40 Weeks Pregnant: Your Pregnancy Week by Week

Woohoo ladies, for those of you remaining, you are forty weeks now. Most women give birth by their due date but it is perfectly normal to go as long as two weeks past your estimated due date. Actually, as many as ten percent of pregnancies go past 42 weeks. So if you are still hanging around reading our newsletter, don’t despair, you are not alone. We are dedicating this newsletter to all of you gals that are waiting around for your content and cosey, or slightly stubborn, little guys or girls to make their arrivals. We are going to discuss some of the things you can do to help pass the time when you are overdue and discuss some of the tests you may be given to check on your baby’s well-being.

What is going on with mom & baby

Baby: Your baby is due this week. The average full term baby weighs around 7 and a half pounds and is about 20 inches long. Your baby is ready to be born any day now.

Mom: Your baby should be born any day now. You may be having more contractions, more vaginal discharge, and more discomfort. If you have contractions at night try to rest even if you can’t sleep. Labor sometimes starts overnight and being sleep deprived can make labor more exhausting. Try to rest as much as you can even if you are having difficulty sleeping.

This week’s Pregnancy Checklist

  Make sure your cell phone is charged.
  Make sure you have arrangements for child care and pet care.
  Throw some scrunchies or ponytail holders in your hospital bag.
  Make sure your camera battery is charged.
  Go over your birth plans with your partner.
  Take a new belly picture for your scrapbook or journal.

Tests to Monitor Baby’s Well-being

If you go past your due date your doctor may want to monitor your baby’s well-being. Here is some information on some of the tests your doctor may perform if your pregnancy goes overdue.

Kick count - Your doctor may have your record how many movements your baby is making. There are several methods for doing kick counts but one of the common methods is the the Cardiff Count to Ten method. With this method you monitor your baby’s movements and record them on paper. You mark your first movement and the time and then continue marking movements until you get to ten. Record the time when you reach ten kicks. As a general guide, it should take no more than two hours to feel ten movements.

Non-stress Test - During a non-stress test you will have two belts placed around your abdomen, one monitors your baby’s heart rate, the other monitor’s contractions. While the test is running a paper will print out showing your baby’s heart rate and your contractions. You will be given a button and instructed to press the button each time you feel your baby kick. Pressing the button will create a mark on the paper print out that your doctor can review. By monitoring your baby’s heart rate, and his reaction to your contractions and his own movements, your doctor can gain insight into your baby’s well-being.

Biophysical Profile - This test is similar to the non-stress test. It combines the electronic monitoring of the non-stress test with an ultrasound. Your doctor will monitor your baby’s heart rate, movements, muscle tone, breathing, and also the amount of amniotic fluid around your baby.

Contraction Stress Test -  A contraction stress test may be given to see how your baby responds to contractions. The test is similar to the non-stress test, as you will have two belts placed over your abdomen for monitoring, but you will also be given pitocin (a synthetic hormone that brings on contractions) intravenously. Because there is a chance that your baby will not tolerate contractions well you will be instructed not to eat before the procedure in the event that your baby needs to be delivered by emergency csection.

Tips for Coping with an Overdue Pregnancy

If you are still reading our newsletter, you may be getting discouraged, emotional, or depressed waiting for your baby to arrive. Your due date is just a guide right? But for some reason that magical date is what you set up as your mental count down day in your head, when that day comes and goes, it can make you feel disappointed, moody or irritable. Knowing that plenty of moms, especially first time moms, go over their due date, probably isn’t making you feel any better.

Here are some tips for surviving an overdue pregnancy.

Distractions - Try to find something each day to keep you busy. Rent movies, invite some friends over, or spend some time on one of your favorite hobbies. Try to keep your mind off of things, even if it only keeps you occupied for little segments of time. Staying busy will help you to pass the time and keep you from constantly thinking about your pregnancy.

Try natural methods of inducing labor - Sex, walking, or drinking cinnamon tea may help to bring on labor. There are also some other natural methods that you can use to bring on labor but it is best to talk to your doctor before you try anything like herbs or castor oil, even if it is a natural method.

Take naps and rest - You are probably tired and uncomfortable. Try to rest and take naps if you can. Resting will make you feel better and may help you to fight off any negative feelings you are having.

Talk to your doctor - If you are feeling depressed, uncomfortable, or just ready to have your baby, talk to your doctor. Some doctors are more open to labor induction than others but many doctors will induce your labor if your cervix is favorable. If your doctor or midwife isn’t agreeable to induction she may be willing to strip your membranes or advise other methods to help you induce labor.

Do some baby shopping - Go do some last minute baby shopping. Buy something special for your baby or your baby’s room. A little mini-shopping spree might be just the trick to lift your spirits and help you pass the time at the end of your pregnancy.

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