Pregnancy Week 40



This week marks the official end of your pregnancy. Your baby probably weighs anywhere from six to nine pounds and measures between 19 and 22 inches (though tons of perfectly healthy babies are smaller or bigger). The bones in his skull haven’t fused yet; Mother Nature’s way of making it easier to get through the birth canal during labour and delivery. He now has enough fat under the skin to maintain his body temperature outside the womb.

After months of anticipation, your due date rolls around, and... You’re still pregnant. It's frustrating, but common; situation in which to find yourself. You may not be as late as you think especially if you're relying solely on a due date calculated from the day of your last period because sometimes women ovulate later than expected. Even with reliable dating, some women have prolonged pregnancies for no apparent reason.

You still have a couple of weeks before you'll be considered "post-term." But to be sure your baby is still thriving; your practitioner will schedule you for testing to keep an eye on your pregnancy. Foetal heart rate monitoring will generally be done as well.

If the foetal testing isn't reassuring the amniotic fluid level is too low, for example you'll be induced. If there's a serious, urgent problem, you may have an immediate C-section.

Your practitioner will also check your cervix to see if it's "ripening." Its position, how soft it is, how effaced (thinned out) it is, and how dilated (open) it is can all affect when and how your labour is induced. If you don't go into labour on your own, you'll be induced, usually sometime between 41 and 42 weeks.

Many women share an unfounded fear of not being able to actually birth their baby. It does seem implausible that something so big (a six-or-seven-plus-pound watermelon) could squeeze through such a little space, but that's exactly what happens most of the time. Whether you're plus-size, petite, or any size in between, it's the size of your pelvis — not your frame — that matters. Mother Nature knows what she's doing (for the most part), and the majority of newborns are pretty well matched to the size of their mothers (if you're small-boned, chances are you're not carrying sumo baby in there — unless, of course, you've eaten like a sumo wrestler during pregnancy). And your vagina knows what to do, too — it stretches considerably during childbirth and then, miraculously, it tightens up again. (You can help that process along by doing your Kegels faithfully both before and after you deliver.) Even your baby knows what to do — by molding his still-pliable head to fit through that tight squeeze. So don’t worry

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