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Fetal development - week 40

The waiting game

Posted: 19 May 2005
by ThinkBaby

If your baby is of average weight she’ll be about 7.5lbs or 3.5 kilos now - boys are usually slightly heavier than girls. The fat stores that your baby has been laying on now make up 15% of her total body weight, plenty to help regulate her temperature out of the womb. Her nails are probably quite long and will probably need trimming shortly after birth and she may even have scratched herself in the womb. The fine lanugo that protected her body in the womb will have largely disappeared.

When born your baby’s skin colour will vary between a whitish pink and a bluish pink. The pigment that adds colour, Melanin, isn’t produced until after exposure to light.

Birth is still a waiting game, she could make an appearance at any time.

What’s happening with Mum?
By now you’re probably more than a little bored with being pregnant and are impatiently waiting for labour to start. As the days go by try not to get too het-up about your approaching due date, although we know that’s easier said than done. Most babies aren’t born on their actual due date and it’s particularly common for first babies to be born after it’s passed. In fact about half of all babies are born after their due date. Your baby won’t be considered technically post-term, or late, until you’ve reached 42 weeks.

One common reason for babies being born late is a miscalculation in the due date, and that’s something your doctor will take into consideration before deciding whether to induce labour. Another important consideration is whether the baby appears to be doing well or suffering from the placenta being too old to properly provide for her. If you are keen to push for an induction yourself when your due date has passed then bear in mind that induced labours are medically managed labours from the outset and have a higher caesarian section rate.

If you’re feeling the end of pregnancy blues then try to think ahead to what it will be like once your baby is here and take advantage of these quiet times to fit in some reading or to escape the house for dinner with your other half, once there’s a new set of lungs in the house you’ll be longing for a few quiet moments to yourself.

There are all sort of hypotheses about how to induce labour naturally and vary from a bout of lovemaking to the clinically proven effects of drinking raspberry leaf tea, a uterine stimulant.

Whenever your baby decides to arrive, we hope you have a positive experience of childbirth and, once you’ve got some energy back, share your experience on the site with other expectant mothers. And of course, we’d love to see a picture of your newborn in the parent’s gallery!

NB: All pregnancies are different and fetal growth rates vary, this is meant only as an approximate guide to development. If you have any concerns about your developing pregnancy then speak to your doctor.

Great expectations

Inducing labour naturally - If you go over your due date you might start thinking about natural ways to bring on labour.

The first hours - Recovering from birth and getting to know your baby, what to expect for the first hours.

Getting started - Tangled emotions and a sore body, your first few weeks as a new mum.

Your baby in the first month - It might seem that when your baby is born, all she can do is cry, but that's far from the truth. Here's what to expect from your newborn and how things will change in the first month.

Birth experiences

Whiling away the days - In retrospect I wish I had spent more time reading and less time folding and re-folding babygros. But such is the nesting instinct... Laura tells us and there are plenty of other birth stories on the site.

Blog away! If you've been keeping a blog of your pregnancy on TB don't forget to add your birth story to complete it. And then why not start a new parenting blog?

Home birth? - A friend of mine recently gave birth at home, with an independent midwife, an experience she raves about. I love the idea, but am a bit concerned that doctors, drugs, surgery and equipment are more readily available at hospital. If you're having a home birth then join in the debate on the forum.

You can join in the discussions and share birth experiences and advice with other ThinkBaby members in the birth folder.

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