Week-by-Week Pregnancy: 40th Week
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When you reach 40 weeks, you may wonder at what stage your baby’s development is. Here are the answers to all your questions, such as weight, height, development of his systems and senses, and the skills he gained…
How Big Has My Baby got?
Your baby has grown to the size of watermelon this week.
Even though the lengthening has stopped compared to the previous week, your little one continues to store fat this week. The face, arms, and legs gain a more plump appearance and gain the appearance of postpartum. In short, it now literally has the physical characteristics of a newborn baby.
The 40-week-old baby’s weight and height will be approximate as in the table below:
Gestational Age (Weeks)
These values are the average values of a baby at 40 weeks. Your little one may be overweight or thin, shorter or taller under the control of the doctor. Many factors affect physical characteristics, such as weight and height, and it is natural for each baby to have individual differences. As long as its development progresses in its normal course, it will not be a problem if these values are slightly below or above the average.
Development of Systems and Newly Acquired Skills
As the time of birth approaches, you wonder whether your baby has developed enough to adapt to the outside world.
So, let’s examine at what stage the 40-week-old baby’s organ and system development are ready for birth.
Nervous System + Endocrine System
Your baby’s nervous system continues to develop and connect between cells. The production of new nerve cells continues.
The development of the endocrine system is complete. Some of the pregnancy hormones in the expectant mother’s blood can pass to the baby through circulation. For this reason, some babies may even see a small amount of milk coming out of their breasts after they are born. This situation returns to normal within a few days.
Your baby’s digestive system is well developed. It can digest breast milk. When he is born, the capacity of his stomach is the size of a cherry and is growing day by day.
Your little one’s lungs are now fully developed and ready to breathe. Thanks to the surfactant substance it has produced so far, it can take its first breath.
Support and Movement System
His muscles are highly developed and strengthened. Most of the bones in his body harden and reach his bony structure. Skull bones still retain their cartilage structure for ease of birth.
Meconium accumulation in the large intestines continues this week. Kidneys continue their filtering task actively.
If the testicles of male babies have not descended into the scrotum yet, they may descend this week. Some babies may be born with undescended testicles. In such a case, this descent will be completed within the first year after birth. Therefore, you should not worry if the facilities have not left the body when your baby is born. Your doctor will give you the necessary explanation.
While the placenta continues to produce antibodies for the baby, your baby continues to collect the antibodies in your body. In this way, the body prepares for the outside world.
40 Weeks Baby Moves
Your baby’s movements in the womb do not change much when the 40th week of pregnancy comes. Babies continue to move until the last moment, but not enough room to move, and the baby’s progress into the birth canal may cause the expectant mother to feel these movements much less. Baby movements at 40 weeks are now heavier and more stable. She is in the full fetal position, and her legs are curled up close to her face. Most of the time, babies maintain this posture as a habit from the mother’s womb, even after birth. This is nothing to worry about.
Until the moment of birth, the expectant mother should follow the baby’s movements. Although the maneuvers, turns, and kicks are heavy, the mother will feel them at specific intervals. If you feel a decrease in your baby’s movements in the last 24 hours and an abnormal slowdown, you should inform your doctor.
Sense Organs and Developmental Characteristics in 40 Weeks Baby
Very soon, you will hold your little one in your arms, and immediately after birth, your doctor will evaluate the baby’s basic reflexes and senses.
So what stage is the 40-week-old baby’s development at when it comes to sense organs? Here’s what your little one learned this week, step by step…
Eye and Sight
Their eyes are open or half-open. It is sensitive to light, and when it opens its eyes to the world, it may react to the light, such as blinking. Their eyes can only see 2-5 cm in front of them. In other words, it is still not possible to focus and see clearly. This ability will develop over time.
Ear and Hearing
Your baby can hear everything. She can recognize her parents’ voices by distinguishing them. He can show that he is familiar with these sounds by reacting to the sounds he heard while in the mother’s womb, even after he was born. It can be frightened when you give reactions such as shouting and crying, especially during birth.
Tongue and Taste
His sense of taste is fully developed.
Nose and sense of smell
The sense of smell has completed its development.
Skin and the Sense of Touch
Your baby’s skin will be very sensitive when born. While in the mother’s womb, the amniotic fluid it contains helps maintain the body’s temperature and acts as a protector against microbes. However, when he is born, his skin is suddenly vulnerable. For this reason, newborns may feel very cold at first. It is also necessary to protect their skin from external factors.
Mom at 40 Weeks Pregnancy
The 40th week of pregnancy is one of the most challenging weeks for expectant mothers. While every day passes with the suspicion that the birth will start, the physical difficulties have reached the highest level, while the pregnant women are mentally busy.
If you are 40 weeks pregnant, let’s examine together what awaits you this week, what you should be prepared for.
What’s Happening In Your Body?
Both physical and mental fatigue may have peaked these days. The contractions and pains that prepare the body for birth can be painful from time to time. You may have difficulty in carrying your body, going up and downstairs, and sometimes walking. In addition, back and lower back pain can increase and make you feel more tired.
One of the most common problems encountered in 40 weeks pregnant is insomnia. Your heavy stomach, the excitement of birth, and the labor pains that are starting to get more frequent can disrupt your sleep quality by interrupting your night’s sleep. You may have trouble finding the appropriate position and turning around while you sleep.
The cervical opening is one of the most important factors for delivery to occur. For vaginal delivery to take place, the cervix must reach 10 cm opening. Thanks to the labor pains, the cervix stretches and expands and tries to reach the required opening. The opening of the cervix begins to occur close to birth.
