40 Reasons To Give Your Baby 40+ Weeks Of Pregnancy

40 Reasons To Give Your Baby 40+ Weeks Of Pregnancy

In recent years, some women have been electing to birth their babies early for non-medical reasons, such as convenience or fear of a big baby.

This worrying trend leads to a plethora of increased risks and health problems for both mother and baby. Problems that you don’t want to be worrying about during the birth, or recovering from after the birth.

The babymoon should be a special, bonding time with lots of snnuggles and cuddles, without worrying about pain or illness.

Think about it logically: in an extra week or two, your baby isn’t going to miraculously gain an extra five centimetres circumference on his head, nor add an extra kilo of weight.

A week will make little difference in terms of size, and no matter if you have a big baby or a small baby, women can have difficult and easy births.

So many factors come into play, but if you’ve done some good research on active birth, you’d know a thing or two about how to labour in a way to make it easiest for your body and baby — no matter how much they weigh at birth.

Some women may be advised to have their baby before the estimated due date as the result of health complications — for example preeclampsia (a dangerous condition involving high blood pressure). Obviously, waiting longer would not apply to these women, who have hard evidence that their baby or their own health is at serious risk. This article is intended for those who are considering scheduling the birth for theirs or their doctor’s convenience, with no evidence of a health problem. Inductions add risks when sometimes there were none.

An important fact to remember is that reaching 40 weeks of pregnancy in itself is not a sign of danger. Once you’re post dates, your midwife or doctor will be monitoring you much more regularly. Signs and symptoms from your body or abnormal test results will provide evidence if an induction or c-section would be safer for your baby.

If your doctor recommends having your baby before 39 weeks, question whether there is a problem with yours or baby’s health to make it truly necessary. Ask what evidence that have found to come to that conclusion. If it’s truly necessary for your baby to be born early, find out if it would be safe to wait until you are as close to 39-40 weeks as possible.

40 Reasons To Give Baby 40 (Or More) Weeks Of Pregnancy

So, before you decide to induce — emergencies aside — here are 40 reasons to give your baby 40 weeks of pregnancy or more.

Reasons To Give Baby 40 Weeks – For Your Baby:

#1. Babies born at 40 weeks are better able to suck and swallow thanks to their more advanced muscle development.
#2. This sucking and swallowing will aid breastfeeding, which will in turn build a strong bond between you and baby.
#3. Babies born at 40 weeks are better able to control their own temperature — this is partly due to the extra fat they have.
#4. Generally speaking, more time in the womb equals less time in hospital.
#5. Brain development accelerates during the last five weeks of pregnancy — let your baby’s brain finish developing.
#6. Babies bulk up during the last few weeks of pregnancy, this extra fat allows them to prepare for birth and the first few days of life.

Babies born at term are less likely to suffer from:

#7: Jaundice — an excess of bilirubin in the blood can cause the skin and eyes to look yellow. The liver removes bilirubin from the blood. A premature baby is more likely to suffer from jaundice because his liver may not be fully developed.
#8: Respiratory problems — while in utero, your baby’s lungs are filled with fluid that helps them to grow and develop. At the end of the pregnancy, and during the birth, this fluid is absorbed or expelled to prepare the lungs for inhaling oxygen. Premature babies are more likely to suffer respiratory problems because their lungs may not be fully developed at the time of the birth.
#9: Seizures — premature babies have an increased risk of seizures during their first few days of life. They are also more likely to suffer from epilepsy and other seizure conditions in later life. Pre-term birth has also been linked with epilepsy.
#10: Brain hemorrhages — intraventricular hemorrhages are common in premature babies. While most will disappear without treatment, some may cause more serious problems.
#11: Hearing problems — premature babies have an increased risk of developing hearing problems. This could be because they are born before their hearing has fully developed, leaving them more sensitive to noise than other babies.
#12: Low blood sugar — during the last few months of pregnancy, the baby builds a store of glycogen to regulate blood sugar. Premature babies are at risk of low blood sugar because they may not have had time to build adequate stores of glycogen.
#13: Cerebral palsy — while risk factors do not cause cerebral palsy, the presence of some risk factors may lead to an increased chance of a child being born with cerebral palsy. According to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, one of the biggest risk factors is premature birth (less than 37 weeks).
#14: Babies born at 40 weeks score better on standardised tests than babies born at 38 weeks.
#15: Babies born before 38 weeks have an increased risk of behavioural problems.
#16: Babies born early are less able to stay awake long enough for a full feed.
#17: More than a quarter of babies born electively between 37 and 39 weeks had to be admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit, compared to one in 20 babies born after 39 weeks. Infant mortality rates for pre-term babies born between 34 and 36 weeks of pregnancy are four times higher than rates for infants born at full term.
#18: Babies born before 38 weeks are more likely to be re-admitted to hospital.

