Your Baby's Development: Week 40

Week 40
You are 40 weeks pregnant and nearing the very end of your pregnancy. If your baby is born this week, he could weigh, on average, 7 pounds, 8 ounces (or 3,500 grams) and measure about 20 inches (or 51cm).

What If I'm Overdue?
Do not be concerned if you go past your due date; you are really only overdue if you have gone over 42 weeks. And, just five per cent of women actually give birth right on their estimated due date. In fact, many first-time moms find themselves waiting for their baby to arrive for two weeks after their due date! If you go past your due date, your doctor may discuss inducing labor with you.

While you play the waiting game, try to get some rest. As soon as your bundle of joy arrives, you will be very absorbed and tired; as you know, newborns like attention and require a lot of care.

How Will My Baby Look?
You should not expect your baby to look just like a Gerber baby right away (although he will be very cute).
Newborns can often have heads that are temporarily misshapen. This is from baby's journey down through the narrow birth canal. Your baby may also be covered with vernix and blood. As well, baby could have skin discolorations, some dry patches or rashes. Also, since your hormones are in your baby's system, the genitals may look enlarged. Your baby boy or girl may even have some discharge of milk from his or her tiny nipples after the birth. All of these oddities are normal in newborns and will disappear after a few days.

Labor and Delivery
This week, you may finally meet your baby! However, before an introduction can be made, you will have to experience labor and delivery (unless you are having a scheduled c-section). If you took prenatal classes, you learned all about the three stages of birth. If you did not, here's a brief synopsis; the first stage of labor thins and stretches your cervix and is done by contracting the uterus regularly; during the second stage, you push your baby down into the vaginal canal and out; and in the third stage, you deliver the placenta.

If you have given birth, congratulations! We wish you and your family many happy moments with your beautiful newborn. For many helpful parenting tips, please visit our sister site It's A Mom's World.

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