After being 40 weeks pregnant, the wait is finally over. Your baby is ready to focus on her favorite thing—you!
Mom's Tip of the Week
Did you know...?
Your baby will need lots of attention right after she's born. Your baby at 40 weeks is ready to be loved. After delivery, your doctor will suction the mucus out of your baby’s mouth and nose, and then you’ll hear your baby’s voice at last. The umbilical cord will be cut (by dad or doctor), and your baby will be whisked away for a few quick screening tests to make sure everything is OK. After that, she is all yours!
Your Baby at 40 Weeks Pregnant
What's Happening in There
- Your baby's size may vary. The average baby at 40 weeks weighs from 6 1/2 to 9 pounds and measures 20 to 22 inches.
- She may be late. At 40 weeks pregnant, you may be in for a little bit more time carrying your baby. Only 5 percent of babies show up on their due date, and a good number end up coming up to two weeks past their due date.
- Her skin may not look like you expected. She is covered in vernix until her first bath. Even after that, her skin may be mottled in some places and blue in others (due to immature circulation), and she may have dry patches.
- Your baby's genitals may be enlarged. Thanks to pregnancy hormones in your baby's system (which is normal), she may have temporarily enlarged genitals at birth.
- Her vision is a little blurry. After your baby's birth, she will be able to focus only on objects 8 to 12 inches from her face, which is exactly how far your face is from hers when you are feeding her. With time and good nutrition, her vision will mature. DHA, from breast milk or infant formula, is still important to help support her brain development. You can continue taking a prenatal supplement that has DHA. A study showed that at 12 months of age, babies who had been fed formula with DHA, after weaning from breast milk at 4 or 6 months, showed significantly better visual acuity—the ability to distinguish detail through vision—than babies fed formula without. The results were about equal to one line gained on an eye chart.
- She will clearly recognize the familiar sound of your voice. So go ahead and start talking to her right away.
Baby Brain Waves
Your Baby’s Brain Is Developing
Your baby at 40 weeks has quite the brain already. However, while your baby’s brain has undergone an amazing transformation throughout your pregnancy, it still has a long way to go. When she is born, most of her actions are controlled by the lower brain and are called reflexes. She will turn her head toward and suck on an object placed near her mouth (known as the rooting reflex), she’ll throw out her arms and legs when startled by something (the Moro reflex), and if you support her body and head and let the soles of her feet touch a flat surface, she will make walking motions (the stepping reflex). As the upper regions of her brain mature, she will lose these reflexes and begin controlling her actions more and more.
Real Issues, Real Solutions
The issue: At 40 weeks pregnant, you're about to meet your newborn baby, and you're not sure what to expect.
The solution: Although babies develop at different rates, they all experience some rapid changes right after birth in four key areas controlled by the brain. Development in these areas—cognitive, motor, social, and communication—are measured in age‐related milestones. Take a peek at some simple things you can do to encourage how she grows and learns.
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