As your body weight increases, as your blood volume increases and accumulates between tissues, as your mobility decreases, your water consumption decreases, and your salt consumption increases, swelling may occur in certain parts of the body. The cause of these swellings is edema and occurs in almost 75% of expectant mothers at the 40th week of pregnancy.
Until this week, you may not have felt any pain, including labor preparation contractions (Braxton Hicks). 40-42nd birthday. Considering the possibility of occurring between weeks and weeks, you are likely to experience mild labor pains. These pains come at regular intervals, move from the waist to the abdomen or from the abdomen to the waist, and resemble menstrual cramps. They do not pass by resting or changing positions. On the contrary, as time passes, the time between two pains becomes shorter, and the duration of the incoming pain increases. In such a case, you should inform your doctor.
Tips to Minimize Annoying Pregnancy Symptoms!
At 40 weeks of pregnancy, the complaints of the expectant mother may increase greatly. Little tips will be handy for your baby to spend these last days in your womb more comfortably and peacefully.
Here are some practical advice for the mother at 40 weeks of pregnancy;
- Remove salt from your diet and consume plenty of water to alleviate edema concentrated in the body, especially in the face, hands, feet, and wrists.
- Take a warm shower to sleep better at night.
- Stretch and relax to relieve aches and pains.
- If you can, engage in activities that help clear your mind. E.g., go to the cinema, read a book, chat with your friends, watch movies.
- Ask your partner or a relative to massage your waist and back.
40th Week of Pregnancy If Birth Still Hasn't Started?
“It’s been nine months and ten days, still not born!” If you think so, don’t worry. Most babies are not born on time, and some are born after the 40th week.
If you are 40 weeks pregnant and do not have any signs of labor, your doctor will call you for a check-up every three days and connect you to NST. NST is a test that you take during your routine check-ups from the 35th week and measures the baby’s heart rate and the frequency of your contractions. If the 40-week-old baby continues to develop in the womb, if there is no decrease in amniotic fluid or a heart rhythm disorder, your doctor may wait until the 42nd week for delivery. If necessary, she can perform a normal delivery by cesarean section or artificial pain.
How Much Weight Should You Gain?
You may feel quite overweight just before you meet your baby. Maybe you have never been this heavy in your life. However, the weight gained during pregnancy shows a different distribution in your body.
The weight range prescribed by doctors for 40 weeks of pregnancy is 14-16 kg. The baby weighs 3-4 kilograms, breasts, uterus, amniotic fluid, and placenta weigh about one kilogram, and increased body fluids and blood volume make up 3-4 kilograms. Therefore, if you have gained 15-16 kilos since you got pregnant, it should not be a concern; this value is considered normal. You will get rid of most of them with the birth, and you will be able to lose your remaining weight quickly during the breastfeeding period.
Increasing stress and anxiety about childbirth in recent weeks can cause loss of appetite in expectant mothers. However, as in the whole pregnancy, nutrition is very important in the last period. The expectant mother should be fed to meet her energy needs. In addition, as of the last week of pregnancy, the consumption of foods that increase breast milk should be emphasized.
The recommendations for nutrition at 40 weeks of pregnancy are as follows;
- Remember to drink at least 2.5-3 liters of water a day.
- Use green vegetables in your meals. Provide the vitamin and mineral support you and your baby need by consuming fresh greens grown in the season.
- Make sure to consume nuts and dried fruits in your snacks. These products are beneficial foods to increase breast milk. Before your baby is born, it will be very beneficial to apply a diet that triggers milk production during breastfeeding.
- Avoid high-calorie foods.
- Continue to eat foods with high nutritional value. Choose foods high in iron.
In the last week, your little one’s pressure and weight will have significantly increased. This causes you to have more difficulty moving. For this reason, exercising during the 40th week of pregnancy may not be very attractive to expectant mothers. However, if you do not have severe pains and strains and your doctor has the knowledge and approval, you can alleviate many pregnancy symptoms, pains, and contractions by doing light exercises.
You can evaluate the following options as 40 weeks of pregnancy exercises and physical activities that can be done:
- If possible, pregnant pilates and pregnant yoga without forcing the body
- Short walks
- Breathing exercises
- Relaxation and stretching movements
- Implementation of movements that strengthen the pelvis muscle (to achieve a normal birth easily)
- While doing these exercises in the 40th week, you should be careful not to push yourself too hard and to keep your breathing and pulse under control.
40th Week Pregnancy Checklist
We can list the things you need to do for the 40th week of pregnancy as follows:
Prepare and put cooked meals in the freezer to avoid the hassle after delivery. Especially a few days after leaving the hospital and coming home will provide you with great convenience.
- Be sure to store energy. Get plenty of rest to relieve your fatigue. You will need a lot in birth and postpartum baby care.
- Do something to pamper yourself while you wait for the birth. Engage in activities that make it difficult to find time for newborn care, such as going to the movies, meeting with friends, going to the hairdresser, getting groomed, going out to dinner with your spouse.
- Do not disrupt your NST controls.
- If you experience any signs of the onset of labor, be sure to inform your doctor.
- Do not be alarmed if your labor has not yet started, even though it is the 40th week of pregnancy. In some pregnancies, the birth can be extended up to 42 weeks. Your doctor will follow the ideal time for you and your baby and intervene if necessary to start the birth.
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- Week-by-Week Pregnancy: 5th Week
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