40 Reasons To Give Your Baby 40+ Weeks Of Pregnancy

Reasons To Give Baby 40 Weeks – For The Mother:

#19: You’re about to be severely demoted to someone new and exciting — put it off and enjoy being number one for a little bit longer.
#20: Use the extra time to take a babymoon with your partner.
#21: You’re bonding with your baby even when she’s in the womb. Keep her in there and let the bond strengthen — you know, before she starts throwing up on you and crying all the time.
#22: You might not believe it now, but you will miss your bump when it’s gone. The little kicks, hiccups, knowing she’s in there.
#23: Make the most of this extra time with your partner, you won’t have much time alone for the first few months after the birth.
#24: You’ve probably still got a huge to do list for before the baby arrives, give yourself time to work through it.
#25: Waiting for labour to start naturally gives you a better chance of sticking to your birth plan.
#26: Get some sleep — you won’t have much time to rest once the baby arrives.
#27: Seriously, why are you still reading this? Get some sleep before it’s too late!

Reasons To Give Baby 40 Weeks – For The Birth:

#28: Waiting for labour to start naturally means you won’t be induced. Induction comes with increased risk for you and baby, including post partum hemorrhage.
#29: Being induced makes you more likely to have a c-section. Electively induced labor more than doubles the risk of c-section compared to spontaneous labour. The risk is more than tripled when cervical ripening medication is used. Note: all inductions are not the same – having your waters broken is not the same as having medication to start labour (artificial oxytocin is continued throughout your labour until after the birth).
#30: A c-section section is major surgery with a gruelling recovery time. A recent review of 90% of US birth records found that it’s also more risky than vaginal birth.
#31: Allowing labour to start naturally decreases the likelihood of you having interventions and complications. Around 15% of inductions required an assisted birth such as a forceps or ventouse delivery.
#32: Being induced can increase the length of your labour.
#33: Syntocinon (Australia) or Pitocin (US), is the artificial oxytcin hormone used to induce labour. It produces strong, painful contractions but doesn’t produce any of the feel-good, bonding or pain-killing hormones of natural labour. Experts believe induced labour is more painful than labour that starts naturally. Artificial oxytocin doesn’t cross the blood brain barrier, and doesn’t act in the same way as natural oxytocin does.
#34: Induction and cesarean both lead to an increased risk of infection. As many as one in 10 women who give birth by caesarean section suffer infection.
#35: Babies born by cesarean are more likely to suffer from breathing problems than those born vaginally.

Important Things To Remember:

#36: Your due date could be out by up to two weeks, since due dates are worked out based on averages (a 28 day cycle and ovulation on day 14) and full term is classed up to 42 weeks of pregnancy. Give your baby extra time in the womb to finish maturing. What you think is 38 weeks could actually be 36.
#37: Trust your baby to decide when she’s ready to join the world. She knows best.
#38: Babies aren’t convenient. They throw up as soon as you’ve finished dressing them, they poop as you’re walking out the house, and they want to breastfeed as soon as the window cleaner shows up. You may as well get used to the inconvenience now — you’ve got a lifetime of it ahead.
#39: Slow and steady wins the race.
#40: This is one thing in life that’s worth waiting for. You didn’t take any pain killers during pregnancy, you avoided alcohol — this is one big thing that will give your baby a great start in life, strong, healthy and ready.

Be sure to read our article, Natural Labour Vs Induced Labour – 6 Main Differences.

