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What Happens When You’re 40 Weeks Pregnant

What Happens When You’re 40 Weeks Pregnant

You have officially reached the end of the road. Finally! You are 40 weeks pregnant and ready to go any day now.

Continue reading to find out how big the baby is, what developments you both are going through, and some additional information that would be good for you to know this week!

At 40 weeks pregnant your baby is the size of a pumpkin!

All babies vary in size, but the average is about 7 1/2 pounds and around 20 inches long. That’s the size of a small pumpkin! Although your child has been doing a lot of growing and developing, their skull is not completely fused yet to allow for some give during his journey down the birth canal. This could lead to their head being somewhat cone shaped (but don’t worry, it’s only temporary!)

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pumpkin

    What your appointments are looking like

    You still have a few weeks left before you’re officially “post-term”, as due dates aren’t always 100% accurate. At this point you are seeing your doctor each week. They will be keeping an eye on you and your little one to assure you are both healthy, and that everything is going according to plan. You may need to get a bio-physical profile done to monitor your baby’s breathing movements, muscle tone, and level of amniotic fluid in your uterus. They will also probably be doing some fetal heart rate monitoring (or non-stress test).

    Your doctor will also do vaginal exams to see what position your cervix is in, if it is ripening, softening, effacing, and if you are dilating. If anything seems to be abnormal, such as having too little or too much amniotic fluid, you may be induced. If there are any serious concerns you could also have an immediate C-section. If you have not gone into labor on your own by 41-42 weeks they will more than likely prepare to induce.

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    Inducing labor – what to expect

    There are 3 main points that you need to understand if induction is a possibility for you.

    What does inducing labor actually mean?

    Basically, if you have not started going in to labor on your own, there are certain techniques and medications that your doctor can administer to you to help bring on (or “induce”) your contractions. An induction is only done when the risk of staying pregnant is higher than the risk of inducing. Once you have gotten a week or two beyond your due date you are at a higher risk of more serious complications. The placenta can also become less effective at delivering the nutrients your baby needs.

    How is labor induced?

    There are multiple factors that determine how your practitioner decides to induce your labor. Every individual situation is different. It is usually based on the condition of your cervix and the urgency of your induction.

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    If you have not yet started dilating, more than likely you will be admitted to the hospital and your doctor will begin your induction process by vaginally inserting medicine that contains prostaglandins. This medicine is meant to start ripening your cervix and stimulate contractions so that your labor can begin.

    If this medicine does not start your labor, your practitioner will then try a medicine called Pitocin (or Oxytocin) that is administered through an IV. This particular medicine is used to start labor by increasing the contractions you were already having. If your cervix was already ripe before the induction began, they may skip the prostaglandins and just start with the Pitocin.

    Can I do anything to induce labor on my own?

    If you are getting frustrated and want to try to kick-start labor on your own, there are a few methods you can try. However, there are not any methods that are proven to be both safe and effective, so make sure to consult your practitioner before you try anything.

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    • Herbal remedies: There are a few different herbs that are considered to be effective for inducing labor. The safety and effectiveness of these herbs are unknown. There have been instances of certain herbs that cause contractions that are too strong and last too long. There are also some that may not be safe for you or your baby. Due to these instances, some herbs are risky, so be careful if you’re thinking of taking this route.
    • Sexual intercourse: Although at 40 weeks pregnant you may not be feeling all that up to it, semen contains prostaglandins and having an orgasm can stimulate contractions. This, like all of the at-home induction methods, are not 100% effective, but this one is probably the most fun!
    • Nipple stimulation: Stimulating your nipples releases Oxytocin. While it may start your labor, more studies need to be conducted to determine if this is a safe method. There is the possibility of over-stimulating your uterus, and if that were to happen you and your baby would need to be monitored – so this is not the greatest method to try at home.
    • Castor oil is a strong laxative, and bowel movements can help to stimulate contractions. There are quite a few women who stand behind this method, although there is no scientific proof that this helps to induce your labor.

    Rest!

    This is the only activity that you absolutely NEED to be engaging in this week. Watch a movie, read, color (adult coloring book, anyone?), or just take some naps! If you are not taking the time to let your body rest, going into labor will prove to be an exhausting task (even more than it already is).

    Featured photo credit: Phallnn Ooi via flickr.com

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    Published on January 30, 2019

    How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

    How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

    In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

    The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

    According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers do to child care.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

    This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

    Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

    This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.

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    The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

    Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving untapped business and human potential on the table.

    What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

    Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

    1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

    Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

    Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.

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    As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

    2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

    I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

    However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

    Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

    When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

    3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

    This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.

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    I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

    Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

    4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

    No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

    Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

    5. Don’t keep score or track time.

    At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

    In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.

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    The Bottom Line

    To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

    The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities is tough. At times, really tough.

    But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well, because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

    On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” needs to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone, because women can and should be both—and so should men.

    Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

    Reference

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