As you and your baby enter the 40th week, you may be quite anxious for childbirth. This can be a very happy and exciting time, but also a very challenging time for you. Again, hang in there and try to enjoy these last hours with your baby inside you. Continue preparing his or her arrival—he or she will be here soon enough (although some pregnancies go beyond the 40th week, in which case a doctor may decide to induce labor).
Symptoms and Body Changes at 40 Weeks
Pains are increasing due to pressure caused by the amount of weight you are gaining, as well as the movements of your baby. There is now very little room for him or her to move around, so it may feel like the baby is not moving as much. Pay attention to how often he or she moves, not how strong the movements are—there’s not much room in there to wind up and give a strong kick!
Don’t plan day-long shopping expeditions or long hikes. During this 40th week, you will want to try to cut back on your activities. This should not be hard to do, since even walking, and standing seem like a challenge. You should still get some exercise, though—if possible you should walk for about 30 minutes each day. There is much more pressure being placed on your bladder, groin, and lower abdomen. You may start to feel some contractions. These irregular contractions are called Braxton-Hicks contractions. They usually feel like tight squeezing and are only mildly uncomfortable. They help get the cervix ready for delivery. A white substance may begin to secrete from your nipples; this is normal—it is your body’s way of preparing for feeding your child. Cramps throughout your body will also continue, so try your best to rest as much as possible.
Your baby is pretty much done developing by this last week of pregnancy, and is waiting for its arrival in the new world. All internal organs are functioning, although the lungs and brain will continue to form and develop even after birth.
Your baby is now developing immunities that will be needed for survival after birth. At this point, if you have not given birth, your baby can weigh up to ten pounds and may be as long as 21 inches. All of his or her bones have hardened except for the skull, which remains soft for delivery. As he or she continues to move around in a small space, your pains may increase. Hang in there, Mom!
Pregnancy Week 40 Tips
This should be your last week of pregnancy, but you may have another week or two to go. You may be feeling overwhelmed by anxious thoughts about the delivery. Do your best to relax and get ready for the arrival of your baby. Make sure you have plenty of diapers and wipes on hand. Keep your friends and family updated on your condition. If possible, talk to your parents or your partner’s parents, as they have been through this before. Although it may seem too difficult, light exercise can help reduce pain and discomfort. Congratulations, Mom! Be happy in this exciting time.