Congratulations! You are now in your last week of pregnancy! (At least, it is supposed to be your last week. Occasionally a pregnancy will last a bit longer.) You should pat yourself on the back! You’ve worked hard to make sure that you had a healthy pregnancy and that you were educated on all aspects of it. You’ve tracked your progress each week and dreamed of the day that you will finally get to hold your precious baby. Well, that day is just about here!
Your Baby the Week
Your baby is now around the size of a watermelon.
In this final week of pregnancy, your baby is really getting impatient! He remains cramped and is looking forward to making his grand entrance in the world.
At 41 weeks, your baby measures anywhere around 51cm (20 inches) long when measured from head to toe, and her weight is somewhere in the vicinity of 3.5kg (7 to 8 pounds) on average.
You have probably noticed that your baby has stopped moving around as much as she did in the past weeks. This is because she is simply running out of room. You should still feel movement though. If you do not feel any movement, contact your doctor right away.
Some other foetal developments for this week include the overgrowth of fingernails and toenails. A baby who reaches the full gestation will most likely need her fingernails and toenails trimmed within a few days of birth.
At this point, there may still be a small amount of lanugo hair on her body. This is the fine layer of hair that covers your baby in the womb. The lanugo began to grow several months ago and protected your baby by regulating her body temperature before she had any fat in her body. As the fat began to develop, the lanugo was no longer necessary and started to slough off. By the time she is born, all the lanugo hair should be gone. Occasionally, babies are born with the lanugo hair on their bodies. When this happens, it is only a matter of days until the hair is completely gone.
Your baby has now shed most of the vernix caseosa. This is the cheesy-like coating that covers the foetus in the womb to protect their skin from the harshness of the amniotic fluid. This too will sometimes not be completely gone by birth, but chances are the nurses will clean it off of your baby before you even see it.
Your Body this Week
You’ve made it to your final week of pregnancy! You are physically ready to give birth and hopefully, you are mentally ready as well.
You’ve worked hard these nine months to ensure that your pregnancy was healthy. You have also made sure that you were well educated on your baby’s development and understood the changes that were happening to your body.
You have certainly been through a myriad of side effects over the last nine months; nausea, leg cramps, constipation, heartburn, indigestion, diarrhoea, haemorrhoids, dry skin, spotty skin, acne, cramps, itchy skin, stretch marks, backaches, headaches, swelling, and false labour.
Wow! That is quite a list! Now you face the most painful and trying, but rewarding time; the birth of your precious baby. Take a deep breath and try not to worry. Before you know it, you will be holding your baby and wondering where the time went. And, it is true what they say…Once you see your baby’s eyes, you will forget how the pain felt and it will all be only a distant memory.