Baby developing inside you
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Weeks, Months and Trimesters Guides
Week Forty: Your due date arrives
|You are 40 weeks pregnant. (fetal age 38 weeks)|
He or she is getting ready for birth and is settling into the fetal position with its head down against the birth canal, its legs tucked up to its chest, and its knees against its nose. The bones of baby's head are soft and flexible to ease the process of delivery through the birth canal. The rapid flow of blood through the umbilical cord keeps it taut which prevents tangles. You will also feel your baby roll around as it gets too cramped inside your uterus for much movement. Your baby will continue to kick and punch although it will move lower in your abdomen.
Your baby is now about 20 inches (51 centimeters) long and weighs approximately 6 to 9 pounds (2700 to 4000 grams). Baby is ready for life outside its mother's womb. At birth the placenta will detach from the side of the uterus and the umbilical cord will cease working as the child takes the first breaths of air. The child's breathing will trigger changes in the structure of the heart and bypass arteries which will force all blood to now travel through the lungs.
You will feel changes in the fetal activity, more squirming and rolling and less kicking. In addition to the pregnancy discomforts you have been feeling the last couple of months, you may have some discomfort and achiness in your pelvic area, increased backache and heaviness, more difficulty sleeping. More frequent and intense Braxton Hicks contractions; which may now be painful, these will give you a chance to practice your breathing techniques. Due to the lower position of your baby, it will be easier for you to breathe but you will need to urinate more frequently.
After your 36th week, your health care provider may have increased your prenatal appointments to weekly. Ask your provider about any questions you have, especially about labor and delivery. You should also receive instructions from your provider as to when to call if you think you are in labor. If you do not receive these instructions, ask your provider for them.
By the 40th week, you may feel irritable, overly sensitive, restless, and impatient. All of these feelings are normal. Don't worry you won't be pregnant much longer. If at any time you are concerned about your baby's welfare, or feel that something may be wrong, no matter how vague the feeling is, call and talk to your care provider.
Remember to pack your bag so that you will be ready to rush to the hospital when the time comes.
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