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Your Baby at Week 41
It seems like your baby has opted for a late checkout, quite a popular option judging by the numbers.
Fewer than five percent of babies are born on their actual due dates — and around 10 percent decide to overstay their welcome in Hotel Uterus, thriving well into the tenth month.
Remember, too, that most of the time an overdue baby isn’t overdue at all — it’s just that the due date was off.
That’s okay — there’s still work to be done at 41 weeks pregnant.
41 Weeks Pregnant Is How Many Months?
If you’re 41 weeks pregnant, you’re in month 9 of your pregnancy.
It’s almost time!
Still have questions? Here’s some more information on how weeks, months and trimesters are broken down in pregnancy.
Why Fetal Stress Hormones Can Be Good
Gearing up for the big day is your baby’s endocrine system, which is responsible for hormone production.
Researchers theorize that baby actually sends some chemical signals (aka hormones) to the placenta to trigger labor to begin (as in: “Get me out of here, Mom!”).
Other hormones are standing by, too.
During childbirth, your baby will produce more stress hormones than any other time in her life (and you thought you were stressed out now!).
But those hormones will actually help your baby adjust rapidly to life outside the womb and help all those survival instincts kick in as she becomes untethered from the placenta that has provided support for the past nine months.
Baby’s First Breath
Another big milestone ahead for your baby will be taking that first breath of air.
In fact, the first breath at birth requires considerably more effort than any breath your baby will ever take again.
That’s because the tiny air sacs in the lungs need to be inflated for the first time so that they expand to fully do their job of breathing for a lifetime.
Your Body at Week 41
Meanwhile, your body is as ready for birth as it will ever be.
By the time you’re 41 weeks pregnant, your practitioner has probably discussed labor induction with you, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t still go into labor on your own; some babies just need to take their time.
But here’s the question you keep asking yourself: Will you know labor when you feel it?
Chances are, you’ll know it. But just in case you don’t, here’s a quick primer.
Your water may break (though it may not) and you may notice pink- or red-tinged mucous (the bloody show) just before labor begins.
Then you’ll feel labor contractions — rhythmical waves of hardening and softening of your uterus — which can come on quickly and suddenly for some women and slowly and steadily for others.
Typically, though not always, they start out further apart and then get progressively closer together.
Your first true contractions might feel like menstrual cramps or a low backache.
Many times, the pain will begin in your back and radiate toward your front.
Or your contractions can be limited to the front only.
Just as no two pregnancies are the same, no two labors are the same.
And though there are such things as textbook labors, many break a surprising number of rules.
If you’re feeling contractions but aren’t sure they’re the real thing, call your practitioner and describe them.
It’s likely he or she will be able to judge by the sound of your voice (plus a good description of your symptoms) whether you’re in labor.
Baby on the brain? It’s hard to think of anything else when your due date has come and gone — a week ago.
But you know what they say about a watched pot, so in an effort to keep your mind off your tardy baby and stay busy, try to have something planned every day (and watching the clock tick doesn’t count!).
Get out of the house:
Take a walk (which might even help get your contractions going), get a manicure or a haircut (you may not have the chance once baby’s on board), see a movie or two (your last for a while), hit the mall for those last-minute baby needs, have lunch with your friends and dinner with your spouse, do a thorough grocery store sweep so you’ll come home to a full fridge and freezer.
And speaking of freezers, make sure yours is stocked with ready-made meals.
Oh and tell your friends and family to stop calling every day: Remind them that no news is…no news.
41 WEEKS PREGNANT
Bet you never envisioned being 41 weeks pregnant.
But here you are! Because of your baby’s extra time in the womb, he or she’ll likely be heavier and more alert at birth than a baby born earlier would be.
At week 41 of pregnancy, the anticipation might feel like it’s killing you, but rest assured that plenty of moms-to-be go past their due date and everything turns out just fine.
You might actually be thankful to have had this extra time before dirty diapers and newborn feedings rule your world.
How Big Is Baby at 41 Weeks?
At 41 weeks, baby is as big as a watermelon.
