Congratulations! Your baby is almost ready to be born. Weekly visits have begun. Every week of the pregnancy counts for the health of your baby. Lots of important things are happening to your baby in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Your baby’s heart and lungs will continue to develop. Baby will also spend the next few weeks putting on weight. Being pregnant for at least 39 weeks gives your baby’s body the best chance to grow and completely develop before birth.
At every visit your weight, blood pressure, fetal heart tones, fundal height and urine will be measured for any signs of developing health concerns. You will be asked about fetal kick counts and any unusual symptoms since prior visits. You should continue to stay active by walking for 15 to 20 minutes every day. Now is a good time to have your delivery bag prepared and car seat installed for your newborn’s arrival.
At 41 weeks, you may have another ultrasound or an non-stress test to assess the wellbeing of your baby. A non-stress test is a non-invasive and painless test done to monitor the fetal heart rate when the baby moves spontaneously or is stimulated to move. The monitor will be fitted by attaching two elastic straps around your abdomen. One device records the fetal heart rate and the other uterine activity. These will be recorded on monitor paper for your health care provider to interpret.
A discussion about inductions of your labor may take place by 41 weeks. Labor induction is the artificial start of the birth process through medical interventions. Your provider may recommend induction when the risks of waiting for labor to start on its own are higher than the risks of having a procedure to get your labor going. This may be the case if your water breaks before your labor starts, you develop serious health conditions that place your health or that of your baby at risk, or you have gone one to two weeks past your estimated due date.