Pregnancy by week

Your pregnancy: 41 weeks

Your baby’s eyebrows, eyelashes and fingernails are all in place and his organs are developed to sustain him in the “real world” — which he’ll soon be joining. Very soon, you’re hoping!

By Today's Parent

Your pregnancy: 41 weeks

Photo: Mandy Milks, Erik Putz, Anthony Swaneveld. Felt: thefeltstore.com

What's going on in there: Fetal development at 41 weeks

At one week overdue, you have probably literally said, “What is going on in there?” By 41 weeks pregnant, your baby is typically about 3.6 kilograms (7.9 pounds) and 52 centimetres (20.3 inches) long. He is the size of a pumpkin or watermelon (just a slightly bigger one than last week). His skin may be starting to peel a bit after such a long soak in amniotic fluid. Research suggests that his endocrine system, which is in charge of producing hormones, is getting ready to send out hormones that will trigger labour, although the exact process isn’t actually known. (Other research points to two proteins in the developing lungs, which enter the amniotic fluid and send a signal to the uterus to start contractions.)

41 weeks pregnant symptoms

Now officially past your due date, you are probably feeling pretty “over it” and so ready to meet your little one. Do you feel like a kid on Christmas Eve, waiting to meet the newest member of your family? It’s pretty wild. Or maybe you’re experiencing a strange mix of frustration, irritability and excitement? Add in backaches, pressure on your bladder and cervix as the baby descends further into your pelvis and general feelings of discomfort, which are all part of being extremely pregnant. (It’s also possible that you feel like a tranquil birthing-goddess Earth mama. Enjoy it!) You may be noticing more Braxton Hicks contractions, where your belly is tightening, as your body prepares for the real deal.

It’s not just nerves, hormones and the need to pee that are keeping you up at night; sudden leg, foot and calf cramps are common in late pregnancy, especially at night. (They’re caused by dehydration and the weight of the baby reducing your blood flow.) To help quell the pain, point your toes up, toward your knee, to help stretch the muscle. With your foot in this flexed position, carefully and slowly make circles with your lower leg. Ask your partner to massage the cramped muscle to get more blood flowing to it.

What's on your mind this week


Induction Only about 10 percent of women don’t give birth by the end of this (41st) week, or one week after their due dates. Your doctor or midwife will continue to monitor you and your baby carefully through an office visit, an ultrasound and possibly another non-stress test to make sure that the baby has a good heartbeat, is moving well and has enough amniotic fluid. A small percentage of overdue babies will have health problems, possibly because the placenta is getting older and fewer nutrients, blood and oxygen are reaching the baby. This is why your midwife or doctor will want to talk to you about inducing labour if you don’t go into labour spontaneously. 

An average of one in five Canadian women have induced labours, although some are due to health conditions like pre-eclampsia, not an overdue baby. Induction carries a higher chance of intervention, such as forceps or vacuum delivery, so if you are with a midwife, your care may be transferred to a doctor. (Your midwife may still be able to assist with labour and delivery, depending on your hospital’s policy.)

If your cervix hasn’t started to soften, your doctor may apply a prostaglandin gel directly to help dilate it. Or your doctor may insert a Foley catheter into your vagina and inflate the catheter to stretch your cervix, followed by an IV drip of Pitocin, which mimics the hormone oxytocin, to start contractions. In natural labour, the contractions increase slowly and less regularly, but induced labour can be more painful (sorry) because the contractions are faster and more regular.

Just for kicks

A sense of humour is a powerful tool. While you’re gearing up for labour (which really is going to happen anytime now, we promise), check out this video about what not to say to a woman in labour. Is there anyone you should send it to in advance?

Baby names

This piece sparked some backlash when the Clooney twins, Alexander and Ella, were born. Did you like George and Amal’s classic, simple name choices? Why we were so underwhelmed by the Clooney twins’ names.

Pregnancy to-do list: 41 weeks

If you already tried all the old wives’ tales (and your friends’ not-so-helpful suggestions) for inducing labour last week, just do what you can to stay chill, comfortable and distracted: a swim, a walk, lunch with friends, music or a fun non-baby book. (You might not have the energy—or the peace and quiet—to read a novel for a long while after the baby is born.) Or maybe you'd like to pick one of these cute necklaces, rings or bracelets to celebrate your new baby. Shopping is always a good way to kill time. 

12 beautiful jewellery pieces for moms

Alex and Ani bangles

If you want to honour your newborn with something simple, Alex and Ani have many gorgeous options to choose from. You could go with initial bangles, stamped with script letters and available in a gold or silver finish. Want a stack of bangles? Pair your initial bracelet with a birth-month bracelet that features a Swarovski crystal or your child’s zodiac sign. If you want something that focuses more on your baby, check out the stork (in pink and blue) and baby-block charm bangles.

Initial, zodiac, baby-block and birth-month bangles, $28 to $32 each, alexandani.com

Four gold and silver Alex & Ani bangles with an initial, birthstone, zodiac sign and baby blockPhotos courtesy of Alex and Ani

Hand-stamped initial and birthstone necklace

Sometimes simplicity is the best way to go! Honour your little bundle of joy with this adorable necklace by Etsy’s Hammered Heart Design (hammeredheartdesign). Personalize it with your baby’s first initial and birthstone.

