You're 40 weeks pregnant! This is the week you’ve been waiting for. The date that’s been circled on your calendar is finally here.
Of course, this doesn’t mean your baby is ready to be born. About half of all babies are born after their due date. Seems unfair but true.
Despite your best efforts, your mind probably has zeroed in on this week’s date, so if it passes without the arrival of your baby, you may start to feel disappointed and frustrated. It doesn’t help that every member of your family and all your friends are as eager to meet baby as you!
It’s very likely you will be inundated with messages and phone calls this week, asking if you’ve had the baby yet. It definitely adds to the ‘watched pot never boils' feeling you are currently experiencing. You just want labour to start and your baby to arrive now. Having to explain to great-aunt Sarah that you are ‘still’ pregnant and might go another two weeks for the third time this week isn’t improving your mood.
Partners may be feeling the pressure too, as they see the pregnant woman in their life go from excitement to intense irritability and anxiety. It’s hard to know what to say and how to act, as anything and everything can set off an impatient pregnant woman!
We're pretty sure you know exactly what the early signs of labour are but here's a refresher…just in case!
40 Weeks Pregnant – Your Body
At your weekly antenatal appointment your care provider will check baby’s position and wellbeing, as well as your health. If you and your baby are both happy and well, you can put your mind at ease and let baby choose her own birthday.
Depending on the birth place and support you have chosen, you may be given an induction date ‘just in case'. Many hospitals have a policy of induction after 41 weeks so it is a good idea to talk to your care provider about this and ask about the risks and benefits of labour induction.
There are many things to consider and ultimately your decision to induce labour should be based on what is best for you and your baby, not convenience. BellyBelly has this article to read if you need information about the risks of induction.
It’s very likely that every person you speak to this week has a tip for getting labour started, from hot curry to hot sex. Read more about natural induction tips here. If you want to promote labour starting naturally, the following pointers can help:
- Eat nutritious food and keep the fluids up. Your uterus is a muscle and needs adequate energy to function efficiently. Hunger and thirst are stress states and your body produces adrenaline in response – suppressing oxytocin production that helps the uterus contract.
- Watch your posture. Try to keep your body in a good upright position and no slouching on the couch. Mild exercise can help keep you in good physical condition and promote baby to settle into a head down position.
- Natural therapies such as acupuncture, Bowen Therapy and reflexology can balance energy and help you to release any tension and fears so that you are in a positive mind set for labour to begin.
40 Weeks Pregnant – Your Baby
Your baby is snug and content inside but won’t be there for much longer. You should keep an eye on her movements now, and if they slow down significantly or change you should contact your caregiver. She will keep putting on fat in preparation for life outside.
Baby’s weight is likely somewhere between 3 and 4 kg now, and she is anywhere from 47-53 cm long, about the size of a pumpkin.