40 Weeks Pregnant: 36 to 39 Weeks Pregnancy

Now at 40 weeks pregnant your body is prepared for baby delivery. From 36 weeks, you should be having weekly checkups as the baby could arrive at any time now. Your baby is ready to see you now that you are 40 weeks pregnant.

Note 1: There is almost no room for the baby to move around.

Note 2: Baby has dropped into the pelvis area.

Memo for this Month

Fetus size: approximately 50 cm

Fetus weight: approximately 2.9 to 3.4 kg

Fundal height: 32 to 34 cm

· Can give birth at anytime now

· Feeling Braxton Hicks contractions

· Be prepared to go to hospital at any time

· Planned for after the birth

· Take regular showers

· When you experience the first signs of labor go to the hospital immediately

· Be extra careful when going out by yourself

· Let your family and friends know your location at all times

How developed is the baby being 40 weeks pregnant?

The baby is receiving antibodies from mommy to strengthen its immune system

10 months pregnancy

After 36 weeks, the baby’s organs are already fully functioning and strong. Your baby's hair could be 2 to 3 cm long and finger and toe nails are formed. Your baby is building up its immune system receiving antibodies through the placenta and after 37 weeks, your baby can be delivered without any concern.

More fat around the baby’s body

Last month, your baby’s lanugo (the soft white hair covering the baby's body) was shed in the womb leaving only a little around its shoulders, hands, feet, and wrinkles. Increased fat around the body has removed wrinkles and now the baby's skin is very smooth.

Body has regular movement

Your baby will fall asleep and wake up at regular intervals of around 40 minutes. The baby starts to regulate its movement and has now curled up their body in preparation for birth.

Changes in Mommy’s Body

Less pressure on your stomach

Fundal height is now at its highest, but the pressure on your stomach is getting less and it is now a little easier to breathe. This is because the uterus has started to drop and applies less pressure on your stomach in preparation for labor.

Cervix and vagina get softer and there is more secretion

At 10 months pregnancy, the cervix and vagina have softened to allow the baby to come out easier. The cervix of some pregnant women may start to open slightly but don’t worry, just observe the movement of your baby.

Pubic bone feels more painful

Getting closer to giving birth, your body will start to produce a hormone called thyroxine which will help the baby pass through the vagina by loosening the pubis area. Once the pubis area has become loose, the baby will drop lower and it will become easier to deliver. When the baby’s head is pressing against the pubic bone and pelvis, it will start to feel painful. This pain will last from now till you give birth and will gradually become more painful. This pain will however disappear after you give birth, but if you now feel serious pubis pain just try lying down and have a rest.

Fake contractions (Braxton Hicks)

Getting close now to giving birth and your tummy may experience frequent feelings of tightness and some pain as well, these fake contractions are a sign you are getting closer to having real contractions, so be prepared!

Checkups for this Month

Routine pelvic examination

After 36 weeks, you will now have weekly checkups. Birth is usually between 37 to 42 weeks and during this time your doctor will do a routine pelvic examination to examine the uterus and vagina and check the progress of your pregnancy.

Ultrasound and contraction checkup

If your pregnancy due date has passed and you haven't given birth, then you will need to do an ultrasound and contraction checkup. They will also monitor your baby's heart rate to ensure everything is OK.

Delivery options

If there are any pregnancy complications and you can't give birth naturally, then you will need to decide when to have Cesarean. It is best when the baby is 38-39 weeks and weighs about 3kg. However, if you are having twins then its best around 36-37 weeks to avoid the possibility of going into early labor.

Life Changes that Need Your Attention this Month

· In the last month of pregnancy, you will need checkups every week in preparation for giving birth.

· Your body is now getting ready for birth so you must keep an eye open for any body changes and signs of going into labor. Anytime within 2 weeks of your due date you may go into labor, this is quite normal, do not panic just go to the hospital immediately.

· Be careful when going out alone at this time and if you do go out, carry all your identification and medical documents with you and notify all your family and friends of where you intend to go and when you will return.

· It's important now to eat properly and save your strength for giving birth and get plenty of rest.

· Always be prepared to go to hospital, have a bag packed and transport arranged. Keep yourself clean and ready to go at a moment notice.

· Time to stop having sex. The risks of infection are too high and the possibility of forcing your water to break could cause complications.

Prenatal Care this Month

Tell the baby you are looking forward to seeing him or her

Your baby is fully developed, is ready to come out and is very excited about seeing the outside world. The baby’s senses and mental state are more sensitive now and talking to them will improve their mood. It is now very important to not worry and concern yourself with giving birth and try meditation to help reduce the fear of giving birth.

What Mommy’s need to know: Know what real and false labor pain is

Why do you have labor pain

To prepare for your baby to pass through the birth canal, the uterus muscles will spasm and the pain you feel is caused by your muscle spasms. The closer to birth you get, the more your body will perform these spasms to prepare you for delivery.

Preparation contractions

This is the pain you get when your body is ready for delivery.

Symptoms:

· You can feel the baby’s head move into the pelvis area

· Your vaginal secretion increases with sometimes a brown blood colored mucus

· Contraction time and frequency increases

Real contractions

When your real labor starts, the real labor pain will start and this pain is different for everyone. Even if this is your second or third birth the experience can be totally different. Knowing the symptoms for real labor pain is helpful to prepare you to give birth:

· Contractions are getting more severe with time

· The gap between each contraction is getting shorter and is regular

· Wet underwear is a sign that your water has broken

False contractions

False contractions feel similar with real contractions; so many women feel like the baby is coming and wrongly go to the hospital. Though you are experiencing these false contractions, you are probably still some time away from going into labor.

Symptoms:

· The contraction pain remains the same

· The time between contractions is not regular - 2 minutes, 7 minutes, 30 minutes…

· Doing a little exercise or changing your body position will stop or reduce the contraction pain

· Your tummy feels more painful than your waist

· Now those are the needed information you have to know on your 10 months pregnant. Congratulations for having your baby!

Sandra Henderson
 

Editor-in-chief at Babiology and a proud mother of four passionate about sharing pregnancy and baby growth knowledges

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