$25, etsy.com/ca

A necklace with the initial J and a small diamond

Expectancy rings

You have rings for your engagement and your wedding day, so why not have a ring to mark one of the most pivotal moments of your life? Announce your approaching parenthood with these adorable expectancy rings, designed by Toronto-based fashion designer Suzy Yahya. Moms and dads alike can celebrate and commemorate their baby on the way with an assortment of customizable rings. Whether you choose a pink sapphire for a girl, a blue gemstone for a boy or a clear sapphire to keep it neutral, this brand will have you covered with many beautiful options. You also have the option to engrave your child’s name and birthdate if desired.

Starting at $395, expectancyrings.com

Silver, gold and rose gold rings with pink, blue and clear stonesPhotos courtesy of Expectancy Rings

Baby handprint and footprint earrings

These lovely studs are the perfect everyday accessory with a personalized touch to them. The seller will send a mess-free inkless print pack with easy-to-follow instructions so that you can send along your baby’s handprint or footprint. You scan or take a picture of the prints afterwards and send them back to her to impress on the oval, silver-fronted earrings. Jewellery by Nicola (JewellerybyNicl) even creates custom cufflinks for Dad.

$113, etsy.com/ca

Baby handprint and footprint silver earringsPhotos courtesy of JewellerybyNicl via Etsy.com

Charms

Add any of these adorable, baby-themed charms to your Pandora charm bracelet. Our favourite is the heart-shaped sterling silver baby handprint with a pink or blue cubic zirconia. Bonus: When you flip it over, it says “It’s a girl” or “It’s a boy” engraved on the back. If you’re looking for something more generic, the baby carriage, pram and pacifier are cute options.

Baby carriage charm, $35, baby girl/baby boy and baby pram charm, $50 each, and pacifier charm, $55, pandora.net

Baby-themed Pandora charmsPhotos courtesy of Pandora

Heartbeat sonogram ring

Record your baby’s heartbeat in the womb or once he or she is born and turn it into a piece of jewellery that you can keep forever. You can engrave a message or sound that is up to five seconds long, with the option to have it on one or both sides of the sterling silver ring. You’ll literally have your baby’s heartbeat wrapped around your finger! This seller offers a heartbeat bracelet, among other cool options.

Starting at $53, etsy.com/ca

Soundwave imprinted ring and bracelet of baby's heartbeatPhoto courtesy of MyKosmima via Etsy.com

Engravable signature necklace

This beautiful bar necklace by Stella & Dot is simple and modern in design. Engrave your new baby’s name, initials, birthdate or birthplace coordinates—or whatever sentiment you hold near and dear to your heart—on the bar, which is available in a sterling silver or gold-plated brass finish. As the website says, use this necklace to “tell your story” or, in this case, your baby’s. 

$74, stelladot.com

Your pregnancy: 41 weeks

Michael Hill Mother & Child ring

If you’re looking for a symbolic accessory, check out this Mother & Child ring. This beautifully moulded heart looks as though there are diamonds surrounding mom and baby, but there aren’t, which makes this an afforable yet stunning piece of jewellery. Whether you’re buying this for yourself or as a gift for someone else, it will definitely be a well-worn accessory and a personal favourite.

$79, michaelhill.ca

Silver ring with a mother and child surrounded by a heartPhoto courtesy of Michael Hill

Name jewellery

For a classic yet customized piece of jewellery with your child’s name, look no further than Etsy. We love these scripted name necklaces, handmade by CaitlynMinimalist, which come in a variety of fonts. You have the option to add your child’s birthstone, and the necklaces are available in multiple finishes—we love the rose gold one! Necklaces not your thing? This California-based seller also creates beautiful bracelets and rings that can be designed with a full name, a roman numeral or initials.

Name necklace or rings, etsy.com/ca

Name necklace with a gold birthstone and name ringsPhotos courtesy of CaitlynMinimalist via Etsy.com

Mother’s birthstone baby feet pendant

Whether you’re having a boy or a girl, this beautifully personalized pendant is the perfect keepsake for your little one. Peoples Jewellers will customize this sterling silver baby footprint necklace with your child’s name, birthdate and 2.5-millimetre birthstone. If you want something more original, you can choose whichever scripted message you’d like (up to eight characters in length per foot). 

$199, peoplesjewellers.com

Silver footprint necklace with engraved name and birthday with birthstonePhoto courtesy of Peoples Jewellers

Kate Spade Mom Knows Best elephant necklace

The Mom Knows Best collection from Kate Spade includes charming earrings, brooches and bracelets. Just like mom, the elephant symbolizes strength and power. We love the necklace option, which is handcrafted with shiny 12-carat gold-plated metal and glass stones for the eyes and is 17 inches long. It’s a sweet and understated way to honour your baby.

$58 USD, katespade.com

Gold necklace with a mother and baby elephantPhotos courtesy of Kate Spade

Dimples fingerprint rings

With their delightful little hands and chubby feet, we all want our babes to stay babies forever. Why not get an imprint of your newborn’s tiny fingers to keep as a memento from his or her birth? These customizable rings from Dimples range in size and colour. Whether you want stackable rings for more than one child or a standard four-millimetre ring, they’ve got you covered. You can also engrave the inside of the ring with your child’s name or birthdate or anything else that’s meaningful to you. Bonus: If you aren’t sure that you’ll like the design, Dimples lets you approve the proof before handcrafting the piece for you.

Starting at $259, dimplescharms.ca

Silver fingerprint imprinted ringPhotos courtesy of Dimples

Read more: 16 must-have apps for new moms 7 sleep mistakes that new parents make Next up: 42 weeks pregnant (!!!)

Your pregnancy: 41 weeks

This article was originally published on Jul 28, 2017
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