Pregnancy Week 40 – The Baby’s Progress

Pregnancy week 40 will surely be the week, apprehensive or not, that you will have been waiting and working so hard towards. Although you may still find it hard to imagine holding your newborn and wondering what they are going to look like, it comforting to know that you will be meeting them any day (or hour) now. Your baby will now have those chubby, rounded cheeks that’s so typical of new born babies. The umbilical cord is also now the same length as your baby.

Pregnancy 40 Weeks

Ossification, the hardening of the bones, is now complete. This process would have started in the centre of each bone and gradually worked it’s way outwards although the ends of long bones such as the legs and arms and also the tips of the fingers and toes will still remain as cartilage. These will not fully fuse until years after the birth and remain separated from each other by connective tissue known as sutures or wider areas of connective tissue is known as fontanelles (such as the moveable bone plates in the head that move and overlap during labor to aid a safe delivery). This often makes the baby appear to have a ‘cone-shaped’ head soon after birth, however, the bones quickly realign themselves back into their correct position.

One thing that grips women with fear at this late stage of pregnancy is if the baby still does not appear to have engaged their head in the pelvis in preparation for labor. There are many reasons why this may occur, for example, the shape of your pelvis may be slowing the process down a little and you will simply require the pressure of contractions instead to get moving. Athletic women often have taut muscles that will hold the baby in a different position higher up. Second or subsequent pregnancies may also engage later as the baby does not feel the need to place themselves into the restrictive pelvis when the are quite comfortable resting around the loose tummy muscles. A big baby may also decide not to engage until the last minute due to obvious extra cramping.

By the end of pregnancy week 40 your baby will measure up to 21″ (53.3cm) and weigh in at around 8.5lbs (3.86kg).

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(See 40 Weeks Pregnant – The Mother’s Progress)


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