40 Weeks Pregnant
It’s your due week! Only 5% of babies are born on their due date! Your baby is only putting on around 200 grams per week now and the length of their body will not change much now until they are born.
Your baby's placenta covers a whopping one third of the inner surface of your uterus. 12 litres of blood is circulating through the umbilical cord and placenta every hour.
Around 24 to 28 hours before labour begins, babies typically become very still. The breathing movements your baby’s lungs have been making stop. During labour a hormonal trigger (catecholamine surge) will enable your baby to absorb the amniotic fluid present in their lungs until there is just a small amount remaining at birth. This is then absorbed during the first 24 hours.
Women can also slow down considerably just before labour begins. Look out for the big sleep which sometimes occurs the night before the action begins.
It is generally agreed that the baby is in control of initiating labour, though how they do this is still unknown. It most likely involves a combination of physical, hormonal and emotional factors. Labour might begin in a number different ways, you can read about the signs of labour.
41 Weeks Pregnant
Hang on in there, meeting your baby is only days away now! This week you may find that your family and friends are as eager as you are to meet your baby, let them distract you whilst you are waiting for your baby.
Your midwife, GP or obstetrician may book an appointment for you to have an induction of labour at some point this week. This is your decision to make, though it may not always feel that way. Any decision you make requires you to weigh up the benefits and risks of a particular course of action. Then having considered all the available options, you make the choices that feels right for you and your baby. ‘B*R*A*I*N’ is a decision making and communication tool which can help you work through the questions you need to ask in order to make a decision. You have the right to make an informed choice about recommendations which affect your own health and that of your baby.
The research tells us there is a slight increase in the risk of stillbirth for the baby after 42 weeks. Induction of labour at 41 weeks saves the lives of 1 in 410 babies. No tests can tell if a baby would be better to be left in the womb or have labour induced and the baby be born. If you decide against an induction of labour, you will be offered post-dates monitoring until you go into labour naturally. If the midwife or obstetrician has any concerns about your baby from the monitoring, they will suggest an induction of labour. However, going ahead with an induction of labour will still be your decision to make. Labour begins spontaneously for 90% of women by the 43rd week.
There are a few national methods of bringing labour on that you could try this week.
42 Weeks Pregnant
Most women go into labour spontaneously by the time they are 42 weeks pregnant. If your pregnancy lasts longer than 42 weeks and you decide not to have an induction of labour,you will be offered post-dates monitoring to check your baby's wellbeing. Post-dates is not the same as post-maturity. However, there is a slight increase in the risk of stillbirth for the average baby if you go over 42 weeks, but these events are rare and the risks are small. Induction of labour saves the life of 1 in 410 babies.
Having an induction of labour after 41 weeks increases the risk of further complications by 50%, but it reduces the risk of a caesarean section.