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Pregnancy Week 40

August 28, 2018 in About Pregnancy, Birthing Experienceby Dr Praveena Shenoi
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Congratulations! This is the last week of your pregnancy, and it’s highly probable that you will be welcoming your baby into the world this week.

What changes are occurring within your body?

You will not experience any new changes this week, apart from the fact that you are likely to deliver your baby this week. You may not gain any weight too. Your cervix is likely to dilate and undergo effacement this week, which means it will open up, soften, and become thin. Your baby’s head will be visible through the cervix during delivery known as crowning. Once the crowning has occurred and your baby’s head has stretched your vagina, you will feel a burning sensation known as the ring of fire. Stop pushing once you experience this, as doing otherwise may result in additional perineal and vaginal tears. Listen to the instructions of your doctor and the paramedics around you during your delivery. Following their suggestions should make things easier for you.

What is happening with your baby?

Your baby will lose some more lanugo this week, but he/she is likely to have some residual lanugo on his/her shoulders, arms, and along skin folds at birth. The bones have hardened by this week, however, the skull is still pliable, and the skull bones haven’t fused along their suture lines yet. This is to allow your baby’s head to pass through the birth canal comfortably. As a result, your baby’s head will appear like a cone in the first few weeks after his/her birth. There will be two soft spots on his/her skull too known as the fontanelles. The back or posterior fontanelle fuses when your baby is around 3-4 months old, whereas the front or anterior fontanelle fuses between 8 and 15 months.

How big is your baby?

Your baby may weigh around 3.5 kg by this week. However, do not be alarmed if your baby weighs a little more or a little less than this. That’s normal too. Your baby will measure 19 to 21 inches in length.

Tips for making your pregnancy better

  • Although this is the final week of your pregnancy, there is a possibility that you may cross your due date too. Your doctors will advise you about an appropriate measure to induce labour in such a scenario.
  • You may want to speak to your doctor about the signs that would indicate you are going into labour. Here are some pointers to help you with this:
    1. You may pass some bloodstained thick mucus known as the show. A mucus plug in your cervix protects your baby from external infections keeping it secure in your womb. However, this plug comes off at the beginning of labour.
    2. Your waters may break or the amniotic fluid may gush out or leak indicating the beginning of labour.
    3. You may also experience pain around your back, abdomen, and thighs or contractions that last for 30-90 seconds initially. The contractions will increase in duration and frequency gradually, unlike the false labour pains.
  • Once your baby is born, your doctor will check all of your baby’s vital functions and senses according to the APGAR score. This is your baby’s very first assessment, and it gauges the overall health and well-being of the newborn baby immediately after delivery. Your baby will be scored at 1 minute after birth and 5 minutes after birth. An APGAR score of 7-10 is considered normal.

Tips for the partner

You and your partner may hear quite a few techniques to ease childbirth or even induce it. Do not try to follow or perform any of these suggestions without consulting your doctor. All the very best, it’s most likely that you will be holding your bundle of joy by the end of this week unless your baby decides to wait a little longer inside your partner’s womb.

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