The last weeks of a pregnancy can leave you feeling like you are ready to just have it all over with. Swollen feet, an aching back, and the struggle to get comfortable make each day feel like an eternity. While the urge to get on with the process and finally have your baby here are on your mind, don’t push the envelope—there are still many important days ahead.

Babies are considered full term after 40 weeks gestation–which contrary to popular belief, makes your pregnancy 10 months from start to finish. Babies born close to 40 weeks are not necessarily dubbed pre-term, but those final weeks in the womb are essential to your baby’s transition after birth. In fact, babies born even three weeks before their due date may have significant problems holding their temperature, regulating blood sugar levels, feeding and/or breathing properly. These difficulties could even earn your precious bundle a trip to the neonatal intensive care unit if symptoms are significant enough.

So if 40 is the magic number, how long can your baby stay with you? Most doctors will allow women who (aside from complications like gestational diabetes, blood pressure problems, or placental insufficiencies) decline an induction to carry their babies to 42 weeks. After 42 weeks, the conditions for the baby inside the womb may start to deteriorate and baby will need to be delivered via whatever method your doctor deems safest for the two of you.

Odds are, that you will go into labor naturally somewhere between 39 and 41 weeks. So while you are waiting on mother nature to take her course, do your best to be patient with how your body is changing–remember that it will all be over soon and you will be seeing your baby for the first time.

Having a physician that you can trust to care for you during these precious days is a backbone to your perception of your pregnancy and labor experience. Dr. Hessel takes great pride in knowing each patient individually–never a number, she gives each mother, each family her time. Whether you are considering starting a family, are in your first weeks of pregnancy, or looking for a physician to guide you through your final weeks, make an appointment today for the care you have been looking for.

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