Recommended Reading

the BellyBelly Birth & Early Parenting Immersion
MAXIMISE your chances of getting the birth you want… MINIMISE your chances of
a disappointing or traumatic birth experience. Learn from some of Australia’s
best educators – you’ll feel MORE CONFIDENT heading into birth.
  • 3K




  1. Thank you for the information this is really what I want to hear as I am still waiting for my baby’s arrival.
    regards sharon

  2. This has been really helpful especially now dat I’ve reached week 40 of my pregnancy. I just needed someone with more experience to tell me that it is okay and that all will be alright soon. I cannot wait for her arrival!! Thank you!!

  3. I was induced wen I had ma second baby four months ago nd it was a mess for me. D pain was so hard for me to bear bt i delivered no c.s was done. But I had my menses d following month nd it stopped for d past 2 months does it mean I’m pregnant?
    Thank u for your teachings bellybelly

  4. thank you very much for this wonderfull article,im 38 weeks of gestation and was about to be induced but after reading this, i have decided to give more time for my baby’s development.
    Thank you really.

  5. Well, what else can i say except “thanks a lot”, this is very informative and easy to believe as this whole thing sound real expert type and makes good sense logically as well. My wife is now 40 weeks and 4 days and after today;s the ultrasound tests and the doctor involved pushed for an immediate admission for delivery and when asked the reason, the only answer was, “now due date over” , baby’s heart beat is good, fluid is good, movements are good, no specific clues in terms of risks to baby or mother explained, etc. In other words, all good but still doctor wants a delivery right away so i toldthe doctor that my wife already had five normal deliveries and one miscarriage thus we still prefer to wait for at least another 10 days and this decision of ours happened only after reading this article in our attempt to surfing the internet for further information as my wife and myself are a bit tensed when doctor asked for admission. Once again thank you so much

    1. That’s awesome! It’s not right when they push for a forced start to labour when there is no evidence of complications. I think there is so much seduction to schedule birth by those who care for birthing women in hospitals.

  6. Sometimes induction is necessary coz of history etc, I lost my son at exactly 38 weeks years ago. So now in each pregnancy that follows I will be induced at 37 weeks n 6 days. I honestly don’t feel my body could carry to 40 weeks. My first a daughter was born at 37 weeks due to severe preeclampsia. Born natural vacuum assisted after 10 hrs 21 mins labour. I was running late n was about to do a no show for my 36 week checkup, glade I listened to my instinct n turned up anyway. I was kept in hospital 1 week before induction n closely monitored. With my son I had odd mixed feelings at 37 weeks but dismissed to me over thinking, ( I should have sought second/third opinion) my rainbow baby born after (a daughter) docs wanted to wait till 40 weeks plus, but as I hit 37 week mark I started to panic n demanded they induce 37 weeks 6,days, so they did n she was a big baby 55.5 cm long n almost 9lbs with a massive head, I am glade I followed my instinct as she was all natural 2.5 hrs labour, if I waited I am sure she would of got stuck n I would of needed c section!! I will always follow my instinct now.

    1. Elizabeth, I am very sorry for your earlier loss. Heartbreaking.

      I agree, we need to follow our instincts as mothers. If it doesn’t feel right, we must speak up.

      With baby size, I think we’re come to fear it unnecessarily though. As a doula, I have seen many babies 10-11lbs born beautifully, without a tear in most cases. There are so many factors which make birth difficult. Did you know that squatting gives your pelvis 30% more space to birth your baby? Yet, in our current birth climate, many women are on their backs in beds, with epidurals, unable to move our babies. The baby’s skull has 4 movable parts — it is not fixed. They mould and shape so the baby can be born.

      But sounds like you had a wonderful labour, which is fantastic. Congratulations!

      1. Hi this is lovely to hear. After i attended a locum GP who automatically assumed I was having an epidural and said because of my age I will definitely get a tear. She was very young and I doubt she has had children herself. By the way I’m due this Sunday and I’m a healthy 38yr old on my first baby who measures 8lbs 4oz at 38 and a half weeks.
        I told her I’m hoping to have a waterbirth with just gas and air and if I don’t birth in the water I will get out and get into a squatting position. She looked at me as if I had 2 heads .. it’s laughable. Why aren’t the doctors encouraging anatomically favourable positions for birthing a baby? And the way they try to persuade you … it’s unreal … I’m a nurse and this locum didn’t know this … I was able for her as I had my mind made up and understand the risks that come with epidurals and inductions but vulnerable women who don’t understand enough about labour in a medical hospital might be coerced into taking decisions that might not be right for them and their babies.

