Pregnancy Articles

Week 40: Your Baby is On the Way!

Your Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy

Your Baby This Week

The time has finally arrived! You and baby are ready to be a team. The day you two meet will be here in a heartbeat!

Approaching 7.5 pounds (3.4 kg) or more, and measuring up to 22 inches (56 cm), your baby is ready to make her grand entrance any time now. All of her organs are fully developed, and she has reflexes and more coordination. Baby can grasp and hold onto things, turn her head, and respond to outside cues, including the sound of your voice. Most of the lanugo hair has fallen out, but some may still remain on the shoulders, neck, behind the ears and in the deeper folds of the skin. It too will shed in the weeks immediately after birth.

Your Body This Week

Congratulations--delivery day is almost here! The next change you experience will be labor pains. Don't be alarmed if your due date comes and goes without so much as a cramp. Only about 5% of babies are born on the estimated due date. She'll arrive when she's ready and not a moment sooner! Getting sleep may be challenging now, partly because you're uncomfortable and partly because you're nervous. But rest is essential! Labor and delivery will be so much easier if you are well-rested. When you're not in bed, keep your feet elevated and wait for your bundle of joy to arrive.

Pumping More Iron

Now that the pregnancy is complete (or will be any day now!!) your nutritional job is done, right? Far from it - it's just beginning! For example, women who are anemic with low iron stores following delivery are more likely to suffer from postpartum depression. And new research suggests that low iron stores can also affect the bonding process between you and your newborn baby. So keep taking those prenatal vitamins and learn more about iron and your new nutritional needs.

Abdominal Recovery

We can't help it. Right alongside amazed looks at the newborn child, up there with concerns about breastfeeding, while we're thinking of how to decorate the nursery--we're also wondering just how the heck our stomach is ever going to look the same. Happily, within the first 48 hours after birth, you can speed your body's recovery by doing a simple exercise that works your abs:
  1. Sit in a comfortable position with your back supported.
  2. Take a big breath and as you exhale, say the word "hut" fast and loud. You'll feel your tummy press in with each "hut."
  3. Do this exercise several times each hour.

See more abdominal building exercises.

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