Week 40: Why You Should Talk to Your Baby

Woah, baby! Pat yourself on the back, mama, it’s officially the end of your pregnancy! If you haven’t yet delivered, have no fear. About 30 percent of all pregnancies go past the 40-week mark. Once your baby does arrive, be sure you talk to him or her every chance you get. The baby will most likely recognize your voices! Here’s what you can expect of pregnancy and your baby during week 40.

Pregnancy Week 40: Why You Should Talk to Your Baby

At 40 weeks pregnant, your baby weighs anywhere from six to nine pounds and measures between 19 and 22 inches. Think of a small pumpkin and you have your little bundle of joy. Your placenta is still feeding the baby and providing antibodies that prevent infections for the first six months. If you’re planning to breastfeed, the baby will gain even more antibodies and nutrients through your breast milk.

When your little one makes his or her grand entrance, you’ll know for certain whether you have a boy or girl. And be sure to talk to your new arrival and say hello, your baby will recognize the sound of you and your partner’s voices. Heart-bursting joy! The baby’s vision at birth is a bit blurry as babies can only focus about an inch a way but don’t worry, this is temporary.

Newborns are used to being in the womb where space is somewhat cramped. Because of that, when babies are newly born they love being swaddled. It’s a comforting position that your baby is used to, and is a reminder of your uterus. Before long, your new arrival will spread out and learn to stretch the limbs.

Body Changes to Expect for Week 40

Even though about 30 percent of all pregnancies go beyond 40 weeks, practitioners usually don’t let you go further than 42 weeks without inducing (thankfully!). One big clue that you’re going into normal labor? Your amniotic sac will rupture aka your water will break. And it’s not typically going to happen like you’ve seen on TV shows or heard through horror stories. Fewer than 15 percent of women experience a rupture of their amniotic sac, and rather than a tidal wave of water, it’s usually more like a slow leak or trickle. If your water does break, you can expect labor to begin within 24 hours, either normally or from your practitioner. Not sure whether it’s your water breaking? Try these two tests: one, if it looks yellow and smells of ammonia, it’s likely urine, and two, squeeze your pelvic muscles and if the flow stops, it’s urine. Call your doctor right away if the fluid is green or brown as your baby may have had a bowel movement in utero.

Are you one of the many expecting mothers who wonders how a six-plus pound baby can squeeze through such a small opening? You’re not alone! Rest assured, Mother Nature knows what to do. The size of your pelvis is what matters and most babies are matched to the size of their mothers. Your vagina will stretch considerably to birth your baby, and then miraculously go back to normal (doing your Kegel exercises all along should have helped tremendously!) Don’t worry, mama, you got this!

Pregnancy Symptoms to Watch For

A nesting instinct, leg cramps and insomnia are all regular pregnancy symptoms you’ll experience at this latest stage of your pregnancy. It’s uncomfortable to sleep when you have a good-sized belly taking up a lot of room, and the pregnancy weight can cause pain in your legs. Hormones are still raging up and down and you’ll experience changes in your energy levels this last leg of your pregnancy.

You’ll also likely experience changes in fetal activity as your baby’s moving down and/or getting in position. How much movement is normal? Every hour you should be able to count 10 flutters, wiggles or rolls. If the baby has dropped this week, you may even experience pelvic pain as his head may be bumping against your bladder or hips. Your cervix is probably opening or thinning out this week too. It’s not an experience you’ll feel but it will continue through your labor. You may also experience some Braxton Hicks contractions this week. Not sure if it’s the real thing? If they don’t increase in frequency or intensity, or they stop when you change positions, it’s likely false contractions. Another sign labor is imminent is if you suddenly have very loose bowel movements.

Week 40 To-Do List

If your baby hasn’t yet made a grand entrance, this week’s to-do list is all about remaining comfortable while you wait. Talk to your health care provider about a plan for inducing if you’re past your due date. If you’re in pain, consider having an acupuncture session as it can be an effective form of pain relief. Go for a soak in a warm bath or pool (avoid the hot tub) or opt for a prenatal massage to relax. Take a walk or do a mini workout to keep your mind busy. Pack your hospital bag. Or tackle your list of things to do before baby arrives. It’s hard to think about anything else when you’re waiting for a baby to arrive! Try to stay as relaxed as you can with the nerves and excitement pulsing through every thought. But you’ll need your strength for labor and delivery so this point of your pregnancy is all about remaining calm, getting as much sleep as you can and doing minimal activities. One last note: don’t go anywhere without a cell phone as you could go into labor at any minute!

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