40 Weeks Pregnant


After months of anticipation, your due date comes around, and you are still pregnant. It’s a frustrating but common situation in which you may find yourself. The birth may not be as overdue as you think, especially if you’re relying solely on a due date calculated from the day of your last period, as women sometimes ovulate later than expected. Even with reliable dating, some women have prolonged pregnancies for no apparent reason. Good luck with the impending birth of your baby. We trust that this will be a memorable experience for both you and your partner.

During these last weeks of pregnancy, the same symptoms you’ve been having will likely continue. Your main job is to hang in there as you keep experiencing these:

  1. Leg cramps Stick with the calf and hamstring stretches to keep leg cramps from messing with your sleep.
  2. Pelvic pressure Baby may drop even lower in your pelvis, making your pelvic discomfort worse.
  3. Trouble sleeping If you can’t sleep, it’s okay to get up and do something else, but keep to a calming activity such as reading or writing in a journal. Don’t start cleaning out your freezer or doing a Zumba video. Rest.
  4. Fatigue The fact that you can’t sleep isn’t really helping here. But since you may not have any plans, you may be able to sneak in an extra nap here or there—or at least take some quiet time to relax.
  5. Contractions Those Braxton Hicks contractions may eventually turn into the real deal, so if it seems like you’re having a lot of them, start timing them to see how far apart they are. If they get closer together, you’re in an early stage of labor.

Relief your anxiety. Baby will get here when he or she gets here. Do your best not to stress.

Sign of Labor Pain

Call your doctor right away if you have contractions that are more than a little uncomfortable or keep coming at regular intervals. The other 40 weeks pregnant sign of labor is a leak or flow of amniotic fluid. This means your water has ruptured or broken. You will likely know because it will be truly watery, not like typical discharge, and it doesn’t stop. Call your OB ASAP.

You might be 40 weeks pregnant with no signs of labor. But at 40 weeks pregnant, signs of labor will be here very soon.

Inducing Labor

At 40 weeks pregnant, this is supposed to be your last week of pregnancy. If it is not, you may be curious how to induce labor using natural methods. With your doctor’s consultancy you may take long walks and have sex. If you want to try acupuncture, that’s considered safe too. However, don’t take herbal supplements or drink castor oil. As per medical opinion, those methods are unsafe and probably won’t work anyhow. You might have heard that stimulating your nipples can induce labor. It can, but doctors recommend you don’t even try it. In fact, nipple stimulation can cause contractions that are too strong and may put baby’s situation in jeopardy. Not worth it.

Now that you’ve reached your due date, your doctor might talk to you about inducing labor medically. Whether or not this is necessary will have to do with how baby’s doing in there. The doctor might schedule this now if you have complications or are 40 weeks pregnant with twins. If baby’s perfectly healthy and you have no complications, you might not need an induction at all and can keep sticking it out, even if it takes a couple more weeks. Though chances are high that you’ll go into labor naturally by the end of next week. It might be worth it to know that you waited it out until your baby was truly ready.

Development of Baby

At 40 weeks pregnant, baby is the size of a watermelon. The average full-term 40-week baby measures about 20.2 inches (51 cm) from crown to heel and weighs 7.6 pounds (3.45 kilogram).

It’s hard to say for sure how big your baby will be, but boys tend to be slightly heavier than girls.

Your baby’s skull bones will overlap and fit through the birth canal during labour. This so-called moulding is the reason your baby’s head may have a slight conical shape right after birth, but it’s normal and temporary.

Your 40-week fetus is continuing to grow hair and nails. And baby at 40 weeks is keeping up that lung development too.

Advice

Once you have completed a full-term pregnancy and reached 40 weeks, your doctor will likely want to do a biophysical profile. ICYMI, this is a two-fold test. You’ll have a non-stress test, where baby’s movement and your contractions are monitored to see how baby’s heart rate reacts. You’ll also have a 40 weeks pregnant ultrasound to see what the amniotic fluid levels look like.

The ultrasound observes your baby’s overall movement and growth, whilst the non-stress test obtains a trace of your baby’s heart rate whilst you are not yet in labour.

If the results of the non-stress test and/or the 40 weeks pregnant ultrasound suggest that baby would be better off on the outside than in utero, then an induction may be ordered. If everything looks good, you’re back to the waiting game.

The amount of amniotic fluid surrounding your baby (an important reflection of how well the placenta is supporting your baby) will also be checked.

Next Week – Week 41

Third  Trimester (Week 28 – Week 42)