Pregnancy Week 40

July 16, 2009

Most women by week 40 are about to deliver their babies. Some go past the 40-week mark, and unless your doctor feels it is important to induce labor, you may carry on for another week before you see your precious little baby. Due date calculations are done scientifically, but are not an exact science, so sometimes the calculations may be off a little. First time mothers often deliver past their due date, either due to a slight miscalculation, or because their baby wants to "bake" a bit longer. Either way, at 40 weeks, you still have some time if your baby needs it.

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Baby Weighs Between Seven And Ten Pounds Now

Baby weighs between seven and ten pounds now, although the average is around seven and a half to nine pounds. Babies are born full-term weighing more or less than these weights, but these are the norm. Baby has little room to move now, and is likely thinking about making his grand entrance soon. You are at your peak in terms of size and weight, and getting around has probably been quite challenging. Again, it is important to rest and stay connected with your baby during this time.

Is An Episiotomy Necessary?

Without an ultrasound, it is difficult to tell how big your baby is at this point. An ultrasound can give the doctor a close estimate, usually within a pound. You may want to discuss procedures should the baby be quite large. Some doctors like to perform an episiotomy as a means to help a woman deliver a larger than average baby. This procedure is surrounded with considerable controversy. The idea of the episiotomy is to prevent tearing. However, research has indicated that women do not heal any better when they have an episiotomy and may experience more complications.

Full Speed Ahead After The Pregnancy Water Breaks

You will want to talk with your doctor about when you should arrive at the delivery center. Some doctors prefer you arrive sooner rather than later. Regardless, if your water breaks, you will be on your way to the hospital or birth center immediately. The most active labor will happen shortly after the water breaks. If your water breaks at home and you are alone, call for help. While not ideal, many babies have been born in an ambulance or car because labor and delivery happened very quickly after the woman's water broke.

If you are in labor and your water has not broken yet, your doctor may perform a simple sweep of the membranes to encourage the breaking of the sac. This is called "stripping the membranes" and it stimulates active labor and birth.

Whether you go into labor this week, or next, it won't be long before you are holding your baby in your arms. Life will never be the same.

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