Pregnancy week 40 – The final countdown



Crossing the finish line
Welcome to week 40 of your pregnancy, or what we like to refer to as – the finish line. Because from here on out, your pregnancy is technically, well, you know, over.

Yet as you look in the mirror and observe your still humongous bump and emerging stretchmarks, you're bound to laugh a little over this technical benchmark. Even though week 40 is considered by most medical experts to be the end of one's pregnancy, it's incredibly common for this to extend a few more weeks.

What does this mean for you exactly? For starters, you'll have more time to enjoy indulging on fried peanut butter sandwiches and those pickle and ice cream combos you've been not-so-secretly salivating over for the last trimester.

But in truth, it just means that during week 40, you have to be extra-vigilant about the signs that mean you're going into labor. Your water breaking is the definitive indication that your little guy or gal is on the way, and should be watched out for throughout this and subsequent weeks.


From watermelon to jackfruit
Week 40 is a time of great expectations, both for you and your partner. Whereas you once were counting down the weeks and trying to track your little guy or girl's development with rigor, during this period you may be less invested in your baby's progression so much as his or her impending birth. Still, your soon-to-be son or daughter is continuing to develop in ways that might surprise you!

By week 40, the average baby is between 6.2 to 9.2 pounds (or the size of a jackfruit) and stretches out to about 18.9 to 20.19 inches, making him or her a pretty tall kid if you stop and think about it. Your baby's hair and nails are, by this point, thick and lustrous. If you or your partner are dark-haired or have a naturally downy set of locks, you're sure to notice this attractive quality on your baby when he or she arrives.

Did you know that by the time your baby is born, he or she will have up to 300 bones in the body? As an adult, you only have 206, which means that from birth, bones progressively fuse together in some areas. If it seems like a lot for your little baby, just think – all that was happening inside your belly.

The longer your baby stays inside your womb, the more opportunity he or she has to soak up the vital nutrients you possess, which will give him or her a better chance of being healthy as can be when labor happens.

One spot where your baby's bones definitely won't fuse together yet is in his or her head. This is important, as it will make labor and delivery easier on your cervix when the time arrives.

Another interesting thing about your baby, which you'll pick up on during birth, is that the hormones in your body that have passed through him or her can actually impact the genital area. This means that if you have a little boy, his scrotum may be enlarged at birth, while in little girls, the labia may seem bigger than you would have anticipated. This is a perfectly normal phenomenon and should not alarm you in the least, but if it does you can always speak to your healthcare provider.


Keep from going crazy!
When you first find out you're expecting a little guy or girl, it can be joyous and fill you with a kind of excitement you'll never feel again. (Except with your next baby, of course!)

And while sure, being pregnant at 12 weeks or 13 weeks is no cake walk, you have so much to look forward to – the bump, the baby shower, planning the nursery. It's stuff like this can really get you through the worst bouts of morning sickness and general crumminess that early pregnancy has to offer.

But here's a thing they don't tell you in most pregnancy books. By week 40, the novelty of pregnancy has all but worn away. Now, you're looking at that nursery you've spent nine months decorating and just getting antsy. The baby bump you were so eager to show off to your friends and loved ones? Yeah, by now that's just a giant lump underneath your t-shirt that makes it awkward to sit in booths, buckle your car seat and even get a solid night's rest.

It's okay to admit that by week 40, you're sick of being pregnant. But with that realization – not to mention the continued absence of telltale contractions – you're faced with an even tougher turn of events. How can you keep your increasingly frustrated self from going crazy during these final weeks of pregnancy?

One great way for you to take your mind off the pregnancy is to spend this precious time you've still got to yourself with your friends and family. Going out for dinners, catching a late movie or even venturing outdoors for a long walk can help you feel at ease in the weeks to come.

You may also want to consider some last-minute organization around your job or home. If there's a project you've been putting on the backburner, use week 40 to your advantage and try to get everything as tidy as possible before the baby arrives.

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