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41 Weeks Pregnant: Protecting Spontaneous Birth

“My baby and body are preparing for birth.”

So many well-nourished, healthy, first-time people give birth in this gestational week, not last week. Take a deep breath and try to let go of any stress about your “guess date”. Think of this week as bonus time!

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Michel Odent, a French obstetrician and childbirth specialist, writes beautifully about this tender time, “According to traditional wisdom in rural France, a baby in the womb should be compared to fruit on the tree. Not all the fruit on the same tree is ripe at the same time…It is the same with a baby. In other words, we must accept that some babies need a much longer time than others before they are ready to be born.”

It’s important to know, however, that many pregnant parents receive a schedule of interventions during this week’s prenatal appointment, including potential induction scheduling. It’s necessary to ask, Do I have an actual medical reason (currently) for labor induction (or going straight to a cesarean)?

What you need to know:
  • Keeping a kick chart is a useful tracking tool for baby’s general well-being. When baby is active, expect 10 movements in an hour or less. Baby’s active times should remain approximately the same times each day.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask your provider for an immediate check-up if baby’s movements seem to slow down from their usual habits. Aren’t sure? Don’t wait long: eat a meal or piece of fruit, sit down, and put your hand on your belly. Talk to your baby, ask to be reassured with a kick. If baby remains quiet, call your provider.
  • Healthy placentas don’t have an expiration date! A good diet with good assimilation of nutrition shown by good fetal growth is reassuring. If baby has grown fine throughout pregnancy and you’re not diabetic, hypertensive, or sick in some way, we are expecting health!
  • Sometimes it’s good to let labor start on its own. If you’re healthy, baby is engaged in the pelvis, or you’ve had easy births before and this baby seems to be following the same pattern, then why get too busy with trying to start labor?
  • If baby seems posterior, add balance before trying to get contractions started. Balancing your body may actually help baby tuck their chin and snuggle into the cervix which can help labor begin on its own. Give yourself a day of balancing and then see if there is a natural way to start labor the next morning.

You can reassess any day this week to see if this attitude still feels right to you. If you need the scoop on inductions now, learn more at Childbirth Connection.

Tip: if you’re given artificial oxytocin (Pitocin, Syntocin), use long strokes in massage, low lights, soothing music, and lullabies to raise your natural oxytocin.

See our page discussing self-induction and alternative induction methods.

Spinning Babies Activities of the Week

Your Baby This Week

An average baby may weigh about 7 to 9 pounds at 41 weeks gestation, and measures about 20 inches long.

You This Week

It’s normal to feel emotional, and perhaps anxious this week. This is a time to go inward. Consider turning off your phone for extended periods. Take time to nourish yourself. Write a letter to your baby. Go for walks, take in beautiful surroundings, and speak only with the most positive, supportive people in your life.

Weekly Affirmation

Affirmations are short, powerful statements that can affect your conscious thoughts. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and slowly, and repeat the following to yourself each day throughout the next week. Fill yourself with breath and feel the joy:

 

“My baby and body are preparing for birth.”
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