Pregnancy week 41 – What’s the holdup?

May 15, 2013 10:18 AM by

Pregnancy week 41 – What’s the holdup?

YOUR CHANGING LIFE

Take it easy – you'll make it!
Welcome to week 41 of your pregnancy. You might not have thought that you'd make it this far, considering that most due dates are calculated based on a 40-week pregnancy period – but don't worry. Millions of women go past their due dates, and it can be for a variety of reasons. Your date of conception could have been a little off or your baby's just not ready to come out yet! Either way, there's nothing to stress over this week, except maybe stress itself!

No one can blame you for feeling a little anxious this week. After all, you probably never thought you'd have to be pregnant for THIS long! It can get even more stressful when family and friends are constantly checking in on your status, calling and texting to find out where the baby is. However, chances are good that you won't have to wait long until the arrival of your little one – you'll likely go into labor naturally this week or your doctor will begin discussing your options for being induced, which could happen at the end of this week or sometime in week 42.

If your cervix hasn't started to soften or dilate by itself, your doctor may use hormones or resort to "mechanical" methods of getting your cervix ready for induction. These methods sometimes result in the onset of labor by themselves. The inducement procedure afterward may involve drugs to get your contractions going or the stripping or rupturing of your membranes. If those and other procedures don't do the trick, you'll likely end up needing a Cesarean section.

In the meantime, continue looking out for signs of issues, like your baby's movements slowing down, fluid leaking from your vagina or any changes you feel in your body.

YOUR BABY THIS WEEK

From jackfruit to even bigger jackfruit
Last week, your little one was about the size of a jackfruit. Now, he or she is slightly larger, but still comparable to the fruit, which can sometimes grow very big. At this point, he or she probably weighs around 7 1/2 to 8 pounds and stretches 21 inches long. That's obviously a significant size, which is why you'll have to go into labor this week or next week to prevent problems!

The plus side is that babies who are born late are often bigger, have more hair and are more alert than babies who are born before or on their due dates, so your little guy or gal will have a leg up from the get-go. While there's not much more developing to do in your womb, your baby is growing more each day and preparing for life in the outside world. For example, his or her endocrine system is prepping to produce stress hormones, which will be necessary for survival once he or she is born.

HOW TO

Keep yourself busy
Since you've probably already taken care of everything necessary when it comes to getting ready for baby, you might have a lot of extra time on your hands this week. Instead of sitting on the couch letting your worries get the best of you, why not try to take care of a few things to make the next few weeks easier and better for yourself?

You could start by making it a point to get out of the house every day. You don't have to have any elaborate plans or specific appointments, though – just get outside and see where you end up! You might feel like taking a walk for some light exercise (which could get the labor process rolling as an added bonus), going shopping for groceries that'll get you through the next few weeks, getting a haircut or indulging in a pedicure – after all, there are probably going to be plenty of photos taken of you and your baby in the next few weeks!

Now is also a good time to squeeze in a few activities that you might not get to enjoy for a while once your bundle of joy arrives. For example, you should try to check out a few films in theaters with your partner, family or friends, as well as grab a few awesome meals out. Spending more time with your friends is a good idea, since it may take some time before you're ready and able to hang out with them again.

If you're not feeling totally up for all of this, another option is to get plenty of rest at home. You'll be grateful you did once your labor starts and you're about to experience the labor process! Get situated in bed or on the couch and indulge yourself by renting a few of your favorite movies or getting caught up on reading some of the latest bestsellers. Your partner can get in on the action, too!

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