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40 Weeks Pregnant, what we like to call the final lap of pregnancy, is when the baby can be expected to pop out any minute. The baby has now fully grown and would measure 20.4 inches long and weigh an easy 7.6 pounds. To put things in better perspective, this should be right about the size of a balloon.
In your 40th week of pregnancy, it is also common for mothers to be looking out for natural induction methods.
What is happening with the baby in the 40th week of pregnancy?
A baby ideally fully develops by the 40th week. They are now all set to come out and while most do by this time, it is normal for some to take a little bit longer in there. Here’s what is happening to your baby in the 40th week of pregnancy-
1. Slower development and growth
A baby’s development and growth curve, by the time it’s the 40th week of pregnancy, starts to flatten as they literally have expanded as much as they could in the little womb of yours.
2. Nail Growth
Having said that the baby’s growth curve flattens out, there is this one part of the curve that knows no chill! Your baby’s finger and toenails will still be lengthening, even in the final week of the term!
3. Hardened bones
By the 40th week, your baby’s bones completely harden, except those of the skull. The skull hardens only after birth because you would need the crown of the baby to remain soft for the delivery process.
What happens to a mother’s body in the 40th week of pregnancy?
The last few days and weeks of pregnancy can be expected to be a little more challenging and uncomfortable as your belly is now full-blown and your body is constantly in preparation to spurt out the baby.
1. Braxton Hicks Contractions
The infamous Braxton Hicks is here to say hi! Braxton Hicks contractions aka false contractions are your body’s way of preparing you for the upcoming labor. Your body might feel tightened and these false contractions will soon become the real deal. If you feel that the contractions are becoming longer and more obvious, it might not be Braxton and you should hit up your doctor immediately!
2. Leaky breasts
Around the 40th week, women might experience the flow of a thick, yellowish liquid from their boobs. Commonly misunderstood as milk, this liquid is actually called colostrum and it is going to be your baby’s power-packed dose of nutrition for the initial few days after birth.
3. Heightened discomfort
At around the 40th week, it is common for mothers to experience an all-prevailing pain in the body. Your back, pelvic area, head, hips, everything will feel like it’s in pain. Just hold yourself in there a little bit more; try to stretch your body and get yourself as comfortable as possible in the bed.
What are some natural ways of inducing labor at the 40th week of pregnancy?
While you might have become rather used to carrying your baby in the womb, you would obviously want to see them in their human form by the 40th week. If you do not feel any natural signs of labor yet, here are some natural methods of inducing labor in the 40th week of pregnancy-
Though this might not sound very appealing given all the bodily aches, a brisk walk around your neighborhood can help induce contractions!
2. Nipple stimulation
Nipple stimulation is one of the most effective ways of inducing labor and this is also why it is recommended to not try this on your own at home. The contractions might come out too strong for you to be able to handle on your own at home and hence, nipple stimulation is advised only in the hospital or under the guidance of your doctor/midwife.
Though there is no scientific study yet to back sex as a means of contraction, it still might get things moving in there. Besides, sex is safe up until your last week of pregnancy and as long as your doctor has not clearly told to keep yourself from it, there’s no reason you should not give it a shot!
Busting myths: Does castor oil help induce labor?
Drinking castor oil is one of the most commonly recommended methods of inducing labor. However, it is, in fact, more likely to give you a stomach ache and diarrhea than to get labor going.
What would your belly look like in the 40th week of pregnancy?
Compared to day 1 of your pregnancy, you, by the 40th week, would have gained an easy 25 to 35 pounds. Your belly will look full-blown or ‘long term’ and like it will burst off any moment. The baby would also be moving inside, just a lot less strong and definitive than the previous weeks because they don’t really have a lot of space left in there for movement anymore.
In the 40th week, it is advised to track a kick count and reach out to your doctor if you might have a reason to believe that something is wrong or unusual in the belly.
The last few days of pregnancy, between the 39th-42nd week (in case you get to that stage), undeniably might feel the longest. All the anxiety and excitement would now be at its very best and you, as the mother, might not have it in you to wait anymore. However, this is your baby in question and it only makes sense to wait for it to come out when it has to on its own – even if it is a little bit longer in your case.
Eat, sleep, and relax as much as you can because heaven knows it, once the baby pops out, there’s only so much relax-time you would be getting going ahead. Spend time doing things you like, read or probably pain to keep yourself distracted and to spend some last days of ‘me time!’