Bayo Ajibola

Pregnancy at 40 weeks

How your baby’s growing

Although it’s a tight squeeze in there, your baby is still busily growing. Her hair and fingernails will be getting longer too.

It’s worth popping a pair of nail cutter in your hospital bag. Your baby may be born with quite long nails, but these should not be trimmed too soon. Using a  nail cutter on your newborn’s tiny hands will protect her from scratching her skin.

It’s hard to predict how big your baby will be at birth. However, we do know that the average newborn weighs about 3.3kg (7.3lb).

Your baby’s skull bones are not yet fused, which allows them to overlap a bit as she moves through the birth canal during labour. This is called moulding, and is the reason your baby’s head may look a little cone-shaped if you give birth vaginally. Rest assured that it’s normal and temporary. Your baby will have soft spots on her head for at least her first year, though.


Pregnancy symptoms at 40 weeks

Sleep at this stage may not come easy to you. If you’re finding it difficult to get rest at night, try sleeping propped up with pillows or even in a comfy armchair.

You could catch up by taking a nap during the day. Just rest and play some soothing music. Dozing will do you good and will build up your energy stores for labour. Try not to worry if you never seem to get a good night’s sleep these days. You may feel a little gritty-eyed during the day, but your baby won’t be affected by your lack of sleep.


How your life’s changing

After months of anticipation, your due date goes by, and… you’re still pregnant. It’s a frustrating, but common, situation. If you’re running out of patience, it may help to remind yourself that your due date is only an estimation. At 40 weeks, your doctor or midwife won’t consider you overdue for a week yet.

A few mums-to-be have what is called a prolonged pregnancy, which lasts longer than 42 weeks. Your midwife will keep an eye on you during these final days. You should have an antenatal appointment each week. If your pregnancy has been straightforward, your midwife should offer you an induction after 41 weeks.


What you need to know

Are your friends and family ringing or messaging you every day to find out how things are going? If it’s frustrating you, explain that you’ll call when your baby is definitely on her way and not before!

Try to have all those last-minute things sorted for when you do go into labour. A fully charged phone and camera, your car topped up with petrol.

If time’s dragging and you have the energy, fit in a few last-minute treats with your partner. It won’t be so easy after your baby’s born.


Here are more suggestions for getting through the final days:


From day one your baby’s navel and umbilical cord will need looking after. Find out how to keep her umbilical stump clean.

You’ll need to take care of yourself as well as your new baby once you’re a mum. Read up on what to expect after the birth.

If you think your labour has started, but you’re not sure, phone your midwife and ask for advice. Don’t hesitate to give her a call if you’re worried. Remind yourself of the signs of labour.

Not long now – soon you’ll be able to kiss, cuddle, change and bath your baby.

Parent tip: patience pays!


Bayo Ajibola

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