Your Pregnancy: Week 40
« Week 39 | Week 40
Not only have you reached the end of your term, but most likely the end of your rope as well. That feeling of fear and dread when you thought of labor in the first trimester may very well have turned to anticipation and maybe even excitement as you’re now ready to stop waddling, finally sleep on your stomach, and – of course – meet the person that belongs to the foot currently lodged in your ribs. This is an important time to take it easy, rest as much as possible, and take advantage of your abundance of free time. Tie up any odds and ends around the house and definitely complete any bigger tasks like packing your hospital bags, stocking your freezer with premade meals and washing and folding the newborn clothes. Come to think of it, it’s better to delegate to your partner – the couch is calling your name.
Come out, come out, wherever you are! Even if your baby decides to opt for a late check-out, keep an eye on his/her movement and activity and report to your doctor if you suspect anything is wrong. But don’t worry – about half of pregnancies last past 40 weeks, although your doctor or midwife most likely won’t let you go past 42 weeks.
Be on the lookout for the mucus plug, bloody show and/or your water breaking.
There are some debatable techniques to assist your baby in showing up on time like having sex, taking primrose oil and downing castor oil. The Internet is littered with natural induction methods (which you may be tempted to try if you go past week 40), but always check with you doctor before you try any kind of induction attempt.
While you wait: rest, rest, rest.
As ready as you are to finally meet and hold your baby and be free of the aches and pains of pregnancy, enjoy these last few weeks of feeling your baby move inside you.
Advice from Dr. Shari E. Brasner
In the final lap of your pregnancy, when you know the big event is going to happen soon, and when most likely you feel extremely ready for it – as in, you can’t stand to be pregnant a minute longer, can’t stand the constant urinating, the sometimes painful kicking, the trouble breathing – you also may feel, in other ways, extremely unprepared. In spite of the childbirth classes you’ve been taking, in spite of all the cramming you’ve done and the conversations you’ve had with friends who’ve already gone through it, you feel as though there’s something you still don’t know, some magical advice you can be given to make it all work out okay. The truth, of course, is that you already know a great deal, and that your body and your doctor and a good labor nurse will help you learn the rest.”
Babble recommends Dr. Brasner’s pregnancy book, Advice from a Pregnant Obstetrician.
Mom-To-Mom Advice: I Know Breastfeeding Is Recommended, But What If…
Breastfeeding gets a hearty endorsement from the medical community and rates are rising, but it can still seem so mysterious. Most of us were bottle-fed, and if you haven’t had personal experience with nursing, it can feel alien and intimidating. And all the promotion can just feel like pressure. Here are some of the most common concerns, which may help to demystify the process a little.
What if I can’t do it? Almost all women are able to make enough milk to feed their babies. Still, breastfeeding is a skill that has to be learned, and getting off to a good start is important for building your milk supply. If you think you want to breastfeed, it is a good idea to do a little research beforehand. Good early support is crucial, whether it comes from friends or professionals. (Read our Babble Breastfeeding Guide for more comprehensive information.)
What if it hurts? There’s a good chance that it will be uncomfortable at first, as you and your baby are learning the ropes and your milk is coming in. But most women find that breastfeeding does not hurt at all once they’ve gotten the hang of it.
What if it makes my boobs saggy? Sagging is a byproduct of growth in pregnancy. Breastfeeding, though commonly blamed, isn’t actually the culprit.
What if I don’t want to “whip them out” in public all the time? You don’t have to. There are lots of ways of covering up, including blankets, nursing clothing, and specialized products. And even without these accessories, women actually tend not to “whip” them out, but rather bring the baby in. Many women develop confidence and skill in being discreet. We don’t encourage you to never leave the house, but the level to which you breastfeed in public is entirely up to you. It may help you to know that you are allowed to nurse in public; in many states there are actual laws protecting a woman’s right to do so.
What if I don’t want to? Then don’t. The heavy promotion of breastfeeding is an effort to reverse a very large formula-feeding trend. But some pro-breastfeeding campaigns go too far to make a simple point and end up making us all very anxious that we’ll be bad mothers if we don’t feed our babies this “liquid gold” exclusively and extendedly. So put the decision in perspective.
How you feed your baby is a personal choice, and there are lots of things to take into consideration. Human milk is literally made for human babies – there’s solid evidence showing how both mother and baby’s health benefit from breastfeeding. But formula is a darn good substitute – over the years it’s gotten better and better.
Shut out the noise and do what works best for you.
Babble recommends From the Hips, by Rebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris.
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