Week 41 of Your Pregnancy: Care Instructions

Fetal development at the 40th week

Overview

By now, you're probably tired of people asking you when the baby is going to be born. Your baby could come any day—even today!

Your doctor wants to make sure that you have a safe birth. So the doctor may recommend giving you medicines to start labor or scheduling a cesarean delivery.

Most babies born after their due dates are healthy. But you may have tests to make sure everything is okay.

This care sheet will help you prepare for giving birth after 41 weeks.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

At about 41 weeks

  • Your doctor will measure the amount of fluid surrounding the baby and test your baby's movement and heart rate.
  • If your baby seems strong and well, your doctor might give you medicine to start labor.
  • If there are other concerns, your doctor may tell you that a cesarean delivery would be best for you and your baby.

After 42 weeks

  • Your baby may be harder to deliver.
  • The placenta may no longer be able to meet your baby's needs.
  • The baby might have a bowel movement into the amniotic fluid, which could go into the baby's lungs.

Ease or reduce swelling in your feet, ankles, hands, and fingers

  • If your fingers are puffy, take off your rings.
  • Do not eat high-salt foods, such as potato chips.
  • Prop up your feet on a stool or couch as much as possible. Sleep with pillows under your feet.
  • Do not stand for long periods of time or wear tight shoes.
  • Wear support stockings.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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