41 Weeks Pregnant: What to Expect
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It will be an amazing and indescribable feeling for you to meet your baby for the first time! If you have reached week 41 of your pregnancy, it is quite possible that your little one wants to stay in your uterus a little longer! However, upon gaining some knowledge regarding the final stages of pregnancy, you can be reassured that there is nothing to worry about even if you still haven’t met your baby.
Your Baby’s Growth During Pregnancy – Week 41
You are now almost on the verge of meeting your baby! However, if the little fellow is still in your womb, then be assured everything is fine. This is what you can expect after you deliver your baby:
- If you go through a vaginal delivery process, then you might deliver babies with temporarily elongated heads and puffy eyes. This is because the baby’s head has been squeezed through the birth canal.
- Your newborn will mostly have vernix caseosa coating on their bodies. The first bath of the baby will wash this away. Usually, it takes a few weeks for newborns to develop full and chubby cheeks.
- Some newborns might be born with a lot of hair on their head, while others might be bald. There is no reason to worry in the latter case. The hair will eventually grow. In the former scenarios, the hair tends to shed and is replaced by the growth of new hair which will have a different colour and texture.
- The eye colour of newborns tends to change and it is between 6 to 12 months that the colour stabilises into a final one.
- The skin of your newborn is likely to be delicate and one can see the blood vessels underneath it. The wrinkles on the skin are there because the baby has spent 9 months inside the womb floating in amniotic fluid, and is now exposed to air. The wrinkles will eventually disappear.
- Your baby might have pigeon-toed feet. This is because the baby has been inside your womb with limited mobility. After 6 months or so, the feet will straighten out.
What Is the Baby’s Size?
At 41 weeks of pregnancy, the baby will be as big as a watermelon. The baby will be around 20 to 40 inches in length and 3.68 kgs in weight.
Common Body Changes
Your body changes during pregnancy. Parts such as the breasts, skin, abdomen and even the digestive system go through a lot of transformation. During these final stages of pregnancy, your body is getting ready for the birthing process. During this period, it is highly possible that you will go into labour. Although for some, the baby takes a little extra time to come out. Here’s how you will know if you are in labour.
- Your water will break and you can notice red or pink-tinged mucous appearing prior to labour.
- You will experience labour contractions as well. These contractions can be experienced differently by different mothers.
Symptoms of Pregnancy at Week 41
The symptoms during the 41st week of pregnancy are usually a continuation of the previous weeks.
- Discomfort in the pelvic region: As the baby descends lower, the pressure on the cervix and bladder increases. This causes discomfort and ache.
- Haemorrhoids: Pressure on the pelvis leads to swelling up of the varicose veins in the rectum, which causes haemorrhoids.
- Difficulty while sleeping: This is mainly due to hormones and the anxiety of having to wait for so long for delivery.
- Frequent visits to the bathroom: The increased pressure on the bladder increases the number of visits to the bathroom.
- Contractions: As the baby is getting ready to be delivered, contractions occur more frequently.
What Are the Signs of Labour?
During the 41st week of pregnancy, you might know the signs of labour like the back of your hand. The signs of labour during this period are:
- Breaking of the water, indicated by a leak.
- Frequent contractions that are painful and don’t stop.
It is necessary to call the doctor or visit the hospital if this is the case. There are chances that you might not show any signs of labour during this period. This does not mean that it won’t happen soon, as labour is quite unpredictable.
Inducing Labour at 41 Weeks
Being pregnant for that extra month can add to your physical, as well as, mental stress. Friends and family also tend to add to this by questioning the delay of delivery. At this point, doctors recommend inducing labour. Some pregnant women complain about experiencing stronger and more painful contractions during induced labour. There are others who say that waiting for labour to begin at home is more comfortable as opposed to the delivery room. Although, as the delivery time is extended, the baby is at a higher risk. There are multiple ways to induce labour during this period such as:
- Stripping of membranes: This natural method of induction needs to be performed by the doctor. If you are willing to take this route, the doctor will separate the membranes around the amniotic sac using sweeping motions with the fingers. This releases hormones that lead to labour stimulation.
- Artificial rupture of membranes (AROM): The doctor uses a thin hook made of plastic, to break the water. This is done when the mother is continuing to experience contractions with no progress in labour.
- Medication: Medications are used to induce labour during the 41st week of pregnancy. To start dilation of the cervix, a prostaglandin suppository is inserted overnight. To jump-start labour contractions, oxytocin is injected intravenously.
The Belly at 41 Weeks of Pregnancy
Being pregnant for 41 weeks is basically a period of nine months and 1 week. This is mainly because of the extra time the baby remains in the womb. The belly will be much heavier with increased discomfort. It may be quite difficult to move around. However, doctors suggest increasing movement in order to induce natural labour. Make sure you use proper postures to sit, sleep, and use support while getting up and sitting down, as the belly is quite heavy.
41 Weeks Ultrasound
An ultrasound check-up is recommended by the doctors just to ensure everything is normal. This ultrasound helps the doctor decide whether to induce labour or not.
What to Eat
41st-week pregnancy foods should include nutrients that are vital for brain development, apart from other essential nutrients. The intake of these nutrient-rich foods should continue at a constant rate until the day of delivery. Do not reduce your intake of these foods in order to lose weight. Stick to a nutrient-rich pregnancy diet. It is also important to consume lots of fluids.
Tips & Care
Here are a few tips for you to follow to ease the situation.
- Have a nutrient-rich pregnancy diet to help the baby have healthy growth while inside the womb.
- Keep yourself occupied to remain stress-free, as it could give you sleepless nights and lead to health deterioration.
- Do not reduce the intake of food as it could reduce blood sugar levels.
- Avoid a hot tub as the body has issues regulating heat while pregnant.
What You Need to Shop For
During the 41st week of pregnancy, a list of things a mother could shop for are:
- Formula for the baby
- Dish liquid to wash the baby’s bottles, etc.
- Room fresheners, since babies poop a lot and the smell tends to stay!
- Maternity sleepwear which includes v-neck nighties that provide an inner panel that can be moved aside during nursing. Bella Mama also has a wide range of maternity bras or nursing bras that are wireless and offer utmost comfort.
When you experience 41 weeks of pregnancy instead of 40, it is understandable to feel anxious. Stress mounts as the due date is passed. It is essential to know that this is a common occurrence, especially for mothers who are pregnant for the first time. A few reminders for this period are:
- Talk to the doctor and get an appointment fixed for labour induction
- Relax as much as possible
- Keep the mind occupied to worry less
Being 41 weeks pregnant could make you impatient and worry about the health of your baby. It is best if you educate yourself regarding pregnancy, especially the 41st week of pregnancy (if you are still carrying), and prep for post-pregnancy situations.
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