The average 41-week fetus measures 20.4 inches long and weighs 7.9 pounds.
41 Weeks Pregnant Is How Many Months?
41 weeks pregnant is nine months and one week pregnant.
Consider yourself an overachiever!
41 WEEKS PREGNANT SYMPTOMS
Common 41 weeks pregnant symptoms are a continuation of your other third trimester symptoms.
Pelvic discomfort. Baby may be descending lower and lower, putting pressure on your bladder and cervix and giving you more aches and pains down below.
That pelvic pressure causes swollen varicose veins in your rectum, causing hemorrhoids.
They aren’t pretty, and they may get worse when you push baby out. But eventually the swelling will die down.
Difficulty sleeping. It’s the hormones—and your nerves!—that are keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep.
You’re not going to be sleeping much after baby arrives, so this is good practice.
But it’s also a good idea to rest up as much as possible for the birth.
Frequent urination. Baby’s pretty much sitting right on your bladder at this point.
Cue another trip to the bathroom!
Abdominal tightening is happening more and more noticeably and frequently as baby ramps up for delivery.
41 WEEKS PREGNANT SIGNS OF LABOR
By the time you hit 41 weeks pregnant, signs of labor might as well be written inside your eyelids.
You probably know this stuff by heart! But just in case, here goes.
Call the doctor if you have:
A constant leak which may indicate your water has broken.
Frequent or painful contractions that don’t stop.
You will also want to call the doctor if you have any out-of-the ordinary 41 weeks pregnant symptoms, such as bleeding or abdominal pain.
If you’re 41 weeks with no signs of labor, try to be patient!
Just because you’re 41 weeks and not dilated doesn’t mean you can’t go into labor tomorrow.
It’s really unpredictable like that!
INDUCING LABOR AT 41 WEEKS PREGNANT
41 weeks pregnant and fed up? We don’t blame you.
Pregnancy after 40 weeks isn’t exactly fun.
You’re big, you’re mentally ready for baby, and everyone you see says, “You’re still pregnant?!”
Go ahead and try every natural labor induction method in the books, as long as it’s safe (so check with your OB first).
Eat spicy food (if it doesn’t give you heartburn), walk like crazy, have sex (if you can will yourself to), and maybe try acupuncture (even if you’re a skeptic)!
Your OB may start to discuss the option of having a medical induction at 41 weeks, since babies that go too far past their due date may be at higher risk for problems.
Ask the doc lots of questions about what’s involved and what your specific 41 weeks pregnant risks are.
Getting induced does have some positives (like not having to waddle-run into the hospital while in labor!).
But there’s something to be said for not rushing baby. Some women say contractions are stronger and more painful during an induction.
Others say it’s more comfortable to wait for labor to start at home than it is in a delivery room.
If you choose to have labor induced at 41 weeks, there are several ways it can be done:
Stripping membranes. This is actually a natural induction method, but your doctor will need to perform it.
Luckily, it can be done in the doctor’s office and doesn’t require a trip to the hospital.
If you’re willing to try this potentially painful procedure, your doctor will sweep her fingers around the amniotic sac, separating the membranes there and releasing hormones that could stimulate labor.
This doesn’t always work, but if it does, you could be in labor within hours.
Artificial rupture of membranes (AROM).
Your doctor can break your water for you using a thin plastic hook.
This may be done if you’ve been having contractions but labor hasn’t progressed.
Medications. Two types of medication can be used for inducing labor at 41 weeks.
A prostaglandin suppository may be inserted like a tampon overnight to start cervical dilation.
Oxytocin may be given through an IV to jumpstart contractions.
41 WEEKS PREGNANT ULTRASOUND
As you await baby’s arrival, he or she’s plumping up a bit more.
Your 41-week fetus is growing even longer hair and nails.
No wonder some newborns come out with a full head of hair and ready for a mani-pedi!
Your doctor may also order a non-stress test and a 41 weeks pregnant ultrasound, to be sure baby’s still doing okay in there.
This will probably help both of you make a decision whether or not to induce.