At week 41, if your expected delivery date has come and gone and your bun is still nestling comfortably in your oven, don’t worry just yet!
Pregnancy Week 41 – 42: Large watermelon
Your baby is now the size of a large watermelon! He may be 55cmto 70cm long and may weigh about 3.5kg to 3.9kg.
As your body gears up for labour, your baby’s endocrine system, which is responsible for hormone production, gears upas well for him to send the necessary chemical signals to trigger the labor process.
During this time, your baby will produce more stress hormones than any other time in his life, but rest assure that this is good stress for your baby. These fetal stress hormones are the same ones our body produces in flight or fight response to a life-threatening situation or a stressful event. They help your baby to transition and adapt to their life outside of your uterus in the following ways by helping him breathe, increasing blood flow to your baby’s brain and kidneys, increasing your baby’s immunity and supplying energy to the baby after birth.
There may be changes in your baby’s movements in utero at this stage, because the space your uterus has become much smaller for your baby since he is at his full size and weight now. You should still feel his movements and do consult a doctor if there are any significant decreases in fetal activity.
Going past your estimated delivery date (EDD) – pregnant mum’s emotions
You can’t wait to have your baby and it can feel like the longest weeks of the pregnancy, although it seems like you have just entered the third trimester! On one hand, you may feel tense, restless, frustrated, apprehensive or anxious in one moment due to the uncertainty of labor, or the fear of impending labors pains. On the other hand, you may feel anxious, excitement and happiness on the impending arrival of your baby.
It’s normal to feel anxious when you’re baby is staying longer in your womb than it’s expected due date.
There are a whole lot of feelings going on inside you and you might find yourself having intense, realistic dreams about baby. Feeling tired even if you have had a lot of sleep, and, imagining all kinds of situations about the birth of your baby and your life afterwards is to be expected too.
During this time, telling yourself to relax and stop feeling or thinking is likely to be counterproductive. You are entitled to allow yourself to experience all of these feelings, so take time for it and give yourself the necessary space to do so. Often, acknowledging our own feelings leads to acceptance and even relaxation and better rest, after you’ve been taken care of emotionally.
Changes in your overdue pregnancy body
From this week onwards, you may be asked to note down baby’s moments and any bodily discomforts or changes you notice. You could also be asked to check in with your gynae more often for assessments on how the baby and yourself are doing.
From week 41 to week 42, mums may be experiencing physical discomfort such as backache, strong pelvic pressure, cramps, frequent urination and the inability to rest well due to these discomforts.
The estimated delivery date, or EDD, given to you by your gynae is a working due date that has a five-day margin of error and is not necessarily the time nature decides to takes its course. In fact, fewer than 5 percent of babies arrive on their due date, and you are actually not considered overdue until 42 weeks gestation.
There are several signs that help you know when you are going into labor. One sign of impending labor is a bloody show, which is a pink or brown tinged mucus discharge from the rupturing of blood vessels in your cervix in preparation for labor. You may have hemorrhoids, more commonly known as piles, because there is increased blood flow to your pelvic area and the pressure rests on your rectum. You could experience diarrhea too because the internal muscles are loosening in preparation for childbirth. One of the most obvious signs is, when you experience a constant fluid leak that is probably your water bag breaking.
Tips to induce labour when baby is past his due date or over 40 weeks
There are several ways to help “quicken” your baby’s arrival, the most common one of which is a “Stretch and Sweep”, where medical practitioner will separate membranes attached to the amniotic sac with a finger or two during internal examinations. This method will feel uncomfortable, but it is an effective method that can trigger the hormone that stimulates your uterus to begin contractions.
Other ways to speed up labour include eating spicy food, getting an induction massage from a credible therapist, going for walks, squats and having sexual intercourse.
Kudos on the pregnancy journey, and now it’s time to welcome your new baby into the family.
Waiting for the arrival of your baby in the final stages is an experience in itself. Now that your hospital bag is packed, your birth plan is ready and you have read our guide to preparing for a new baby, do try to indulge in enjoying the couple and me time available now. You’ll be glad you did!
Did your baby arrive past his or her due date too? Let us know in the comments below!