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40 Weeks Pregnant: A Guide for Mom-To-Be

by | Pregnancy

Pregnancy is one of the most crucial time periods of life when you need to take care of yourself. It is because another life connected to you and his flourishing and development depends on you. If you have reached the final stage of pregnancy, such as 40 weeks, you need to be extra careful.

40 weeks pregnant

In the 40 weeks, you are still technically in month 9 of pregnancy. Your baby in the womb is fully prepared for the life waiting outside the womb with all organs and senses. If you have hit the marks, you are with good company.

If you have passed the due date, don’t worry! About 1 in 3 pregnancies reach week 41. Here we have mentioned the expected symptoms you can face in the final week.

Your Baby’s Development

This week, your little one is expected to arrive any day. However, due to somebody’s condition, he can prefer to stay in the coziness of your belly. If the labor does not start in a week, your doctor will start monitoring the movement and heart rate of your baby to ensure that everything is alright.

At this stage, your baby’s head remains visible and has dropped into your pelvis, and the rest of your body is curled up tightly. It is because of less space in the belly. In case the head is not right positioned, your doctor will try to change position by applying pressure on different sides of your abdomen.


If this solution does not work, the healthcare provider will discuss the chances of a major operation to welcome the baby into the world. When you are getting ready to welcome the little one, he is also tempted to see you. The little body started to gain weight this week, and his liver, brain, lungs, and all other organs have also started working to adjust outside the womb.

The Size of Fetus at 40 Weeks Pregnant

In 40 weeks, the baby in your womb has grown about the size of a pumpkin. Averagely, the baby weighs around six to nine pounds at the time of birth and 18 to 21 inches in size from head to toe. It is just an average, but when the baby arrives in the world, you will get to know the exact weight and size.

Symptoms of 40 Weeks Pregnant

These are common pregnancy symptoms that 40 weeks pregnant is expected to experience:


week 40 pregnancy

Many conceiving mothers face some transition in the breathing pattern while going through the pregnancy. They can begin snoring more than usual as they come closer to the due date. It can happen due to certain hormonal changes. They can dry out the nasal passage. In case of snoring is a considerable problem for both partners, you can install a humidifier and use nasal strips.

Losing Mucus Plug

At the time of pregnancy, this plug closes the cervix to protect the baby and body from invading bacteria. When your labor starts, you are likely to lose this plug. It can happen even before the labor begins. Many women do not notice it, but it looks like a bloody and pinkish discharge.


Contraction is a common part of week 40. You can feel Braxton Hicks contractions in the early days of the final month, but you will know it is actually something when the contractions hit regular intervals and become a regular part of the routine. Another method to predict actual labor contractions from the mimicking variety is that the actual labor will not change when you move or try to change the position.

In case you feel that you are experiencing actual pains but you are not sure, you should contact your healthcare provider and tell them your current situation and feelings.

Water Breaking

A pregnant woman experiences it when the amniotic fluid and sac are holding her baby’s tear off or burst. The flow to amniotic fluid causes water to break. The water break does not mean that you have active labor. It can happen several hours before the actual labor starts. However, this is a prominent sign of 40 weeks.

week 40 pregnancy

This process is not as dramatic as it is portrayed in the movies. Some conceiving mothers face a gush of fluid, while others have only a trickle.

Mother’s Body at 40 Weeks of Pregnancy

The mother’s body acts as the primary shelter for the baby. The body does a tremendous job of holding and nourishing the baby during the process. Here is what happens to the mother’s body possible in 40 weeks of pregnancy.

Vaginal Birth

If you are going to have a normal delivery, such as vaginal birth, you will go through three stages of labor at the time of baby’s birth before meeting the baby.

In the first stage, you will have two phases known as early and active labor. The pregnant women’s cervix will begin to expand by thinning and stretching. During this time, you will face severe contractions, starting from your back and moving toward the womb. These contractions are responsible for pushing the baby into the birth canal.

week 40 pregnancy

There is no standard experience to tell the process. Every woman faces a different experience. Some conceiving women can face the early pains phase, which can start 14 to 20 hours before shifting to active labor. On the contrary, active labor lasts about four to eight hours.

This is not unusual to have most of the early labor time at your home. With the contractions, consult your doctor. He will better guide you when you are supposed to rush to the hospital or birthing center. As you begin to feel initial signs of labor, try to stay calm and relaxed as much as possible.

Mostly, women are willing to go for a light walk or have a warm bath at home. You can follow these or only listen to your favorite music with breathing techniques you must have learned during the education session. Once the pregnant women’s cervix is dilated, which is around 10 centimeters, you have successfully reached the second stage.

In the second stage, you will be told to push to assist your baby in moving through the canal and coming to the actual world. It is a short part but more painful as compared to the early stages. After delivering the baby, you will make it to the final level.

The woman can still feel many contractions and pain as the placenta detaches from the walls of the uterus. However, this stage is quicker and less painful than delivering the baby.

Cesarean Section

Due to weird and wrong baby positions, not all mothers deliver babies through the vagina. In this process, the mother is given anesthesia to sleep before surgery. Then the doctor will carefully make an incision in the abdomen of a pregnant woman with a mispositioned baby’s head and uterus to get the baby and the placenta manually.

