40 Weeks Pregnant

40 Weeks Pregnant – My Growing Baby

Your baby should be between 19 and 21 inches long and weigh anywhere from 6 ¾ to 10 pounds. If you are having a boy, then he is most likely on the larger side of these ranges, because on average boys are bigger than girls.*

40 Weeks Pregnant – Changes for my baby

Your baby’s bones have become hard, with the exception of his/her skull. The bones in the skull need to remain soft and pliable for delivery so that they can overlap as they pass through the birth canal. Because a newborn’s skull is designed this way, your baby’s head may have a cone appearance for the first several days of life. Your baby will actually have two soft spots, or fontanelles, on their head which allow for an easier delivery. The front fontanelle will become hard between the eighth and fifteenth month of life. The back fontanelle becomes hard between the third and fourth month.*

40 Weeks Pregnant – Changes for me

During pushing and delivery, your baby’s head will begin to make an appearance through your vaginal opening with each contraction. When your baby’s head remains visible and does not slip back in, it is known as crowning.

As your baby’s head crowns, you will experience a burning or stinging sensation, often referred to as “the ring of fire,” as your baby stretches the vaginal opening. As soon as you feel this, stop pushing! If you continue to push and bear down, you increase your risk of tearing or needing an episiotomy.

The burning or stinging sensation only lasts for a short time and is followed by a numb feeling. This is due to your baby’s head stretching your vaginal tissue so thin that the nerves are blocked. The result is a natural anesthetic.

Tips to fight that urge to push:

  • Lean back and try to go limp
  • Make a conscious effort to relax the muscles of the perineal floor (the layers of muscles and tissue between the vagina and rectum)
  • Focus your energy into deep breathing techniques
  • Allow your contractions to do the work for you during this time

40 Weeks Pregnant – Planning this week

During this last visit be prepared for the following tests:

  • Non-stress test
  • Amniotic Fluid Index (AFI)
  • Sonogram biophysical profile score

Your healthcare provider will discuss the following possibilities:

  • The possibility of going past your due date
  • Induction (at the doctor’s discretion)
  • Cesarean Birth

40 Weeks Pregnant – Health Tips

Once you have delivered your baby, he/she will be given their first test in life, the APGAR. Put away the flash cards and don’t expect too much too early; rarely does any baby get a perfect score on this test. Although it is your child’s first assessment, it is not a predictor of their future behavior or intellect.

The APGAR is a quick assessment of overall newborn well being. The APGAR is used immediately following the delivery of the baby. The scores are recorded at one minute and five minutes of life. At the one minute APGAR, scores between seven and ten indicate that the baby will need only routine post delivery care. At the five minute APGAR, a score of seven to ten is normal.

40 Weeks Pregnant – Tips for my partner

You and your partner may hear of a wide variety of techniques to help labor get started. While it may be tempting to try one or all of these, it is important that you discuss any of these wives’ tales with your healthcare provider. Most of these techniques have not proven to be consistently effective, and some are not safe.

Last Updated: 11/2012

* All measurements are provided as a general guide for common pregnancy development which may vary depending on the nutrition, mother’s health or accurate dating of conception.  Every pregnancy is unique and may be experienced differently even for the same woman.  It is important to undertand that babies develop at a different rate even before they are born. The purpose of this developmental information is to give you a general idea of how your baby is growing, and you must remember that your baby’s growth may vary from that which is outlined.

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