You are 40 Weeks Exactly 0 days to go…

You’ve reached 40 weeks exactly! It may have seemed like a long wait, but it will be worth it once you’re holding your baby.

Your baby today

Your baby is now ready for the outside world. Sudden changes will take place with that first breath after delivery, as she immediately adapts from her time within the fluid-filled environment of the uterus to life in the air outside.

Congratulations! If you don’t yet have your newborn baby in your arms, you soon will, and your life will be changed forever. Even the longest pregnancy seems unaccountably short when your labor begins, and the reality begins to hit that you’ll soon be holding your newborn.

You’ll get through the labor; and you’ll forget about the discomfort after a few good sessions detailing it to family and close friends. In fact, everything that precedes that moment when you hold your newborn baby for the first time becomes inconsequential when you realize that you have created the most wondrous thing of all: a new life. So good luck and well done! This is only just the beginning of the most amazing years of your life.

Your pregnancy is coming to an end so rather than nurturing your belly, you’ll soon be nurturing your amazing newborn baby.

58 percent of parents questioned in a recent survey believed that the name they gave their baby would contribute to his or her success in life.

More found it easier to name a boy than a girl, and just 3 percent said they would change the name they’d given their baby if they could.

Overdue Baby

Your baby is described as being overdue if you have not gone into labor by the time you are 40 weeks’ pregnant. This is not unusual since most women do not go into labor at exactly 40 weeks, and anything between 37 and 42 weeks is considered to be normal.

Why labor is late

As the exact trigger that sets off labor is unknown, it’s not clear why some women are overdue. You are more likely to be overdue if this is your first baby, if you’ve had an overdue baby before, or if the condition runs in your family. Some think it’s more common in well nourished women, and there is even evidence that pregnancies are longer in the summer than in the winter. If your due date was figured out from an early ultrasound, this gives a more accurate dating of pregnancy than the date of your last menstrual period, and you’ll be less likely to be classified as overdue.

What will be done

After 41 weeks, there is a slightly increased risk to your baby’s health that may be due to the reduced efficiency of the placenta. After 42 weeks the risk increases, but is still small. Depending on hospital policy, you will be offered an induction around 41 weeks . The following may also be done.

Stripping the membranes

After 40 weeks, your doctor may do an internal examination to “strip the membranes.” She’ll insert a gloved finger into the cervix and pull the membranes in a circular pattern. This can soften the cervix and increase the chance of you going into labor by 30 percent in the next 48 hours. It’s safe for you and your baby, but can cause cramps and slight bleeding.

Assessments after 42 weeks

Many doctors induce labor by 41 or 42 weeks. If your pregnancy goes beyond 42 weeks and you don’t want to be induced, your doctor may offer monitoring with scans to measure the baby’s pulse and volume of fluid around the baby; or you may have a NST  once or twice a week until labor to pick up any signs that the placenta is failing. If a problem is found, you’ll be advised to have a cesarean or an induction of labor.

Going over your due date can be stressful, but it may help to remind yourself that it’s also extremely common and quite normal.

How you’re feeling

You might find the physical and mental stress of being pregnant beyond your due date considerable but it can help to know that unless you have a medical condition, being overdue does not significantly increase your health risks. You may worry that your baby will grow too large, causing difficulty in labor, but your baby isn’t likely to put on enough weight in the last week or so to make a big difference and most overdue babies have a normal birthweight.

At-home strategies
Bringing on labor

Although no “home” or alternative remedy has been proven to bring on labor, there are several harmless techniques that are thought to assist the body’s natural processes.

  • Probably the most enjoyable way to try to bring on labor is to make love with your partner. Sperm contains prostaglandins that may act as a natural uterine stimulant, although the evidence that this works is inconclusive. Making love is not dangerous to your baby, unless your doctor has specifically told you to refrain from intercourse for a medical reason, such as fetal growth restriction or placental bleeding.

  • Nipple stimulation during sex or by itself can cause the release of oxytocin from your pituitary gland, which is linked to contractions and cervical ripening.

  • Walking and exercise may cause a mild increase in uterine contractions by helping the baby move down the pelvis, putting pressure on the cervix.

  • Raspberry leaf has been associated with increased uterine activity. Very little research has been done studying the use of raspberry leaf in pregnant women, so it’s best to avoid this herbal remedy unless your doctor gives you the go-ahead and your pregnancy is already full-term.

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