Welcome to your 40th and final week of your pregnancy journey. This is it! The wait is nearly over. Within just a couple of days, you will finally meet your precious baby. It is amazing how only 40 weeks ago you were living your life as usual, and all of a sudden, a lucky sperm met an egg, and ever since then nothing has been the same!
You have gone through 9 full months of pregnancy, you have been through all the stages, you have started off with the first trimester, which is never really easy for any woman especially if it is your first baby, then the second trimester -which was entirely different and hopefully better than the first- and finally, you are at the end of the third trimester!
It has been quite the journey with all its ups and downs, all of its hormonal and bodily changes, but the real adventure starts within just a few days when you get to meet your little baby.
By this week, your baby has already shed all the waxy skin coating (vernix) which acted as a moisturizer, now, his skin could be getting a bit dry in some spots, but no need to worry, once he is here, all that is going to change.
At this stage, make sure to keep talking to your baby, your baby can hear everything around your bump, and speaking to him helps him to recognize your voices when he arrives.
Changes Happening in Your Body by Your 40th Week
If this is your first baby, then you will be having an antenatal appointment with your doctor this week to measure your blood pressure, your bump size and you will hand over a urine sample to have it checked. Your doctor will need to check for any signs of pre-eclampsia, which is a dangerous condition that high protein in urine and high blood pressure can indicate.
At this stage, it will be almost the same as the past few weeks, you will experience some practice contractions known as Braxton Hicks. They should be always painless, if it got painful and you felt tightening in your bump, then you have probably gotten into real labor!
Labor is divided into three parts, the first part is when you have the painful contractions and your cervix starts to open up till it reaches 10cm and that is when you are fully dilated. The first stage lasts between 6 to 12 hours, it could be even less if you had babies before.
The second stage is when you have safely delivered your baby, the third stage is when the placenta comes out, and when that happens, the entire delivery process is finally over.
How to Control Your Labor Pain
If you could feel your contractions starting at night time, then try your best to sleep through it, the more rest you get the better you are prepared for the delivery, and while you are asleep, your cervix will dilate.
In case your contractions start in the day time, then you need to stay upright and active as much as you can as this will help your baby to move down and will also help your cervix to open dilate. This can also help speed up the labor as well as minimizing your need for taking any painkillers.
In ancient history -especially in the ancient Egyptian times- it is thought that warm water is very helpful to relieve the pain of the delivery, this is shown in their paintings as they appear to show women giving birth in water with steam helping the delivery process. This method is well tested and proved to be helpful in modern times too, many women now choose to give pool births.
Always change your positions, try rocking on a birth ball or leaning on a wall or even have your partner help you by having you putting your arms around his neck and leaning on them, make sure to keep moving to relieve the pain and speed up the delivery.
Make sure to control your breathing, practice some breathing techniques by taking deep breaths in through your nose and letting them out through your mouth to keep your jaw relaxed. Ask your midwife or doctor if you can eat something healthy such as a banana or low-fat yogurt to give you some energy to keep up.
Symptoms of the 40th Week of Pregnancy
At this stage, the symptoms you will feel are the delivery symptoms, such as water breaking, back pain, sticky blobs of mucus, and Braxton Hicks.
Other 40th week of pregnancy symptoms might include:
- Sleeping problems
- Baxton Hicks
- Bleeding gums
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Random pain around muscles
- Sore breasts
- Leg cramps
- Stretch marks
- Thicker hair
- Swollen gums
- Urine infection
- Bloating or constipation
- Spotty skin
- Feeling too warm
- Greasier skin
- Vaginal infection
- Thicker hair
Your Baby’s 40th Week Development
Your baby is growing graciously day by day, making it tighter and tighter in there, but you can still feel all of his kicks and movements. By your 40th week, your baby is now around 3.5kg in weight and is about 51.2cm in length from head to toe.
Your baby is getting all squashed up in there with all smaller space as he grows bigger and bigger every day. Still, your baby should be moving in the same patterns he is used to. If you felt the baby’s movement stopping or slowing down at any point, make sure to contact your doctor or midwife as soon as possible.
This Week’s Tips
Go for a Swim
Give your body a break from all the extra weight and stress and take a swim or even take a nice bath to relax your muscles and relieve the stress.
Stay Busy, Stay Relaxed
During these last few days of your pregnancy journey, it is important to keep yourself busy with as many activities as you can, choose activities that help you relax and get your mind off the delivery stress, try meditating, doing yoga, or even doing a little workout to keep yourself busy.