You’re 40 weeks pregnant!
This is the week you’ve been waiting for. The due date that’s circled on your calendar is finally here.
Of course, it doesn’t mean your baby at 40 weeks is ready to be born. We know only about 5% of babies are born on their due date.
However, you’ll be meeting your little one soon. After all, your baby can’t stay in there forever, no matter how comfy it is!
Read on to see what to expect at 40 weeks pregnant.
40 weeks pregnant in months
Despite your best efforts, your mind has probably zeroed in on this week’s date.
So if you go past it, without the arrival of your baby, you might start to feel disappointed and frustrated.
It doesn’t help that every member of your family and all your friends are just as eager to meet baby as you are.
You’ll probably 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’re currently experiencing.
You just want to be at the end of this pregnancy and have your baby, now!
Having to explain to great-aunt Sarah, for the third time this week, that you’re ‘still’ pregnant isn’t improving your mood.
At 40 weeks pregnant you have completed 9 full months of pregnancy!
What happens at 40 weeks of pregnancy?
Most women will pack their bags and have the car seat in the car ready to go at 36 weeks.
If you are packing today – or maybe if your partner is packing while you’re having contractions – here is a list you might find helpful:
- Sanitary pads or postnatal undies
- Breast pads and cool packs
- Comfortable clothing – to labor in and to wear after the birth
- Phone charger and cell phone
- Camera and video camera
- Baby outfits, hat and booties, muslins or snuggle blankets
- Favourite pillow
Check out Hospital Bag Checklist for Labor for more ideas.
A set of ‘pregnancy tools’ can be a lifesaver when labor kicks in.
Here are some items to have in your tool kit:
- Gym ball
- Spray bottle for cooling
- Birth pool
- Heat packs
- Tens machine
- Drink bottle
Make sure any important phone numbers (like your doula or the maternity ward) are easy to find.
40 weeks pregnant feel sick and weak
While you’re waiting for your baby to arrive, it’s normal to be super vigilant about what’s happening with your body.
Pregnancy symptoms at this stage are usually limited to feeling tired and sore, and needing to wee constantly.
It’s also important to listen to that little radar called intuition telling you if something is wrong or your pregnancy symptoms change dramatically.
There are several reasons why you might feel sick and weak during pregnancy.
Maybe you haven’t been eating or sleeping well and this is affecting you. Try to eat small meals more frequently and rest as much as you can.
It’s wise to speak to your doctor if you feel sick and weak at this stage.
Preeclampsia or elevated blood pressure is a possible cause for feeling unwell and it’s better to get checked out as quickly as possible.
How can you tell if labor is close?
There are a few signs the baby might be on its way.
Some of them are:
- Baby’s head is down and well engaged
- A mucus-like show, or you lose your mucus plug
- Cramping in your back or pelvis
- Amniotic sac ruptures, and waters break.
Check out Signs Of Labor – 7 Signs You Might Be In Labor for more information.
40 weeks pregnant pelvic pain and pressure
Once you have gone past your due date and reached 40 weeks, it’s normal to have some hip and pelvic discomfort.
You have a heavy baby, uterus and fluid putting pressure on your pelvic area. If the baby is well engaged, that pressure can be intense.
The symphysis pubis at the front of your pelvis can sometimes separate from the pressure of pregnancy. This is called symphysis pubic dysfunction (SPD) and is a common pain complaint in pregnancies.
Here are some things that might help:
- Chiropractic care
- Pregnancy support garment
- Resting the pelvis and hips – use a pregnancy pillow
What are the signs of labor at 40 weeks?
Even though you are super excited to go into labor, remember to get as much sleep as you can, drink plenty, and eat well in the early stages.
You can have a warm bath or shower if you feel a little uncomfortable.
This is the best way to ensure your body has all the energy you’ll need later.
Check out BellyBelly’s Early Labour – 8 Tips For A Low Stress Early Labor At home.
Some signs you might be going into labor are:
- Regular contractions
- Waters breaking and leaking amniotic fluid
- Loss of mucus plug
- Back pain
- Bowels opening.
If you’re unsure about what you’re experiencing, or if you have any concerns, chat to your doctor or midwife and ask for advice or guidance.
40 weeks pregnant white discharge
As you know, vaginal discharge is a big part of pregnancy.
At 40 weeks pregnant, you might notice some changes to your discharge:
- Egg white discharge. This might look a little like snot or egg white. It can be an increase in normal pregnancy discharge, or it can be the beginning of your mucus plug
- Blood streaked mucus. As the cervix starts to thin, blood vessel break and cause the mucus plug to be pink or red tinged
- Brown discharge. Brown indicates old blood. This can happen after sexual intercourse and usually settles. If it doesn’t, make sure you see your healthcare provider or doctor.
- Yellow-green discharge. This could be an infection, or might be due to meconium present in the amniotic fluid if the sac has ruptured. Contact your doctor, who will test for amniotic fluid and check your baby’s heart rate for signs of distress.
Discharge During Pregnancy – What’s Normal and What’s Not has more information.
40 weeks pregnant sharp pain in cervix
The pain in the cervix is often called ‘lightning crotch’. It refers to the pain that occurs when the baby is well engaged in the pelvis and the head is on your cervix.
Any movement from your baby can cause these sharp, sporadic pains.
If it’s accompanied by back pain and cramping, then contractions could be thinning and dilating your cervix and labor is on the way.
Come on baby – head down that birth canal!
What to do if my waters break at week 40?
If you are low risk and all is well with you and your baby, you don’t necessarily have to rush to the hospital if your water breaks at 40 weeks.
In fact, you’ll reduce the amount of intervention that occurs in the hospital if you manage early labor at home.
