40 Week Pregnant: Pregnancy Week By Week

By week forty you are now tired of being pregnant. The baby will be making an appearance very soon. This is a very happy and exciting time for you and your family. It can also be a very scary time as well. You start to worry about the delivery and what is going to happen after the baby comes home form the hospital. You aren’t going to be expected to be Super Mom but everything in time will come to you. The idea is not to panic or worry about it. You have a great support system in place and there will be family and friends on hand to help you.

You are going to find that your emotions are all over the place. You will experience happiness, sadness, frustration and sensitivity. Don’t worry, no one will hold anything you say or do against you at this week in pregnancy. Some women wait until the last minute to have a baby shower and others wait until the baby is born. Don’t plan anything for week forty, what would happen if at your shower you went into labor. You want to stick close to home and avoid riding in a car at this stage of pregnancy.

You will soon start to feel some contractions, don’t panic about them, time then and write them down. By this week you should have sat down with the doctor and talked about what happens at this week in pregnancy. You should know what happens during these contractions and when you need to go to the hospital.

Baby’s Development

Now your baby would weight near about 6 ½ pounds to 10 pounds and the baby would grow somewhere between 19 to 21 inches. A baby boy would be much larger as compared to a baby girl. Now your baby is very healthy and lying with its head downwards. All the bones of the baby would harden by this time leaving behind the baby’s skull. The skull brains need to remain soft so that they can pass through birth canal easily. The skull of new born baby appears like a cone for the first few days from birth. There are two soft spots or fontanelles on the head of the baby. The structure of baby is designed so well by nature, allowing an easy delivery.

The front fontanelle becomes a bit hard in between eighth and fifteenth month and back fontanelle becomes hard between third and fourth month. The fetus makes increasing moments in order to comfort itself. This would let you under severe pains to you. The fetus completes its growth and is ready to come out of the womb. The baby starts developing immunities that are needed for survival of the baby. The week marks a complete pregnancy if the baby is delivered during 40th week of pregnancy. The baby is waiting to come out so also the mother is waiting impatiently to welcome her baby.

How Your Life’s Changing

After months of anticipation, your due date rolls around, and you’re still pregnant. It’s a 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 her if your pregnancy continues.

You may have a biophysical profile (BPP), which consists of an ultrasound to look at your baby’s overall movements, breathing movements (movement of her chest muscles and diaphragm), and muscle tone (whether she opens and closes her hand or extends and then flexes her limbs), as well as the amount of amniotic fluid that surrounds her (important because it’s a reflection of how well the placenta is supporting your baby).

Fetal heart rate monitoring (called a nonstress test or NST) will generally be done as well  by itself or as part of the BPP. Or, you may have what’s known as a modified BPP, which consists of an NST and an ultrasound to assess the amount of amniotic fluid.

If the fetal 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 labor is induced. If you don’t go into labor on your own, you’ll be induced, usually sometime between 41 and 42 weeks.

Week 40 Pregnancy Symptoms

More Frequent Braxton Hicks Contractions

Wondering if those contractions you’re feeling this week are the practice Braxton Hicks contractions or the real thing? If they don’t increase in frequency or severity, or if they subside when you walk around or change position, then they are probably just practice contractions.

Slowdown in Fetal Activity

Even though your baby’s movements have slowed down, he still should be moving around in there. How much movement is normal? You should be able to count ten flutters, wiggles, or rolls in an hour.

Heartburn or Indigestion

Your heartburn may be a thing of the past in a few days. In the meantime, get some relief by chewing gum after every meal (as well as popping those Tums).

Cervical Dilation or Effacement

Although you won’t feel your cervix opening or thinning out, it is probably happening this week. Dilation is measured in centimeters and effacement in percentages; after an internal exam, your practitioner will probably give you the measurements. The cervix will continue to dilate (and efface) through early and active labor.

Diarrhea or Nausea

Your bowels take a beating during pregnancy and it seems as if they go from one extreme (sluggish) to the other (loose). This week, loose bowel movements may be a sign that your labor is imminent. So if you have other signs bloody show, your baby has dropped, your mucous plug has fallen out you may be meeting your baby face-to-face soon!

Pelvic Pressure And Discomfort

If your baby has dropped this week, the uncomfortable feeling in your pelvis may be traced to a certain someone’s little head bumping up against your hips and bladder. If you have the time, schedule a massage with a certified prenatal massage therapist; it’ll soothe the discomfort.

Leg Cramps

While no one really knows what causes those painful spasms in your legs, it’s a good bet that carrying around all that pregnancy weight (especially this week!) is a pain in the legs. When a spasm hits, gently flexing your ankle and toes back toward your shin can help.

Difficulty Sleeping

As tempting as it is to try herbal supplements or other over-the-counter sleep aids, don’t. Instead, ask your partner for a relaxing massage.

Fatigue Or Extra Energy

Changes in energy level are pretty common this week. Maybe you’ve been hit by the nesting instinct or maybe you just have an urge to slump in front of the TV and veg out. Don’t worry both are completely normal, as is alternating between the two states.

Tests To Monitor Baby’s Well-Being

If you go past your due date your doctor may want to monitor your baby’s well-being. Here is some information on some of the tests your doctor may perform if your pregnancy goes overdue.

Kick Count

Your doctor may have your record how many movements your baby is making. There are several methods for doing kick counts but one of the common methods is the the Cardiff Count to Ten method. With this method you monitor your baby’s movements and record them on paper. You mark your first movement and the time and then continue marking movements until you get to ten. Record the time when you reach ten kicks. As a general guide, it should take no more than two hours to feel ten movements.

Non-stress Test

During a non-stress test you will have two belts placed around your abdomen, one monitors your baby’s heart rate, the other monitor’s contractions. While the test is running a paper will print out showing your baby’s heart rate and your contractions. You will be given a button and instructed to press the button each time you feel your baby kick. Pressing the button will create a mark on the paper print out that your doctor can review. By monitoring your baby’s heart rate, and his reaction to your contractions and his own movements, your doctor can gain insight into your baby’s well-being.

Biophysical Profile

This test is similar to the non-stress test. It combines the electronic monitoring of the non-stress test with an ultrasound. Your doctor will monitor your baby’s heart rate, movements, muscle tone, breathing, and also the amount of amniotic fluid around your baby.

Contraction Stress Test

A contraction stress test may be given to see how your baby responds to contractions. The test is similar to the non-stress test, as you will have two belts placed over your abdomen for monitoring, but you will also be given pitocin (a synthetic hormone that brings on contractions) intravenously. Because there is a chance that your baby will not tolerate contractions well you will be instructed not to eat before the procedure in the event that your baby needs to be delivered by emergency csection.