You’ve reached your 40th (and hopefully final) week of pregnancy! Congratulations! What can you expect to happen before your baby finally arrives?
Your baby’s development
This week your baby is the size of a… Japanese pumpkin.
Your baby is well and truly formed now, however predicting when you actually are about to go into labouris far from an exact science. Only 5 per cent of babies are born on the day they are expected, while 75 per cent of babies are born after their due date.
A bit of extra time inside the uterus does your little one no harm, but you will be closely monitored from this point in case induction is necessary. As before, keep an eye on her movement and, if you have any concerns contact your doctor or midwife.
This week your baby is so safely and tightly snuggled up that you might wonder how she even fits inside your uterus. Part of the magic is that her bones, which are fully formed, are still soft and will only harden after she is born.
Your physical pregnancy changes
You baby bump has probably ‘dropped’ by now, the bathroom has become your best friend, you’re ready for your little one to appear… but where is she?
Your body may tease you with Braxton Hicks contractions. These should feel the same as before – irregular contractions that aren’t particularly painful – but if they do become regular, painful and you feel your waters break then you are probably going into labour.
If not, you might want to try ways to encourage your labour, but mostly you will need to wait patiently and prepare yourself for the stages of labour, when your day does finally come.
Your health and fitness during pregnancy
When you’re so heavily pregnant, you may feel that moving around is far too much effort.
Alternatively, you might be so restless that you find going for a gentle walk or swim is the perfect way to distract yourself. Light exercise can even encourage the body to start labour naturally.
Your week 40 pregnancy checklist
· Double check you have everything in your hospital bag that you need.
· Go over your birth plan with your partner, and make sure you’re both happy with it and nothing’s missed out.
· Keep note of those Braxton Hicks contractions – if they become painful, it’s probably labour time.
· Familiarise yourself with the signs of labour.
· Go for a walk or a swim.
· Try to stay busy to take your mind off what seems like an endless wait…