What to do:
- Put on a sanitary pad and monitor the amount and color of the fluid
- Contact your care providers and let them know what’s happening
- Have your labor and birth tool kit ready to go
- Make sure baby’s car seat is in the car
- Have mother and baby bags packed
- Rest up – this is vital because you never know how long labor will last
- Stay hydrated.
If the fluid contains meconium (yellow-green color) go directly to the hospital to be monitored.
You don’t need to monitor contractions constantly; every hour or so is enough.
If you focus too much on your contractions, you might feel disappointed things aren’t moving ‘fast enough’. The labor process can take time to become established.
Check out Waters Breaking – What To Do When Your Waters Break for more information.
40 weeks pregnant no signs of labor
In case you’ve forgotten this, 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. In fact, research has shown pregnancy length can vary by up to 5 weeks.
If you’re 40 weeks with no signs of labor, it’s not much comfort to know this is normal.
Your due date is a guess or an estimate of the date you’re likely to have your baby.
But remember, babies, are born only when they are ready for life outside the womb.
If you need a reminder of when that is, be sure to read What Causes Labor To Start?.
There’s no need to worry about getting to 40 weeks and still being pregnant.
There are plenty of good reasons to wait until your baby decides it’s time to be born. We came up with 40
You’re not post-term yet. You could continue on until at least 42 weeks and, if you do, that’s because it’s ‘normal’ for you and your baby.
When Am I Overdue? What Pregnant Women Need To Know About Being Overdue covers this topic with plenty of information for what to do while you’re waiting for labor to start.
Is it normal to be pregnant at 40 weeks?
Depending on the birthplace and support you have chosen, you might be given an induction date ‘just in case’. Many hospitals have a policy of induction after 41 weeks.
It’s a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider about this early on, as you might be pregnant for longer which is normal for you and your baby!
Ultimately, the decision whether or not to induce labor should be yours – based on what’s best for you and your baby, not on convenience.
BellyBelly’s article Induction of Labor – What Are The Risks Of Being Induced? covers everything you need to know about induction risks.
You might need to have an induction of labor for medical reasons.
Here are some of the methods that might be advised:
- Breaking your waters
- Prostin or cervidil – hormone gel or tape
- IV continuous oxytocin infusion – a synthetic version of what your body would produce for labor
- Cook’s or balloon catheter – goes into the cervix to stretch it and encourage it to open. This is currently a preferred option, as there are minimal side effects.
Read All Inductions Are Not The Same – 5 Induction Methods, which discusses these methods, with their pros and cons, in more detail.
Discuss your options with your healthcare provider and make sure you are fully informed before giving your consent.
Once you have started this first intervention, your risk of c-section increases. This is discussed further in The Cascade Of Intervention – What You Need To Know.
How can I make myself go into labor at 40 weeks?
If you’re keen to get things moving, you can try some natural induction methods to stimulate contractions.
But remember, they aren’t guaranteed to work.
You wouldn’t even be sure whether the method you chose was responsible or whether you were already in prelabor and ready to birth.
Read more about natural induction tips here.
If your due date arrives and you aren’t keen to go past that point, here are some pointers that could 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 in response, your body produces adrenaline. This suppresses the production of oxytocin that helps the uterus contract.
- Watch your posture. Try to keep your body in an upright position. No slouching on the couch.
- Mild exercise can help keep you in the good physical condition and encourage your 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 have a positive mindset, ready for things to begin.
- For some women, nipple stimulation and sex help with the waiting game.
40 weeks pregnant belly
Well, it’s official! You’re at your due date at 40 weeks of pregnancy and your belly is the size of a pumpkin.
You might notice your belly quite often goes very hard and tight. This can feel really intense but usually, it’s uncomfortable, rather than painful.
These are Braxton Hicks contractions and they’re likely to be frequent now.
You’ll be able to tell when they’re no longer ‘practice’ contractions, but the real deal.
You might notice they get longer, stronger, and closer together. And they don’t go away when you move or sit down to rest.
Practice self-care. Have a warm bath to help with back pain. You can ask your partner to massage your feet and back to encourage oxytocin release, which will help you relax as you go into labor.
Is it normal for baby movements to slow at week 40?
From around 25 weeks onwards, most women notice their baby has a pattern of movement. This pattern is normal for your baby and should remain consistent throughout your pregnancy.
The way your baby moves should be the same during pregnancy right up until the time of birth. It’s a myth that full-term babies slow down before labor begins.
You can read more here in Do All Babies Go Quiet Before Labor?
If you’re concerned your baby isn’t moving as much or has reduced movement, immediately contact your health practitioner or doctor for a fetal well-being test, which includes a check of your baby’s heart rate.
40 weeks pregnant baby position
Did you know your baby’s position can help labor to kick off and make birth a more positive experience?
Optimal fetal positioning encourages your baby to be in alignment for birth and encourages their head into the ideal position against the cervix.
These things might help:
- Chiropractic care
- Spinning Babies – a resource developed by midwife Gail Tully
- Sitting in a forward position, and trying not to recline
- Regular exercise – walking and swimming are great.
What baby looks like at 40 weeks
Your baby at 40 weeks is snug and content inside but won’t be there for much longer.
Your 40 week baby is fully developed and looks much as it will when born. They’re still putting on brown fat in preparation for life outside, to help regulate temperature and for energy reserves.
You should keep an eye on the baby’s movements, as discussed earlier. If they slow down significantly or change, you should contact your doctor immediately.
40 weeks pregnant baby weight in kg
In terms of size, a 40-week baby will weigh somewhere between 3 and 4kg (6.6-8.8 pounds). The baby will measure anything from 47-53 cm (18-20 inches) in length and will be about the size of a pumpkin.