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Week of gestation: 40 weeks
Equals to month: end of 9th month
Equals to days: 275 to 280 days of gestation
At the 40th week of pregnancy, the baby's development is complete and he is ready to be born. All organs are fully formed, the heart beats approximately 120 to 160 times per minute, and labor can begin at any time.
During this week, the woman may continue to experience symptoms of excessive tiredness and swelling in the hands or feet. In addition, the woman should be aware of the signs of labor, such as rupture of the amniotic sac, regular contractions that increase in intensity and do not improve with body movement, and the presence of vaginal discharge, called a mucous plug.
Up to the 40th week and 6 days, the birth of the baby is considered a full-term delivery. However, it is possible for the baby to be born until the 41st week and 6 days, being called late term, or until 42 weeks or more, being considered post-term.
At the 40th week of pregnancy, the baby's development is complete, all organs are fully formed, the heart beats approximately 120 to 160 times per minute, and the baby is ready to be born.
The baby's skin is smooth, with folds of fat on the legs and arms and there may still be some vernix. The baby may have a lot of hair or very little hair, but it is likely that some will fall out in the first few months after birth.
Muscles and joints are strong and baby reacts to sound and movement, being able to recognize familiar sounds, especially mom and dad's voice.
The nervous system is completely ready and mature enough for the baby to survive outside the womb, but brain cells will continue to multiply for the first few years of the child's life.
The respiratory system is mature and once the umbilical cord is cut, the baby can start breathing on its own.
Baby size and weight
The size of a baby at 40 weeks gestation is about 51.2 centimeters measured from head to toe, and about 36.3 centimeters from head to butt, equivalent to the size of a jackfruit. Baby weight this week is about 3.5 Kg.
Changes in a woman's body
In the 40th week of pregnancy, a woman may have symptoms of tiredness and swelling that, despite being more apparent in the legs and feet, can affect the whole body.
The baby is likely to be born, and the woman should be aware of the signs of labor such as regular contractions every 5 to 10 minutes, which increase in intensity over time, or vaginal discharge with little spots of blood, called a mucous plug, which has a jelly-like consistency and can vary in color from clear to reddish brown.
Another sign that a woman should be aware of is the rupture of the amniotic sac, which can be perceived by the release of a transparent or light yellow and odorless liquid through the vagina, which may come out in small amounts as a drip or come out in large quantities and constantly. Check out other signs of labor.
However, if labor does not start spontaneously until 41 weeks, it is possible that the obstetrician opts for induction of labor, which consists of administering oxytocin into the mother's bloodstream, in the hospital, to stimulate contractions uterus, or perform a cesarean section. See when cesarean is indicated.
In some cases, it is possible for the pregnancy to last up to 42 weeks.
Care during the 40th week
At the 40th week of pregnancy, some precautions are important to help alleviate the discomforts that may arise, such as:
- Excessive tiredness: Resting during the day, if possible, going to bed a little earlier at night, can help reduce fatigue and increase mood;
- Swelling in the legs or feet: not standing too long, and placing your feet higher than your body, supporting your feet when you need to sit, help improve blood circulation in the legs and helps relieve swelling in the legs or feet. However, if the swelling doesn't improve, starts suddenly, or has swelling in your hands and face, you should seek medical help right away, as it could be a sign of preeclampsia. Learn more about preeclampsia and how it is treated;
- Vaginal discharge (mucous plug): losing the mucus plug this week of pregnancy can be a sign that the body is getting ready for labor, and you should if always be communicated. In case the bleeding is intense, the woman presents frequent and regular contractions, rupture of the amniotic sac, or decrease or absence of fetal movements, immediately go to the nearest hospital or maternity ward;
- Contractions: you should inform the obstetrician immediately when contractions start and go to the maternity or hospital. In addition, it is important to breathe slowly and deeply, to better oxygenate the body, to keep moving, because in addition to stimulating dilation, it also relieves pain, especially in standing positions, as they help the baby to descend through the birth canal.;
- Breakage of water: you should report it to the obstetrician immediately and go to the hospital or maternity hospital to get assistance from he alth professionals. When the water breaks, the uterine contractions that mark the beginning of labor are expected to appear in a short time, usually occurring about 5 hours after the water breaks. However, contractions can take up to 48 hours to appear, however, it is advisable to go to the maternity ward after 6 hours of the rupture of the water because this rupture allows microorganisms to enter the uterus, increasing the risk of infections in the woman and the baby.
During the entire pregnancy, it is important to follow medical recommendations, perform prenatal consultations, and continue taking folic acid or supplements and do physical activities recommended by the obstetrician.
In addition, you should drink at least 8 glasses of water a day and have a nutritious and balanced diet, including fresh fruits and vegetables, to ensure the supply of essential nutrients for the baby and help control weight gain during pregnancy. See how to eat during pregnancy.
At the 40th week of pregnancy, the woman should have another prenatal visit so that the obstetrician can assess the woman's blood pressure, weight, uterus height, baby's position, heartbeat and movements of the fetus, for example.
In case the woman has gone into labor, the doctor can do the stress test during the contraction, to evaluate the baby's heartbeat while a contraction is happening and to evaluate the he alth of the placenta, since during a contraction the placenta must be able to maintain the correct blood flow, keeping the baby's heart rhythm.Understand better what stress testing is and how it is done.