At week 41 of pregnancy, the anticipation might feel like it’s killing you, but rest assured that plenty of mother go past their due date and everything turns out just fine. You might actually be thankful to have had this extra time before dirty diapers and newborn feedings rule your world. Because of your baby’s extra time in the womb, he or she’ll likely be heavier and more alert at birth than a baby born earlier would be. Common 41 weeks pregnant symptoms are a continuation of your other third trimester symptoms. Most notably:
- Pelvic discomfort Baby may be descending lower and lower, putting pressure on your bladder and cervix and giving you more aches and pains down below.
- Hemorrhoids That pelvic pressure causes swollen varicose veins in your rectum, causing hemorrhoids. They aren’t pretty, and they may get worse when you push baby out. But eventually the swelling will die down.
- Difficulty sleeping It’s the hormones—and your nerves!—that are keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep. You’re not going to be sleeping much after baby arrives, so this is good practice. But it’s also a good idea to rest up as much as possible for the birth.
- Frequent urination Baby’s pretty much sitting right on your bladder at this point. Cue another trip to the bathroom!
- Contractions Abdominal tightening is happening more and more noticeably and frequently as baby ramps up for delivery.
Sign of Labor Pain
By the time you hit 41 weeks pregnant, signs of labor might as well be written inside your eyelids. You probably know this stuff by heart but just in case, here goes. Call the doctor if you have:
- A constant leak which may indicate your water has broken.
- Frequent or painful contractions that don’t stop.
You will also want to call the doctor if you have any unusual pregnancy symptoms, such as bleeding or abdominal pain.
If you’re 41 weeks with no signs of labor, try to be patient. Just because you’re 41 weeks and not dilated doesn’t mean you can’t go into labor tomorrow. It’s really unpredictable like that!
Pregnancy after 40 weeks isn’t exactly fun. You’re mentally ready for baby, and everyone may knocking you about it. Go ahead and try every natural labor induction method in the text books, as long as it’s safe (so check with your OB first). Eat spicy food (if it doesn’t give you heartburn), walk like crazy, have sex , and maybe try acupuncture.
Your OB may start to discuss the option of having a medical induction at 41 weeks, since babies that go too far past their due date may be at higher risk for problems. Ask the doc lots of questions about what’s involved and what your specific 41 weeks pregnant risks are. Getting induced does have some positives (like not having to waddle-run into the hospital while in labor!). But there’s something to be said for not rushing baby. Some women say contractions are stronger and more painful during an induction. Others say it’s more comfortable to wait for labor to start at home than it is in a delivery room.
If you choose to have labor induced at 41 weeks, there are several ways it can be done:
- Stripping membranes This is actually a natural induction method, but your doctor will need to perform it. Luckily, it can be done in the doctor’s office and doesn’t require a trip to the hospital. If you’re willing to try this potentially painful procedure, your doctor will sweep her fingers around the amniotic sac, separating the membranes there and releasing hormones that could stimulate labor. This doesn’t always work, but if it does, you could be in labor within hours.
- Artificial rupture of membranes (AROM) Your doctor can break your water for you using a thin plastic hook. This may be done if you’ve been having contractions but labor hasn’t progressed.
- Medications Two types of medication can be used for inducing labor at 41 weeks. A prostaglandin suppository may be inserted like a tampon overnight to start cervical dilation. Oxytocin may be given through an IV to jumpstart contractions.
Development of Baby
At 41 weeks, baby is as big as a watermelon. The average 41-week fetus measures 20.4 inches (52 cm) long and weighs 7.9 pounds (3.6 kilograms).
By this time fetus is growing even longer hair and nails. No wonder some newborns come out with a full head of hair and ready for a mani-pedi.
Your doctor may also order a non-stress test and a 41 weeks pregnant ultrasound, to be sure baby’s still doing okay in there. This will probably help both of you make a decision whether or not to induce.