Fetal development in pregnancy week 40:
You’ve made it!! Any day now your little one will arrive. Don’t be surprised at how your baby looks after birth. Their little heads can be misshapen and their skin may be discolored and have patchy looking rashes. An average baby weighs about 7 ½ pounds and is about 21 ½ inches long at birth. Every baby is different, though, and soon you’ll get to meet your little one.
Babies have more than seventy different reflexes when they are born. These automatic, unlearned behaviors are necessary for survival. While in the womb you provide your baby with antibodies and make their immune system stronger. These immunities that you pass on to your baby will stay with them for the first six months of their lives. Because of your hormones passing on to the baby, your baby may have enlarged genitals when they are born. Hormones can also cause both little boys and little girls to secrete milk from their nipples.
Light exercise, such as walking, can help bring on labor now. Try to relax and enjoy the last few days before your little one arrives. Getting plenty of rest now will help you make it through the labor and delivery you have ahead.
Congratulations! You have made it to pregnancy week 40. While many women will delivery sometime this week others may find they pass their due date and go on to deliver at 41 weeks pregnant or beyond. Remember that due date prediction is not an exact science though due dates do offer your doctor strong guidance about your babies potential delivery date. It is often hard for doctors and parents alike to predict the exact date their baby will be delivered, but many have fun trying.
Some baby’s prefer to stay in a little longer, while others feel ready to come out a bit early. It’s really hard to say. While most mothers won’t make it to 42 weeks pregnant, some do and some may even require induction.
Some women start thinking about natural induction if they haven’t had their baby by 40 weeks of pregnancy. If this is you there are some important considerations you should note before trying any methods. There are some common natural labor inducers. Some are very safe and quite fun while others have drawbacks. You should be aware of the potentials risks and benefits of any natural labor induction method before trying one. Here is a brief summary of some of the more common labor inducers:
- Walking – Walking is not just a labor inducer. It will help lift your mood and spirits and provides a great form of exercise. Walking can however stimulate labor or encourage labor to progress once it has started by helping contractions become more regular. You’ve probably seen many photos or movies with women in the labor and delivery ward walking the halls. That’s because walking helps your baby move farther into your pelvis in preparation for delivery.
- Sex – Your partner will probably appreciate this one. Semen actually contains natural prostaglandin’s which can help ripen your cervix in preparation for delivery. Orgasms also release oxytocin in the body which can help trigger contractions. It’s worth a try and if nothing else will help relieve the stress and anxiety of waiting for baby.
- Spicy cuisine – Some people swear by spicy foods for inducing labor. There is no exact recipe you can follow that will work every time, but certain spices including cumin are thought to trigger labor in some women. This is also a safe albeit often heartburn inducing way to try and induce labor.
- Nipple stimulation – You should never try nipple stimulation unless you are under the care of your healthcare provider. Nipple stimulation is a very strong method of inducing contraction in the body. Nipple stimulation can lead to prolonged contractions which may stress your baby, hence you should get your doctors approval before trying and may even have to be monitored while trying this. If you are using nipple stimulation be very certain you stop stimulating when you reach a contraction to avoid hyperstimulating your uterus.
- Castor oil – This is a bad tasting but traditional method of inducing labor that requires you swallow some castor oil. Castor oil generally smells and tastes very bad, but can help loosen the bowels and cause contractions in the colon which can stimulate the uterus to contract in turn.
Remember that your baby will come when your baby is ready to. Be sure you check in with your doctor before trying any natural induction technique to ensure that you are doing things safely. Any time now you will be welcoming your tiny bundle of joy into the world!
Looking for a way to pamper mom before the birth? Consider a pedicure or a pregnancy massage to help her relax. A nice date is also encouraged. Though be careful about picking things she has to sit through for long periods like concerts and the movies.
Any pregnant woman will tell you that overalls and rompers are among the most comfortable items a woman can have in her maternity collection. One of the best things about overalls and rompers is that they can be worn before, during and after pregnancy. In fact, overalls and rompers are particularly useful in the postpartum months when you don’t quite have your pre-pregnancy shape back just yet. They provide room to expand and breathe throughout your pregnancy.