In case this operation is recommended, your husband will be permitted to be in the room with you at the time of surgery.

Things to Consider at the Final Stage of Pregnancy

Here are a few things that you keep in mind when you have reached week 40:

Don’t be worried about Delayed Delivery

Don’t be terrified in case your little one does not arrive on the expected date. Even the pregnancy is not considered post-term till you hit week 42. The final date is only an estimate. In case you are giving birth late as compared to expected, it can happen because the baby requires a bit of additional time in the cozy womb.

Doctors can Induce Labor

In the final stage, you need to visit your doctor once a week. During these visits, the doctor will monitor your cervix and overall baby’s wellbeing. If you have not gone into labor by the week of 41 or 42, the doctors can plan to induce labor.

After week 42, amniotic fluid starts to decrease, and the placenta loses the ability to nourish the baby completely. Don’t worry! If the doctor has an eye on your baby as well as you, they will know what to expect. In case of complications, the doctors will make better and more effective decisions.

Discuss with Partner

When the time of delivery comes, allow your partner to help you during labor. The husband is the best company to have at that time. He can help at the time of practice contractions and provide you with a comforting massage that helps you eradicate any pain. You can also ask to cut the umbilical cord.

Weight Gain

During this duration, your doctor is likely to keep monitoring your bodily conditions, your weight gain, etc. Most of the weight comes due to accumulating fats, the baby’s body, and additional fluid and blood present in your conceiving body.

After the delivery, you will lose almost all the weight you gained during pregnancy. However, remember to take your time. After delivery, you need a lot on your plate to gain energy and maintain good baby’s health.

Read Up in Advance

Having additional information is always beneficial. Reading up in advance can help you feel more confident about the things waiting for you.

The End of Pregnancy

The 400 week is the official end of your conceiving period. However, you and the placenta are antibodies to the baby’s body that the baby requires to fight off infection for the first six months of her life.

week 40 pregnancy

Anyhow, if you plan on breastfeeding, breast milk will offer more and more antibodies to increase the level of immunity. Particularly, the colostrum, which is a yellowish precursor to the mother’s milk, is exceptionally rich in antibodies which is beneficial for the first few days of postpartum.

Meeting your Baby

The very first thing that you may look for when the baby arrives is gender, if you do not know already. This major mystery is solved once and for all. You will also notice that besides being cute, the baby is wearing leftover dust, blood, vernix, and other fluids that he comes in contact with at the time of delivery.

40 weeks pregnant

From the baby’s point of view, you are not clear but a bit blurry. It happens because the baby’s central vision is still developing. You just need to ensure hello and talk to your baby because the baby recognizes the sounds of you as well as your partner.

Tips for This Week

Here are a few things you can do to make the process easy and convenient.

Stay in Contact with your Healthcare Provider

40 weeks pregnant

Talk to your doctor about when the labor will occur. You can also ask why and how it can happen. If there are health as well as medical reasons to induce, you can communicate benefits and side effects. It is not generally suggested before week 39 of the pregnancy.

Have a Plan for Home Birth

Initially, babies were used to being born at home. Home births are safe for those who have low-risk pregnancies. However, if labor needs to be introduced and the baby requires medical assistance, you will have to go to the hospital and deliver the baby under serious medical assistance.

Shave Safely

If you have some extra hair these days, you can shave your legs with extra care because you can create imbalance and fall off. Ensure that the razor you are using is less likely to draw blood.

Do a Mini Workout

40 weeks pregnant

Baby’s movements are necessary for your health and the baby’s overall well-being. You can turn from side to side, twist your waist slowly and let the arms swing freely. You are also suggested to clench the butt and hold it for a while and then release it. Consult your healthcare provider and exercise according to suggestions. Remember not to go for strenuous exercise.


As the end of pregnancy is approaching, it can be tempting to hold the baby in your arms as soon as possible. Whether you have got the pregnancy glow or are struggling through different challenges, don’t miss out on appreciating these final moments with your baby in the womb.

Appreciate yourself for doing an amazing job of holding the baby carefully and passing through all challenges. Once you reach parenthood, you will love and miss the period. Be extra careful in 40 pregnancy week, and welcome the baby with open arms.


What are Common Questions to Ask a Doctor?

  • At the 40 weeks, you can inquire about the following:

  • Should you induce labor or wait for a natural birth?

  • What can you do at home to start the labor?

  • Is it safe to have intercourse at the final stage of pregnancy?

  • What should you do if you witness changes in the baby’s movement?

  • How soon can you begin breastfeeding?

How many months are 40 weeks?

In case you are 40 weeks pregnant, you are in the nine months of your pregnancy. It is almost the time when you can expect your baby to arrive anytime.

Is it normal to be 40 weeks pregnant?

Sometimes, the timing of pregnancy is pretty confusing. You can hear people say that pregnancy lasts nine months, but it actually can last 40 weeks which is longer than nine months. It may feel like the baby is taking too long to arrive, but it is a natural requirement.

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