Mom’s Changing Body
Still pregnant? That's okay. Babies come to term anywhere between 38 and 42 weeks. Your 40-week due date simply marks the midpoint of this period. If your delivery is scheduled, you'll check into the hospital and either be prepped for a C-section or, if you're going to deliver vaginally, given something to induce labor, like a prostaglandin gel to soften or ripen your cervix or an IV drip of pitocin (a synthetic version of the hormone oxytocin) to start up contractions. If you go into labor on your own (your water has broken or you're having contractions that are growing steadily more painful), call your doctor or midwife for instructions.
When you think about what labor and delivery might be like, odds are you're not exactly fantasizing about having a C-section. (It is major surgery, after all.) You may feel upset or disappointed if your doctor recommends one—or seriously freaked if you're suddenly whisked into the operating room after hours of labor. While it's completely normal and valid to have these feelings, remember that what matters most isn't how you deliver your baby, but that he arrives healthy. It might help to discuss all those burning what-ifs with your doctor now, so you're at least somewhat prepared and know at what point or under what circumstances she'd consider performing one. The more informed you are, the easier your mind will rest.
What Week 41 of Your Pregnancy is Really Like
This Week's To-Do List
This Week’s FAQs
Cervical Ripening: Can You Soften Your Cervix for Birth at Home?Cervical dilation and effacement is necessary for a vaginal birth, but it doesn't always happen like it should. Here's how to encourage the process yourself with natural methods.
7 Exercises to Induce Labor You Can Do at HomeCertain movements can improve a pregnant person’s alignment and properly position the baby for delivery. Experts share how to do them safely and effectively.