Development Week 40

You are now nearing the end of your pregnancy and the baby should be dropping out at any moment. Remember that you are only overdue once you have pasted the 42-week mark.

Never on Time
You may be 40 weeks pregnant, and therefore full term, but only 5% of women deliver on their estimated due dates. In fact, many first-time mothers find themselves waiting up to 2 weeks after their due date for their baby to arrive. Try and get some rest in now while you can, for very soon you are going to have a bundle of joy in the house, which is going to require lots of attention and care.

Not What You Expected
A baby born at 40 weeks weighs, on average, 7 pounds, 8 ounces (3500 grams) and measures 20 inches (51 centimeters). Don't expect your baby to look like the Gerber baby right off the bat - newborns often have heads temporarily misshapen from the birth canal and may be covered with vernix and blood. Your baby's skin may have skin discolorations, dry patches, and rashes - these many variations are completely normal.

Because of the presence of your hormones in your baby's system, your baby's genitals (scrotum in boys and labia in girls) may appear enlarged. Your baby, whether a boy or a girl, may even secrete milk from the tiny nipples. This should disappear in a few days and is completely normal.

First Meetings
This week you'll experience the moment you've been anticipating - an introduction to your baby! Before you can meet your baby, though, you have to go through labor and delivery. You may have learned about the three stages of birth in your prenatal classes. The first stage of labor works to thin and stretch your cervix by contracting your uterus at regular intervals. The second stage of labor is when you push your baby into the vaginal canal and out of your body. The third and final stage of labor is when you deliver the placenta.

Congratulations on the completion of your pregnancy and we hope that you and your family have many happy moments with your new bundle of joy!

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Visit our Infant Care forum for answers to all your questions about caring for your newborn.

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