable.

You’ll notice practise contractions – or real ones – and your water may break. If those happen, call the doctor. In the meantime, rest assured that your baby is ready to squeeze through a space that seems impossibly small.

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If you’re wondering whether your contractions are real or Braxton Hicks, take a sip of water and adjust your position. Braxton Hicks contractions usually stop if you move around, whereas real contractions get progressively worse no matter what you do.

Dilation and effacement may be in full effect, or they may not. Your doctor will update you at your next visit. Perhaps you dilated a few centimetres weeks ago, and now things are at a standstill. Your body and your baby will tell you when it’s time.

Diarrhea is a good indicator that labour may be coming soon. Your body is preparing to make room for the baby, so it’s also a good idea to take advantage of your frequent need to urinate because a full bladder can get in the way of labour, too.

Pelvic pain still has you uncomfortable, thanks to a head between your hips. Get a massage from a licensed prenatal massage therapist and try to relax. Take a bath or get in the pool to relieve some of the extra pressure temporarily.

Leg cramps, back pain, insomnia, and heartburn may all still be on your list of symptoms, but a new one that could indicate labour is coming may include nausea. Again. Keep your mind busy by taking advantage of that nesting instinct.

Tips/Things to do

If your baby hasn’t come yet, it may be time to start talking about inducing labour. Not because there’s anything wrong, but because at some point, it may be necessary to coax the baby out. 

Your provider can explain when and why this might happen, but don’t worry about it too much. It’s a safe procedure.

If you’re experiencing some labour-related pains and can’t seem to get relief, you can look into acupuncture. This ancient form of medicine uses tiny needles inserted into the skin along nerve paths to stimulate endorphins. When these needles are twirled or stimulated electronically, it can lead to pain relief.

Shaving isn’t easy this late in the game, but knowing you’re about to bare all, you may feel like you need to get it done. Enlist the help of a spouse or friend to stay safe. 

Your balance isn’t the best, and chances are, you can’t even see your legs anymore. Sit down and let someone else do it for you.

A warm bath or a swim could help you relieve some pain and pressure right now. It’s still perfectly safe and will make you feel weightless, giving you a reprieve from all the weight you’ve been carrying around.

You can use your time effectively for a small workout. Even if you’re waiting in line at the store, you can twist back and forth slowly to exercise your abdomen and relax your arms. Perhaps even more invisible to onlookers are butt clenches that can pass the time and tone your muscles.

Stay busy to reduce your anxiety. Take advantage of your nesting urges and do something productive. Just remember not to overdo it. If you need a break, take one, or fold clothes while sitting on the couch instead of standing in front of the closet.

You can also take a walk to stay relaxed and perhaps induce some labour. Stay hydrated to compensate for any sweating you’re doing, which is probably all the time now. Go back to eating light snacks now instead of full meals as your body attempts to make room for the baby to emerge.

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