Week 41 of Pregnancy: All You Need to Know

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Update Date 08/09/2020 . 3 mins read
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Baby Development

How is my baby growing?

At this point, it’s month nine of your pregnancy. Because your due date has already passed, your baby has finished their rapid growth period. Week 41 of pregnancy baby development is complete. At 41 weeks, your baby can weigh around 3 to 4 kg and is the size of a small pumpkin or watermelon. 

As a result of hormones in women’s bodies, the genitals of your baby may appear swollen after birth but they will return to their normal size soon after.

Body and Life Changes

How is my body changing?

You have reached week 41 of pregnancy baby development, deep into the third trimester. During this time, you may continue to experience symptoms from earlier in your pregnancy, such as food cravings, mood changes, and leaking breasts.

At week 41 of pregnancy baby development, the continuing signs of pregnancy include:

  • Braxton Hicks contractions or false labor
  • Pain on the side your belly due to your expanding womb
  • Pelvic discomfort
  • Stretch marks
  • Swollen gums
  • Leg cramps
  • Swollen hands and feet
  • Bloating and constipation
  • Indigestion
  • Headaches
  • Backaches
  • Dizziness
  • Urine infection
  • Vaginal infection
  • Piles or hemorrhoids
  • Chloasma, or darkened skin patches
  • Greasier skin than normal
  • Thicker, shinier hair

What should I be concerned about? 

Usually, going beyond 40 weeks is nothing to worry about because oftentimes, the due date is an estimate. So it does not always mean that you are overdue if you are at week 41 of pregnancy baby development.

You are more likely to experience post-term pregnancy if: 

  • This is your first time getting pregnant
  • The baby is a boy
  • You are obese
  • You have a history of overdue pregnancies

However, post-term pregnancy may indicate problems with the placenta, or the baby.

Going 10 or 12 days beyond the due date can increase the chance of stillbirth as the placenta begins to function less. Placental aging may result in the following:

  • The baby suffering some weight loss due to less amniotic fluid
  • Poor oxygen supply for the baby
  • The baby breathing in meconium
  • Low blood sugar because the baby has used up their glucose stores

Approaching 42 weeks of pregnancy and beyond, there is a risk of the following:

  • The baby being larger than average, necessitating a C-section 
  • Low amniotic fluid, which may affect the baby’s heart rate
  • More severe vaginal tears during birth
  • Postpartum infection and bleeding

The baby may also have post-maturity syndrome, when they are born with:

  • Dry, loose, peeling skin, 
  • Overgrown nails 
  • Large amount of hair on head
  • Less fat on the body
  • Green, brown, or yellow skin coloring

Your Doctor Visits

What should I tell my doctor?

At week 41 of pregnancy baby development, your doctor may check the baby’s size, heart rate, position, and movements. 

You and your doctor may also decide on labor induction. Labor induction has been reported to be associated with a 67% lower risk of infant death. In hospitals with labor induction policies, babies are 12% less likely to end up in neonatal intensive care.

To ripen or dilate the cervix for induced labor, you may be prescribed medication. Your cervix may also be manually dilated through a device that is similar to a tube with a balloon at the end, that rests inside the cervix. You may also be given hormonal medication to cause your uterus to contract, pushing you to go into labor. Your doctor may also break open the amniotic sac using a thin plastic hook.

What tests should I know about?

A membrane sweep through an internal vaginal examination may be something that can be done during week 41 of pregnancy baby development.

This is done when the doctor sweeps their finger inside you in order to separate the cervix from the membranes surrounding your baby. This stimulates the hormones that induce labor. While it works immediately for some women, others require a few more sweeps prior to actually giving birth.

You may also be given:

  • Fetal heart rate monitoring (nonstress test)
  • Amniotic fluid volume assessment
  • Biophysical profile (a combination of nonstress test and fetal ultrasound)

Health and Safety

What should I know about being healthy and safe while pregnant?

Week 41 of pregnancy baby development is coming to an end. Observe your pregnancy and keep in constant contact with your medical provider. Your doctor may either suggest waiting for the baby to come naturally, or induce labor. Either way, the wait will soon be over, and it won’t be long until your meet your tiny passenger face to face.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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