  7. thanks for this wonderful and encouraging tips!!! I’m on my 39th week and was growing impatient for the past few days..I thought that I might need to induce my labor fearing for overdue.. πŸ™‚ Thanks a lot!:)

  8. So glad i read this. Am 33 weeks and was wishing i could give birth at 38 but now, i can wait with confidence for at least a week after due date. I appreciate this post.

  9. thank you for this wonderful article, i was about to ask my doctor to induce me when i am in my 38weeks. but decided to give more time for the baby, now i am 40 weeks exactly base on my biophysical scoring. amniotic fluid grade 2, they told me i should give birth in 3days if now i will be in c-section. i really don’t want that to happen. can i just wait for my water bag to blow and gave birth naturally?

    1. Full term is up to 42 weeks of pregnancy, according to leading and peak health organisations. The World Health Organization classes “overdue” as beyond 42 weeks. You’re well within your right to say no — you’re not technically overdue — just past the average due date based on an average guess (based on an average 28 day cycle and ovulating on day 14). Around 3-5% of babies are born on their “guess date” (as I like to call it) and around 40% are born in the two weeks before, and another 40% in the two weeks after. You can definitely wait if you have no health complications (high blood pressure for example), and it sounds like your doctor would like the ease of a c-section. But, you are the decision maker.

  10. I’m only 32 weeks and have planned for the full term 40 week birth. But of course, it’s not up to us mothers when the baby should come out, it’s the baby’s decision. Went for my checkup just two days ago and doctor told us that our baby’s head is 4 weeks ahead of schedule…meaning his head is BIG and may need a c-section…but I want a natural delivery and the doc said then I may be looking into being induced around 37-38 weeks. I’m so lost and frustrated at the same time. Isn’t it too early to propose these options to me? I believe I’m capable.

    1. You are in charge. Our bodies and babies are made for this. Your body opens and babies head molds. Do not letb your doctor bully and lie to you so that your birth fits into his schedule. You have every right to do as you wish. I see no reason you can’t have the birth you want. Read up on the physiology of birth and your rights…the doctor works for you!

  11. Thanks for this thorough and thoughtful article. I have given bith to 5 children by spontaneous viginal delivery with no complications. In the first and second I had to go through episiotomy out of routine practice at overseas and back then I was not informed nor confident on my right and decision power. Now my doctor suggested and booked me in an induction on my 39weeks as I am too old and there’s a stats saying I am in a group of high risk of stll birth due to my age. I am not acceting it and have gained confidence through this article that I will let my baby chooses when is the best time for him to come out. Thanks.

  12. Dear Kelly Winder,
    You’,ve provided a thouroghly thoughtful 40 reasons….
    I’m speecless
    Amazed by your professionsl wisdom, far better than those doctors pushing mothers to be like guinea pigs for furthring their medical exprrienced; ,in particulat when there is no medicsl readon whatsoever to keep rushing mothers to be & their babies into unnecessary earlier labour. One of your reader, by the name of Hussein Naseer, posted data almost similar to our (my wife ‘Yeony’ -she also posted- & I). My wife is 39 weeks as of today. The only reason doctors wanting her to be induced is simply because of her (45) & baby’size (4.3). Previously she has given 5 births naturally. She’s strong mentally & physically.
    I endeavours into prayer to seek help from above. Later on I told my wife that our baby is likely to be born either on 10 or 30 October but mostly 30th. I agree with your 42weeks. It makes sense. I agree with your 40 reasons & I’m glad my wife had passed this article of yours to me because it had confirmed everything I received through the prayers. We thank you so much. We gonna let out baby decides when he’s ready. It’s his world, not medical intervention without any real reason. My wife isn’t even feeling contraction yet but hospital want to induce her as soon as possible. We’ve indicate our opposition very strongly. Once again many thanks & keep up the good work of opening the eyes of countless innocent mothers to be.

