Your Pregnancy: Week 40
Wow! You've made it! Any day now you'll be holding that baby in your arms, looking into his or her eyes and whispering softly, "I'm so happy to meet you."
Wondering what's up with your body, your baby and your life this week? Read on ...
What You're Thinking:
"I hope the baby doesn't have Aunt Martha's nose."
You've crossed the finish line—where's the baby?! Since very few babies actually arrive on their due dates, you may find yourself wasting away waiting for something (anything!) to happen. Don't get disheartened. The baby has
to come out eventually! Since you have time to burn, you might as well brush up on the basics:
Study up on the signs and symptoms of labor
so that you can recognize when it's imminent. Review your notes on when to head to the hospital or birthing center so you know when to hop into the car and go. Now might also be a good time to review what will happen
during each stage of labor so that you won't be surprised. Of course, the whole situation is one shock after the next, but at least you can say you went in with your eyes wide open.
No one knows how labor starts for sure, but researchers have hypothesized that the baby actually sends a hormonal signal to the placenta to kick-start it. In other words, your baby will come out when she's good and ready, thank you!
Congrats! That bun in your oven is fully baked! That's the good news. The possibly not so stellar news: Actually giving birth on your due date
is hard to do—even for overachievers. In fact, many first-time moms go up to 2 weeks past their due date (sorry!). Hopefully now that baby is cooked to perfection, he'll come bouncing out any day now. Other last-minute progress:
Because some of your hormones are passed into your baby's system, your baby's genitals (scrotum in boys and labia in girls), and even his or her breasts, may appear enlarged at birth. It can be alarming, but rest assured it's perfectly normal.
At birth your baby has a total of 300 bones. Some of the bones will fuse together later, which is why an adult has only 206 bones. Fascinating, no?
Babies vary in size at this point, but the average full-term baby weighs around 7 to 8 pounds and hovers around 19 or 20 inches. That's about the size of a ... BABY! Of course, tell that to the mother who just delivered a 9-pound baby vaginally!
While you've got all this free time on your hands, you might want to do a little light reading—of owner's manuals. No, not the one you're hoping to get with the baby. The ones that come with all that gear you've been buying, like the breast pump
. Make sure you can make sense of the thing. (Hint: That cone part? It goes on your boob.) Pumping can be daunting enough, never mind when you're sleep-deprived and antsy that the baby will wake up any minute. Plus, pumping goes much better when you're relaxed about it.
Do a test run on the nursery monitor with your husband. Check the volume level and make sure it's working right. You'll still probably run into baby's room 15 times to make sure it's really on the first (or seventh) time you use it, but it's fun to play with walkie-talkies from the nursery to the kitchen.
Make sure you can fold and unfold the stroller, and that you can release and secure the car seat by yourself. You probably won't be making too many solo trips in the early days, but if you have to, you'll save yourself the embarrassment of having to ask a random stranger to help you collapse the stroller so you can fit it in the trunk.
"Help! My doctor wants to induce me and I'm freaking out!"
This is my first baby, how long will my labor be?
How to pack a diaper bag!