You’re 40 weeks pregnant!
This is the week you’ve been waiting for.
The date that’s been circled on your calendar is finally here.
Of course, this doesn’t mean your baby is ready to be born.
40 weeks pregnant – what to expect
About half of all babies are born after the day the due date calculator came up with.
Despite your best efforts, your mind probably has zeroed in on this week’s date.
So if it passes without the arrival of your baby, you may start to feel disappointed and frustrated.
It doesn’t help that every member of your family and all your friends are as eager to meet baby as you!
It’s very likely you will be inundated with messages and phone calls this week, asking if you’ve had the baby yet.
It definitely adds to the ‘watched pot never boils’ feeling you are currently experiencing.
You just want labour to start and your baby to arrive now.
Having to explain to great-aunt Sarah that you are ‘still’ pregnant for the third time this week isn’t improving your mood.
Partners may be feeling the pressure too, as they see the pregnant woman in their life go from excitement to intense irritability and anxiety.
It’s hard to know what to say and how to act, as anything and everything can set off an impatient pregnant woman!
40 weeks pregnant – no sign of labour?
So you’ve probably forgotten this but only 3-5% of babies are actually born on their due dates.
Most are born in the 2 weeks before and after that estimated due date.
And if you’re 40 weeks with no signs of labour, it’s not much comfort to know this is normal.
Your due date is a guess, or an estimate, of when you’re likely to go into labour.
But remember, babies are all born when they’re ready for life outside the womb.
If you need a reminder of when that is, be sure to read What Causes Labour To Start?.
There’s no need to worry about getting to 40 weeks and having no signs of labour.
You’re not overdue yet, despite common belief that your due date is when your baby should be born.
When Am I Overdue? What Pregnant Women Need To Know About Being Overdue covers this topic with plenty of information for what to do when waiting for labour to start.
We’re pretty sure you know exactly what the early signs of labour are but here’s a refresher…just in case!
40 weeks pregnant – induction of labour
Depending on the birth place and support you have chosen, you may be given an induction date ‘just in case’.
Many hospitals have a policy of induction after 41 weeks.
So it’s a good idea to talk to your care provider about this and ask about the risks and benefits of labour induction.
Ultimately your decision to induce labour should be based on what is best for you and your baby, not convenience.
BellyBelly’s article Induction of Labour – What Are The Risks Of Being Induced? covers everything you need to know about induction risks.
It’s very likely that every person you speak to this week has a tip for getting labour started, from hot curry to hot sex.
Read more about natural induction tips here.
If you want to promote labour starting naturally, the following pointers can help:
- Eat nutritious food and keep the fluids up. Your uterus is a muscle and needs adequate energy to function efficiently. Hunger and thirst are stress states and your body produces adrenaline in response – suppressing oxytocin production that helps the uterus contract.
- Watch your posture. Try to keep your body in a good upright position and no slouching on the couch. Mild exercise can help keep you in good physical condition and promote baby to settle into a head down position.
- Natural therapies such as acupuncture, Bowen Therapy and reflexology can help you release any tension and fears so you’re in a positive mind set for labour to begin.
You might also like to read the following BellyBelly articles:
40 weeks pregnant belly
Well it’s official, at 40 weeks pregnant your belly is the size of a pumpkin!
You might notice your belly goes very hard and tight quite often. This can feel really intense but not painful, more uncomfortable. These are Braxton Hicks contractions and they are likely to be more frequent now.
You can tell when these are no longer ‘practice’ contractions and the real deal. You might notice they are getting longer, stronger and closer together. They don’t go away when you move or sit down to rest.
Early labour may have started. For ways to cope with early labour contractions, check out 8 Tips For A Low Stress Early Labour At Home.
40 weeks pregnant – your baby
At 40 weeks pregnancy your baby is snug and content inside but won’t be there for much longer.
You should keep an eye on baby’s movements.
If they slow down significantly or change you should contact your caregiver immediately.
It’s a myth that full term babies’ movements slow down before labour begins.
She will keep putting on fat in preparation for life outside.
Baby’s weight is likely somewhere between 3 and 4 kg now, and she is anywhere from 47-53 cm long, about the size of a pumpkin.