41st week pregnant: what can I expect?
At 41 weeks of pregnancy, you are past your expected due date. You might feel you have been pregnant forever and can’t wait for it all to end. Take heart in the fact there is not long to go now; having a gestation period past 42 weeks is a rarity. If you don’t go into labor soon, your doctor will think of inducing labor.
Week 41 – your body
- During a vaginal examination, your doctor will tell you just how much is your cervix opened or dilated, and how much has it thinned. The opening and thinning of your cervix mean that your cervix is getting ready for labor.
- Now that you are past the estimated due date, your doctor will check the level of your amniotic fluids by ordering another ultrasound. The doctor will also want to check the size of your baby and the location of the placenta.
- You might also notice an increase in vaginal discharge at this stage of your pregnancy. An increase in cervical mucus doesn’t necessarily mean you are in labor.
- At your antenatal checkups, your doctor will ask you to monitor your baby’s movements and ask you to report to the hospital if you notice something unusual.
Week 41 – your emotions
- During the 41st week of pregnancy, you will be waiting for labor and it’s difficult to stay calm. Every pain or twinge may make you think you are in labor. It’s important for you to stay calm when you wait for labor to begin, just keep your head down and you can get through these final stages.
- At 41 weeks of pregnancy, you are past your expected due date and if you want to throw a fit, you are entitled to it. It’s natural to get weepy, irritable, excited, and cranky and feel a roller coaster of emotions. If you want to do nothing other than sitting on a couch and watch a movie that’s fine too.
- You will have strange dreams in the final weeks of your pregnancy. You will dream of your baby’s features and gender. You may even dream of sharing an ice cream with your baby. Your dreams will be vivid and you will dream of whole incidents like taking your baby to the park.
- Watch a clip on the internet of the delivery process. If you are unable to do that try to visualize the labor process and give comfort to yourself by saying, ‘you can get through this’.
- It’s hard for you to think about anything else other than your labor at 41 weeks of your pregnancy. Try to distract your mind by visiting friends, watching movies, reading books or listening to music.
How’s my baby doing?
- The fine hair called lanugo that covered most of your baby’s body in the past few weeks will have disappeared by now. Most of the vernix will have disappeared from your baby’s skin too. The lanugo and vernix will be a part of the waste products in your baby’s bowels that form your baby’s first stools.
- Your belly would have grown so big, you literally feel like you are about to pop a huge watermelon. But, you won’t go into labor until your baby initiates it.
- If your baby chooses to arrive this week it will be able to breathe, suck, feed, digest, pass stools and cry.
Week 41 – useful tips
- If you are suffering from constipation and are worried you are going to make a big poo when you are in labor, have some spicy curry or drink castor oil to loosen your bowels. If you feel you can’t wait for labor anymore, try having sex, it’s considered a natural way to induce labor. The male sperm is thought to help induce labor because it contains prostaglandins, which has a similar action to the artificial hormones in the gel used to induce labor.
- If you can manage it, go for a long walk. This is thought to help in the opening and thinning of your cervix.
- Take it easy this week, don’t try to take on any big jobs like heavy lifting, gardening or painting the house.
- Your nipples may be sore but if you are keen to induce uterine contractions, try some nipple stimulation. Some women swear that it helps to induce labor.