Your guide to being 40 weeks pregnant
You’ll be meeting your baby any day now… how do you feel?
The tissues of your baby’s eyes develop slowly in the final month. Eyesight is the last of the five senses to fully mature and as a newborn she will only be able to see 20cm ahead of her and it will be blurred at first. Most children with normal vision won’t have 20:20 vision until they are seven to nine years old.
The cells in her eyes that detect and convert light into signals to the brain are fully grown now, her retina is well formed and the pigmented cells are mature. At birth she will probably have bluey – grey eyes, but they won’t settle at their actual colour until she is about nine months old.
You are continuing to produce amniotic fluid, however the level at which your baby uses and absorbs it may start to slightly outpace your production of it now, explaining why, if she is overdue, her skin may be a bit dry.
What’s happening to you
If there’s still no sign of your baby this week (and remember only five per cent of all babies in the UK are born on their due date) then your midwife will see you again the following week. At your 41 week appointment she’ll offer to give you a membrane sweep to help get things going.
This involves gently but firmly sweeping a finger around the neck of your womb to separate the members around your baby from your cervix. It can release the hormone prostaglandin which can kick-start your labour.
She will also check for any signs of high blood pressure or protein in the urine, both of which can indicate early signs of pre-eclampsia, a dangerous condition where the placenta ceases to function effectively.
At this stage, many women develop quite a puffy face (which may be worse in the mornings) thanks to a combination of fluid retention and your increased blood volume.
When to check it out
If it comes on suddenly and/or is accompanied by other symptoms such as increased weight gain, nausea or vomiting, any visual disturbances or headaches, call your midwife or GP immediately as it can be a symptom of pre-eclampsia.
‘To do’ this week
If you’re worried about how you’ll ever get your baby out, reassure yourself that it’s your pelvis size and not your frame that has a bearing on how straightforward your labour will be!
Wow! Did you know…
How active your baby has been until now may be an indication of her temperament. One study has found that babies that are very active in the womb may be slightly more irritable as young infants, while unborn babies with irregular sleep/wake patterns tend to sleep less soundly after birth.