Your baby is now considered full term and will not normally gain much weight at this point. Your baby should be consistently moving 10 times a day.
Although around half of all pregnancies exceed 40 weeks, there is little fetal development from this point onwards. Weight gain and gain in length are both minimal from this point, although a small gain of around 100g is usual.
The placenta is still fully functioning and supplying antibodies that will help strengthen the baby’s immune system and aid in fighting infections during the first few months of life. Breast milk also contains antibodies and will continue to boost the immune system after birth.
Enough subcutaneous fat has now accumulated to allow the baby to control its own body temperature after birth. The greasy white coating that has been protecting the delicate skin continues to shed during this week and will be absorbed into the amniotic fluid.
Although it is common for pregnancies to go beyond 40 weeks, it is extremely likely that your baby will be born at or before 42 weeks, as most doctors will induce a baby at this point.
A clear indication that labour is imminent is the rupturing of the amniotic membranes; also known as your waters breaking. Although this is not usually as dramatic as it sounds; you may notice a pale liquid leaking from your vagina. Some women do experience a gush of fluid. If you think that your waters have broken, you should contact your midwife. The majority of women do not experience a rupture of the membranes before the onset of labour however, and most women are in hospital when their membranes actually break.
Fetal movement is likely to have slowed down by this point due to restricted space in the uterus. You should still be able to feel wiggles and flutters though and, during periods of wakefulness, your baby will make an average of 10 movements an hour.
It is normal to be swollen and tired, lacking sleep. There can still be signs of pre-eclampsia and obstetric cholestasis at this time.
Painless Contractions, increasing discharge with bloody show or water breakage are signs that labour may be about to commence. Labour does not begin at a particular point. It begins over time. It is like a plane at the airport going around the taxi ways waiting to go on the runway to take off. It can speed up and slow down before it goes on the runway and finally takes off. It can even speed up and slow down on the runway, several times. Passage of blood mucus or breakage of the waters is contributory evidence to the process become established. It is important not to go to the hospital until the evidence is well developed.
You will be seen at any time by the midwife at this stage. Ideally she can check your cervix at home so that you can avoid going to hospital too early if you think you are in labour.
An additional scan, midwife or consultant opinion can be accessed in a private clinic. There is no need for a referral letter. This can help you with decisions about delivery. You can have more time to discuss. In a private clinic you can have a swab to screen for Group B Streptococcus.
If you are delivering privately you will see a private doctor or midwife whenever you need to. The doctor will periodically use ultrasound to check your baby's growth, amount of amniotic fluid and that the placenta is working well.
You can book a private breastfeeding consultation to help with your newborn's feeding.
' Professional and reassuring 'Helen Campbell
The sonographer was ready as soon as I arrived, and she was extremely calming, personable and professional. The scan and blood test where efficient without feeling rushed and all very easy. These appointments can feel uneasy and make you feel anxious but I felt reassured and in professional hands the whole time
I saw Kate throughout my first pregnancy and am now doing so again with my second. She is absolutely amazing, she explains everything really clearly, and has answered all sorts of bizarre questions and worries I have had. On top of being clinically excellent she is also just the loveliest person and always a pleasure to see.Sarah Elliott
We had the harmony test with the Birth Company and had a reassurance scan with sonographer Kirsty McGarry who was absolutely lovely and really put our minds at rest. We had been scared by our NHS dating scan and left feeling like there was something wrong. We explained the situation and was treated very professionally and with good care. Also speedy appointments also as I had phone in the morning and got an appointment by afternoon. So thankful.Ashley and Tom
Really friendly, efficient service. Great experience overall. Had the Panorama. My appointment was with Kate who was absolutely fantastic. The results came really quickly. Have a comparison with private healthcare elsewhere and must say that The Birth Company was just how I would like to be treated when I pay for medical services - attentively, calmly, friendly, in a pleasant environment that doesn't look like hospital. Top marks!Anna
' Efficient, friendly and always on hand to provide last minute appointments 'Hannah Murphy
The Birth Company has been excellent, providing timely scans and blood tests during my IVF treatment abroad. Staff are always friendly and extremely efficient. I would highly recommend coming here.
' Professional and friendly 'Lyndsey Dilla
When I first contacted the Birth Company I spoke to Danielle. She was fantastic. She went above & beyond to put me at easy & make the journey from Kent as stress free as possible. Every staff member that myself and my husband have come into contact with have been approachable, professional and friendly. Kate scanned me the first time and put me completely at easy. Lisa on reception is professional and very approachable. Highly recommended
' Highly recommended 'Emelie
Donald was so lovely! I was so nervous as I have a bad history and he was super quick and confirmed my baby's heartbeat as quickly as he could. He spent time showing me the baby and the anatomy and it was the best money I have ever spent! The reception girls were lovely too - considering they deal with babies day in day out they were super excited for me! Thank you so much one and all! If only I lived in London and could have all my scans with you!
Great Portland Street