Picture and Explanation of How Your Baby is Growing and Developing at 40 Weeks Pregnant (at term)
The bladder is compressed between the baby's head and the pubic bones, with no room for expansion except up into the abdominal cavity. The pelvic colon is pushed up out of the pelvis and compressed against the sacrum. Pressure on the blood vessels at the brim of the pelvis interferes with the return circulation from the swollen veins in the vulva, anal region, and lower extremities.
Common discomforts you may experience during the last weeks of pregnancy are frequent urination, increased constipation, edema (water retention), and aching of the legs and vulva, as well as varicose veins in the vulva, rectum, and legs. These can be explained by several factors, including the position of the uterus, the pressure of the baby's head, the loss of muscle tone, the increased vascularity of the tissues, and the added volume of blood distending the vessels in the pelvic cavity, perineal region, and lower extremities.
Most recent page update: 6/4/2013
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Founded in 1918, Childbirth Connection has joined forces with and become a core program of the National Partnership for Women & Families. Together, these two women's health powerhouses are transforming maternity care in the United States.
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