The following information -- and much more -- can also be found in the free weekly email Lamaze Pregnancy Week by Week. Sign up now to receive helpful information for your stage of pregnancy. Subscribers will be given the opportunity to complete a Lamaze Parent Satisfaction Survey after their pregnancy and receive a Lamaze Toys coupon. We want to hear about your birth experience and the impact that childbirth education may have had so that we can continue to make sure parents have the information they need for the safest, healthiest birth possible.
You're in week 40 of your pregnancy!
Nothing can describe the moments when you first gaze at your newborn’s face and the following hours when you marvel at everything your baby is and does. This time is more than a sequel to birth—it’s another part of the beautiful, unique dance between mother and child. These hours establish the foundation of your future together, allowing love, trust and understanding to grow. Explore what you may experience in the soon-to-come moment that you greet your baby.
What's New with Baby
By now, your skin is stretched taut and you may wonder, “Just how big is my baby?” Many inductions begin for fear of a baby that will be too big for a safe vaginal birth. However, in most cases, it is safe to wait until labor begins on its own. Your baby is mature, refined, and waiting for just the right moment—and you can hardly wait to meet her! Explore the myth of the too-big baby. With the average newborn weighing around 7 ½ pounds and measuring 20 inches long, she is now about the size of a small watermelon.
What's New with You
Maybe this week, maybe next, the contractions that you may have felt in the later weeks of pregnancy will slowly become stronger, closer together, and more regular. There is no need to time all of these contractions, as it can quickly become exhausting. Instead, try this tip: When you notice a change in contractions, begin timing for 15 minutes. Then give it a break for the next 45 minutes or until you notice another change in contractions. You will get a good sense of what is happening with your contractions in 15 minutes. If you will be having a birth in a hospital or birthing center, continue your coping strategies at home until your contractions have been three to five minutes apart for about an hour, with each contraction lasting about a minute long. Congratulations, it’s go-time!
Story from a Mama who has been there
Navajo midwife Ursula Knoki-Wilson talks about the sacred moments after a baby’s birth at her clinic:
“It’s a time of listening, of mutual respect, of dignity, and harmony. The mother and father shake the baby’s hand at birth, honoring this little one as a separate individual. And then they formally name the baby: ‘Hello, my baby, (Navajo name). You come into my hands riding on a beautiful white (or other color) horse.’”
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