Week 41 has passed and your baby is still in your belly. There is no reason worry; fewer than 5% of babies are actually born on their due date. This week you’re going to get more attention than usual as your physician monitors your overdue baby more closely.
What’s happening to your body?
You may be concerned that the pregnancy is taking too long, but studies show than 70% of post-term pregnancies aren’t post-term at all. The confusion is usually caused by a miscalculation of the time of conception, commonly caused by irregular ovulation of a mom’s uncertainty about the exact date of her last period. If you are among the 2% of women who are truly overdue, take comfort in the knowledge that before this week is done, your baby will be born or your physician will induce labour. This time next week, your family will be one small bundle of joy larger.
How your foetus is developing week by week:
Upon arrival, your fashionably late baby will probably have dry, cracked, peeling, or wrinkled skin. This is a result of the shedding of the protective vernix weeks ago in anticipation for delivery and is completely temporary. Your tardy one might also have longer nails and hair, and be more alert.
What you can do:
Continue to watch for signs of impending labour or get ready for impending induction. One pre-labour sign to look for may be loose bowel movements, e.g. mild diarrhoea. This is nature’s way of clearing your intestines to make room for the baby’s passage through the birth canal.
If your contractions are strong—if they last at least 45 seconds and are coming more often than every 5 minutes — your baby is likely to be on the way within a few hours!
Minimise the ‘stinging’ of childbirth with perineal massage. Insert clean thumbs about 3 cm into your vagina and press down against the vaginal wall towards the anus. Continue sliding your thumbs down and back continuously for 5 minutes. Repeat daily.