Pregnancy Stages: Week 40
Officially it is the week that marks the end of your pregnancy and the birth of your child. Your baby is now fully developed weighing between 3.5 to 4kg. His head contains soft spots which help his head to twist while passing into the birth canal. Vernix Caseosa has mainly disappeared as well as the lanugo. Fat is developing under his skin to maintain his body temperature at birth.
Your body is ready to deliver the baby. You will become impatient and anxious counting the days. Your cervix starts to efface and enlarge. It will dilate during labor to make way for the baby’s passage. Your vagina will open tremendously for the baby’s passage and returns to its size after delivery. During this week, the pressure on your pelvis increases creating an uncomfortable feeling while walking. Sleeping becomes difficult, but you should try to rest as much as you can before the baby comes. Even with the best reliable calculator, you will never be able to schedule an exact date for your delivery unless you are scheduled for a c-section.
Your practitioner might ask for a non stress test (NST) to monitor the baby’s well being. If the results are not comforting, he will induce you. The doctor will use special medications to create contractions and stimulate labor. He might start by inserting tablets that contains prostaglandins in your vagina to ripen the cervix then he will set up an IV drip of oxytocin. Usually doctors induce labor when you exceed your due date or when signs of distress appear.
If you are planning to breastfeed, ask your doctor about its benefits and techniques. Your breasts will start leaking colostrum, a substance which contains lots of immunoglobulin that helps your baby’s immunity system.
Use this time to relax and get some sleep. Your partner would be excited about the idea of delivery. Hang on you have made it till the end!