Woo-hoo! You’ve made it to the last week of your pregnancy! Feeling wonderful or feeling not-so-hot, you have to be ecstatic about being so close to the birth of your little one! This week, and any that may follow, will be packed full of exciting doctor’s appointments, Braxton hicks contractions, and hopeful anticipation that anything may be the signal of the onset of labor. At 40 weeks pregnant, navigating the last few days of your pregnancy can seem daunting at times, but maintaining an optimistic “one-day-at-a-time” perspective can make the time a lot more enjoyable and a lot less stressful.
At 40 weeks pregnant, your belly is telling that you could deliver any day. And with a baby the size she will be at birth, or close to it, why wouldn’t it be? Your baby is spending her last precious days comfortable in the home she’s known preparing for the joyous move to her new life with you! Her position may be changing, her movements may lessen, and you may feel her “drop” lower in your bottom if you haven’t already. Whether she’s ready to come earlier than the day you expect her, on her due date, or shortly thereafter, just find peace in knowing that she will come out… and when she does, all of the uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms you’ve suffered through will be a distant memory of the small price to pay to create a life that will change yours forever.
Okay, at 40 weeks pregnant there is a lot going on. High risk pregnancies will have more instruction and preventative measures in place, but unless you’ve received specific instructions from your healthcare provider, consider yourself not high-risk. If some Braxton hicks contractions give you a freak out, rest assured that the real contractions will be constant, not sporadic, and will increasingly intensify with less time between each consecutive one. If you’re trying to bring about your labor by following old wives tales, stay safe by running them by your midwife first, and try not to get your hopes up – if pregnant women had found a way to induce their own labor, everyone would know about it! Remaining stress-free and focused on your health and happiness will be all you need to get you from now to the time of delivery in the best shape possible. Your baby will come out when the time is just right, and you will now when you go into real labor… believe it!
Having made it to the end of your pregnancy, 40 weeks pregnant can feel like the greatest milestone ever! Expecting the birth of your child at any moment can be the most exciting experience of your life, and the unknowns of pregnancy like when you’ll go into labor, how the labor will be, and what the birth will be like will all be revealed soon enough. Making sure you’re as ready as you can be and as rested as you’ll need to be are the only things you can do (other than trying to keep yourself busy and your mind off of the ticking clock) to preserve your sanity. Talk to other people, go for a walk, cry, freak out, do whatever you have to do, but then rest, relax, calm down, and take a minute to compose yourself into the person you know you need to be for the perfect labor and delivery experience. You’ve made it this far, and you deserve a pat on the back for enduring all of the pregnancy discomfort, but rather than a pat on the back, how about that baby of your dreams? Any day now, your dreams will come true… and how often does that does happen?