  13. this helped a lot, even though i am scared coz i lost my first baby six years ago now i soo wish to have this one now even though i am still reaching the 38th week

  14. I was 41+4 when I had a emergency section. Kai was completely healthy and I feel like he was rushed out. I had contractions and was at 3 cm. Apparently not in labour though. Felt like labour to me!!! But as it was the date set to b induced the Drs wanted to rush it all. I was ftm and told I was taking too long. That I needed to have waters broke etc. This all upset my Kai. His heart beat started to drop and I was rushed to theatre. He wasn’t ready to come out yet and I feel like if I stayed home for longer instead going to ward when I couldn’t take the pain any longer that maybe I would’ve had a natural labour. People go into labour for hours, why was I rushed just for big overdue?

  15. I’ll wait for her to come, i was thinking of being induced, now theres no way i’ll put my baby and my health at risk. Thank you so much for the valuable info…I’ll wait for my christmas baby.

  16. I feel relaxed after reading through this article,its my first pregnancy.I will give my baby all the time and attention she need.Thanks

  17. after reading this i feel more at ease. the ultrasound has proposed that the baby will arrive on the 15th of Dec, bt today is the 18th still the baby is not out. ur article has made me remember that quality takes time. Im at ease now I knw dat the baby is developing more and more, and the movements and hiccups are as normal as wen the baby was 34 weeks. thank you so ever much… I’m waiting in anticipation bt will not fasten the process. God bless you

  18. Wow. ….this has really lifted my spirit, am 40*2 and no sign of labour yet, booked for sweep next week….been low in spirit but after reading your article my spirit has been lifted, will wait for my bundle of joy to arrive

  19. Wow….. Very helpful. I will be 34 weeks this weekend and hopefully 6 weeks more to fully expect my baby. I don’t know what might happen on the road though but I believe it will be successful at the end. I was in hurry to give birth on 38th weeks but this article has been really educative. Thanks a lot

  20. Thanks so much for this article. I am 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant and I have been worrying that i have not seen signs of labour yet but after reading this article i feel relieved for my baby’s good health and mine. I belief labour can start at any time from now.
    Thanks so much and God bless you.

  21. Just to thank you for the wonderful job you’re doing. Your articles helped me say NO to being induced by my very sweet midwife. My baby was born at the clinical 40+6. Which turns out to be exact 40 weeks based on my cycle.

  22. Predicted dates can also be off so when your expecting your first and you are one or two days off your due date people’s uneducated opinions and shock you haven’t given birth get to you when really all is totally ok and normal

  23. I’m 38weeks… can’t wait to hold my baby, I was thinking of being induced but now NO!!! This article helped m

  24. This is really helpful, I’m 39 weeks and 4 days and was really starting to worry that I’m reaching 40 weeks and no baby yet. But I’m now positive. Thank you.

  25. I can’t thank you enough for reading through your very helpful and encouraging article. I am 40+5 days past and I have been booked for a membrane sweep by Monday if noting happens. My BP is perfect. No swollen feet, the baby’s heart beat is perfect. Infact the doctor confirmed I do not have a problem. So I intended to visit the hospital on Tuesday for the sweep. But with this I have read, I will patiently wait for my bundle of joy to come on its own. Many thanks to you.

  26. Thanks for the great article πŸ™‚ I’m happy to keep my baby in a little longer so he can have the best chance possible! It makes me so sad a lot of women are induced early for no medical reason.. I’m 41 weeks + 1 day today and no problems- no swelling, amniotic fluid and HB are perfect, non stress tests always come back perfect, I’m not worried about being a week late. The only thing is, my OB would only like me to go to 41+3 and I have a scheduled induction in 2 days if he doesn’t come on his own by then. Come on baby!

Leave a Reply

Please note: in order to prevent spam and inappropriate language, all comments are moderated before they appear. We appreciate your patience awaiting approval. BellyBelly receives many comments every day, and we are unable to approve them all as soon as they are posted.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

loaded font roboto