In Pregnancy week 40, your baby is ready as can be to come out to meet you, your partner and the world. Your little one weighs 7.6 pounds and 20 inches. If your baby decides to stay a bit longer, he or she is going to get heavier. There are babies who when they come out weigh 10 pounds although this is quite rare. A healthy baby's fat layer is 15% of the total body weight, so controlling the body temperature will not be a problem, when he or she is born.
In pregnancy week 40, a baby has very little room to move and will soon be ready to move out into the world, whereas a few will decide to stay a while longer and will be inside the womb for 42 weeks or longer, and need to be induced. The skull bones are not fused and in the birth process, the baby is born with a slightly conical head, but there is nothing to worry as it is temporary.
Every organ is totally developed and matured and the eyes are fully formed, but the nerves within the eyes will continue developing in the first few weeks after delivery. Only when your baby is about six weeks old, it can focus and follow your movements.
At pregnancy week 40, you are also ready to give birth, if you have not done so yet. Most babies arrive after their due date and only 25 percent come before their due date. Your uterus will now be lower as your baby's head drops into the birth canal. This is called lightening and now you will feel less pressure on you ribs. Keep talking to your baby, as your voice is the first thing the baby recognizes after birth and will probably give him or her lot of consolation in this new strange world.
There are a few beliefs and old wives tales, as to what can induce birth. From pregnancy week 40 you can try these methods to induce labor, and not before that. One of them is having sex as the sperm contains prostaglandins, which can help hasten contractions and begin labor. Walking is supposed to be another inducer. It will help move your baby deeper into the pelvis and be able to help labor when contractions are not regular. Some believe spicy food with a lot of cumin and ginger will do the trick. Some believe that stimulating the nipple will cause labor because nipple stimulation will cause the secretion of oxytocin, which causes contractions of the uterus. However, you must be careful not to over stimulate. There is also evidence that evening primrose oil softens the cervix, and therefore causes it to dilate.
If you do not go into labor by the 42nd week, it is highly likely that you will be induced with certain drugs. This is mainly because the placenta will not be efficient in passing nutrients to the baby. If your cervix is not soft, thinned, or ripe, the hospital caregiver will first give you prostaglandins into the vagina to ripen the cervix and stimulate the required number of contractions to begin labor. Membrane stripping is also done once the cervix is soft, where the doctor releases the amniotic membrane from the lower uterus. Otherwise, they will give the mother Pitocin, also called oxytocin, intravenously to start labor.