Prenatal Visit Week 40

As you wait for your baby to arrive, you may be feeling anxious, bored, or any number of emotions. Staying busy will help keep your mind off waiting. This should be your final pregnancy well-visit before your baby is born. However, if your baby is late, you may have one more visit. Your doctor will check your progress and answer any questions one final time.

What You Can Expect:

At this final visit, your doctor will:

  • Describe again what you should expect at the hospital when you arrive for your vaginal birth or scheduled C-section.
  • Remind you to bring your overnight bag, infant car seat, and cord-blood collection kit (if applicable) to the hospital for your delivery.

As with other visits, your doctor will:

  • Check your weight and blood pressure
  • Measure the height of your uterus to gauge your baby's growth
  • Check your baby's heart rate
  • Ask if your baby's movements are occurring about as often as your last appointment
  • Ask you to leave a urine sample to check sugar and protein levels

Be Prepared to Discuss:

For the safety of you and your baby, your doctor won't want your pregnancy to progress too long. Your doctor may talk to you about inducing labor if you pass your due date. Be prepared to discuss:

  • Stripping the membranes. During a final well-visit, your doctor can gently sweep a gloved finger between the baby's amniotic sac and the wall of your uterus. This may cause your body to release hormones to begin labor naturally.
  • Induction at the hospital. Your doctor may ask you to check into the hospital to be induced with medications that mimic the hormones that trigger labor. Induction doesn't always work. Sometimes, doctors must deliver the baby by C-section.

Ask Your Doctor:

Tap the Action button above to select questions to ask your doctor.

  • Can I eat or drink during labor?
  • Does it hurt to have your membranes stripped?
  • Is labor induction more painful than natural labor?
  • What will my baby look like after delivery?
  • How soon can I start breastfeeding?
  • Can I check out of the hospital if I forget the car seat?
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Neha Pathak, MD on March 19, 2021

Sources

SOURCES:

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: "Your Pregnancy and Childbirth Month to Month, 5th ed.," "Labor Induction."

American Academy of Pediatrics and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: "Guidelines for Perinatal Care, 6th ed."

Vicki Mendiratta, MD, FACOG, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle.

Sharon Phelan, MD, FACOG, professor of obstetrics and gynecology, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque.

Sonja R. Kinney, MD, FACOG, associate professor; director, division of obstetrics and gynecology; medical director, Olson Center for Women's Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha.

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