Final stages of pregnancy are characterized by a lot of anticipation, physical discomfort and numerous activities at physiological level. As your pregnancy progresses into the ninth month, your body starts preparing itself for childbirth. The 40th week is actually when you can expect your water to break, a sure shot indication of an onset of labor. However, women who are already overdue in their pregnancy may have to undergo regular screenings to ensure that the baby is secure. At 40 weeks, some women may experience light to heavy bleeding along with other pregnancy symptoms.
What to Expect at 40th Week
As mentioned above, by the end of your final trimester, your body starts preparing for delivery. Your cervix begins to soften and thin out. This is called ripening of cervix. You may also start dilating around this time. Occurrence of Braxton-Hicks contractions is also common around this time. As your baby has grown into a mature size, its activities are also on the rise. The baby also assumes a comfortable position in your womb, so as to facilitate easy birth. The head of the baby drops low in the pelvis, near the neck of the cervix. This may trigger a 'bloody show'. Bloody show occurs when the mucus plug near the neck of cervix breaks open. This mucus plug is formed at the beginning of the pregnancy to prevent any infection from getting inside the cervix. As the mucus plug breaks open, it may cause some fluid to leak out. This includes, amniotic fluid, blood along with mucus. Bloody show is usually pink or brown in color.
You may also break your water by this time. While some women only leak in small amounts over a period of time, it may gush at once in other women. Breaking water is generally an indication that the baby is on its way. As amniotic fluid protects and nourishes the baby, its loss may hinder baby's chances of survival. Hence, if a woman cannot initiate labor on her own, it is often induced externally. Medical practitioners usually take this decision when the risks of keeping a baby inside the womb outweigh the risks of delivering a premature baby. As every baby grows at its own pace, there is no way of telling if the baby has attained full growth by the end of the 40th week. Technically, you are not overdue until you are well past your 42nd week. Hence, it is also very much possible to have absolutely no signs of labor at 40 weeks.
Bleeding During 40th Week
The bleeding during the final days of the pregnancy is mostly due to bloody show. As bloody show is closely followed by labor, you must report this condition to your OB-GYN as soon as possible. Another cause that may also contribute to bleeding during the 40th week is damage to cervix. This happens mostly during cervix examination by your OB-GYN. If you are past your due date, your OB-GYN may demand regular cervix examination to check if it is ripe or not. This may cause scraping of cervical tissue, which may cause light bleeding.
However, if your bleeding is heavy and does not show any signs of stopping, then it is imperative that you consult your OB-GYN right away. There could be something seriously wrong with you or your baby. Similarly, any abnormal pain, if present must also be reported to an OB-GYN.
More often than not, this condition will only bring your waiting period to an end and you will be able to finally meet your baby. Nonetheless, it is important to get yourself examined from the supervising doctor.