You have arrived at your final stop. Finally, the big day has arrived: you are 40 weeks pregnant. You should have given birth by this week, but if your labour is delayed, your doctor will assist and guide you. Do not be worried, okay? This is what you should expect to happen to you and your baby this week. How Big Is My Baby? Image from Adobe Stock Mummy, your baby is now in the size of a big pumpkin; adorable, right? He is expected to weigh 6 to 9 pounds and measure 18 to 20 inches long when he is born soon. These are the average newborn baby measurements; you will soon know his weight and length once he is born. Baby's Development During 40 Weeks Pregnant During this week, he is scheduled to make his debut appearance on any day or even a day or later than his actual due date. However, if he takes too long to 'come out,' such as a week after the actual date, you should tell your doctor. She will advise you on what to do next. Do not forget to keep an eye on his movements and pulse as well! \t Head down position He should be in a head-down position by now, as he is completely prepared to make his grand entrance. However, if he remains in a breech position, the doctor can attempt to turn him into a head-down position by applying strong pressure to your belly. If he 'refuses' to change, you will need a caesarean section. \t His full body Even though he is completely developed and ready to meet his Mummy and Daddy, certain parts of his body, such as his brain, lungs, and liver, are still developing and will continue to grow after he is born. These parts will grow gradually until he is three years old. For your information, he is also gaining weight, which will help him adapt to his new surroundings. Image from Adobe Stock What Does My Body Look Like? First and foremost, thousands of thanks to your body for doing an excellent job throughout the journey! For the time being, you will most likely go through three phases of labour. The first phase is divided into two parts: early and active labour. The second phase is when your cervix is dilated to 10cm, and the final phase is when the baby is born. #1) The first phase During this phase, the cervix begins to open due to stretching and thinning. The contractions will begin to 'attack' from your back and move forward to the front of your belly at this point. This contraction's purpose is to help move your baby down to your pelvic region and birth canal, making it easier for your labour soon. Normally, the early labour period lasts 14 to 20 hours before moving on to the active labour phase, which lasts 4 to 8 hours. However, each step will take a different amount of time for each Mummy. When you encounter signs of labour, the doctor will usually admit you to the ward as soon as possible. You should try to remain as relaxed as possible by going for a walk, taking a warm bath, or listening to heartwarming music. You may also use this opportunity to practise breathing exercises. #2) The second phase When the health care professional confirms that your cervix is completely dilated, which is 10cm, you are in the second stage of labour. You will be brought to the labour room, where the medical staff will help you throughout the delivery process. This process usually lasts 30 minutes to 3 hours. #3) Final phase The third and final phase is when you have actually given birth to your little one as well as the placenta. You will likely experience some contractions when delivering the placenta, but do not worry because this procedure would not take long and will cause less pain than delivering the baby. Image from Adobe Stock As we all know, in some circumstances, Mummies will be compelled to have a caesarean. If you are scheduled for this method of delivery, your doctor will clearly explain the process to you. You will be sedated, and the obstetrician and gynaecologist will perform an incision and manually remove your baby and placenta. Normally, your partner will accompany you during the procedure. #4) Monitor your weight gain Keep monitoring your weight gain; a pregnant woman's average weight gain ranges from 12 to 15 kg during her pregnancy. Your weight gain is caused by a variety of factors, including your own stored fat, your baby's weight, and the increased amount of blood and fluid. Rest assured, Mummies. You will be able to get back to your slim figure or your previous weight after you give birth. Symptoms During 40 Weeks Pregnant \t Snoring Because of the changes in your hormone production, your partner might be having difficulty sleeping at night as a result of your snoring. You will most likely snore more often than normal, especially as the day approaches. The hormonal changes reduce the humidity in your nasal passages, causing them to dry out. A humidifier or nasal strips will be a great 'saviour.' \t The mucus plug starts to lose Some pregnant women are unaware that they are losing their mucus plug, which is a layer of fluid that protects their cervix and uterus from bacteria. Some people lose their plugs a few days or weeks before their labour, while others lose them immediately after entering the labour room. For those who are curious what a mucus plug looks like, it is a pinkish, bloody, or clear vaginal discharge. \t Contractions There are no more Braxton Hicks contractions when you are 40 weeks pregnant; the ones that 'strike' you irregularly and stop when you change your position. You will experience the real contractions this week, which will strike you on a daily and back-to-back basis. Remember that real contractions will not stop if you change your position. So if this happens to you, call the doctor right away! \t Water breaking Water breaking is one of the most visible indications that you are in labour. This would be happening to you in a few hours before your labour or during the labour. Not all mummies will experience the same water breaking; some will have fluid gushing down between their knees, and some will only have trickles of fluid. Your Bucket-To-Do List \tIf you want to try giving birth in a bathtub or shower, consult with your hospital or birth centre to see if they have those options. That because this type of labour is thought to alleviate pain and discomfort. \tI am sure you would not be able to do any of the housework on your own for the first few days or weeks after your labour day. Use the time to make a list of tasks, such as grocery shopping or caring for your older children. I am certain that your family, friends, or even neighbours will be happy to assist you. \tOne of the helpful things to do while waiting for your turn will be to watch educational videos about how to care for and adapt to your newborn for the first few weeks. Image from Adobe Stock Additional Tips For 40 Weeks Pregnant \t Do not be too worried about the due date A due date is simply an anticipated or targetted day for your labour. You should not be concerned if your little prince 'refuses' to make his first appearance on the scheduled date\u2014he might be too nervous or want to stay there for a little longer. If he takes longer than expected, your doctor will recommend inducing labour. You should be assured that your baby will be born no matter what. \t Gain knowledge about induced labour If your baby has not shown any signs of wanting to come out after 42 weeks of pregnancy, you would be recommended to have induced labour. He must make his first appearance after 42 weeks because the placenta and amniotic sac begin to function less effectively. These are harmful to your baby. Even so, you should not be concerned because your doctor will monitor you on a regular basis to provide the best service for you and your baby. \t Some 'Me-Time' While you wait for your baby, keep yourself calm, relaxed, and optimistic by engaging in some "me time". You are free to do whatever you want as long as it does not hurt you or your baby. Manicure and pedicure, for example, or binge-watching Netflix. You will find it difficult to schedule this session after your baby is born because your time and attention will be entirely focused on him.