Though casual by nature, you can find overalls rompers at Destination Maternity that are designed a little more elegantly, so you can even wear them for an evening out if the need arises. If you are pregnant or soon will be, don’t neglect to check out the amazing collections of overalls and rompers available for expectant mothers today!
Pregnancy Health Tips
Are you thinking about ways to induce your labor naturally at week 40 pregnant? If you are, you should take great care to make sure that you don’t try to do anything that might be harmful to your baby.
There are a number of natural ‘labor inducers’ that will stimulate labor contractions and start labor. Some women will swear by these methods, whereas others simply had fun trying. Here is a list of the more common natural labor inducers women have been trying since the dawn of time:
- Sex – This is by far the most popular. You may be thinking of anything but intimacy at this point in your pregnancy, particularly given your size and weariness. However, semen contains prostaglandins, which can help stimulate contractions and start labor. Because of this, many women are willing to give it a try. You may find your partner a more than willing advocate, particularly since sex will be off limits for six weeks postpartum. Why not give it a try? There certainly is no harm. Some women prop their feet up after to give their cervix a chance to bathe in the prostaglandins. If nothing else, sex may help ripen the cervix. Orgasms can also trigger contractions in a woman.
- Walking – Walking is great exercise. It can help stimulate labor particularly if you are having contractions that aren’t yet regular. Walking can help your baby move further down into your pelvis for delivery. Most women find walking also helps relieve some of the discomfort associated with contractions.
- Spicy Foods – Some people believe that spicy foods or foods that contain cumin and garlic help trigger labor. While there is no specific ‘science’ behind this idea, there is nothing wrong with trying.
- Nipple Stimulation -Nipple stimulation can be a very powerful way of inducing labor. Nipple stimulation causes the body to release oxytocin, which like pitocin (a synthetic substance used to induce labor contractions) can cause uterine contractions. Nipple stimulation can lead to very long and very strong uterine contractions. This can be dangerous for your baby because it can cause your baby’s heart rate to slow. You should only perform nipple stimulation if you have your doctors approval and even then you should monitor your contractions slowly to be sure you don’t over stimulate. Generally you should ease off nipple stimulation during each contraction to help minimize hyper stimulation.
- Castor Oil – You should not try inducing labor with castor oil unless you talk with your healthcare provider first. Many midwives suggest that women who are past their due dates consider using castor oil. It may trigger spasms in the colon and intestines, which surround the uterus. These can result in labor contractions. Castor oil is foul smelling and generally tastes very bad. It will cause horrible diarrhea in many women. If you are considering this, be sure to talk with your doctor first to see what dose they might recommend, or what other methods they might suggest.
- Membrane stripping – In some cases, your doctor may strip your membranes. This can sometimes help start labor. During a vaginal examination your doctor will place a finger through the cervix and basically ‘sweep’ the membranes. This helps release the amniotic membranes from the lower uterine cavity. Sweeping of the membranes may release prostaglandins, which can help push the body into labor.
Most natural labor induction methods will only work if your cervix is ripe and you are ready to go into labor anyway. You should never try to induce labor before you are 40 weeks pregnant to ensure that your baby is well developed. There is also some evidence that supplementation with evening primrose oil may help soften the cervix and prepare your body for delivery. You should be able to find evening primrose oil supplements at your pharmacy. Ask your healthcare provider about dosing.
Remember, after 40 long weeks you are almost on your way to delivery! Take some time to enjoy your last few days as a pregnant woman. If you can take some time to sleep. You certainly won’t be getting much sleep after your newborn baby arrives!
Many women find journaling a delightful and fun experience at this point in their pregnancy. Consider taking some time to sit down with your thoughts and feelings about labor, delivery and the pending meeting you will have with your newborn baby. One day you will have the opportunity to look back on this day with fondness and joy. You can share your thoughts with your loved one as they grow and mature. You can even take some time out to journal to pass the time away when you are in early labor. Simply pull out a pen and paper and start writing! It doesn’t matter if your thoughts are random or coordinated. Just write down what comes to mind. You may find yourself laughing and weeping years later when your little ones have flown the coup. Congratulations on your pending motherhood!
The rate of undiagnosed multiples is very slim. Finding out earlier you have multiples helps ensure a healthier delivery for both mom and babies.