Your Pregnancy At Week 40

Your Pregnancy At Week 40

The Final Hurdle!

Week 40

your baby this week:

By week 40, your baby may have arrived already or be due any day this week. For 1 in 10 mums-to-be, their baby decides they don’t want to be evicted quite yet and hang on past 42 weeks.

Your baby will be at full birth weight by week 40 and can be anything from 6 to 12lbs. If you have a larger baby, it may be suggested that you are induced. The pros and cons will be discussed with you.

For smaller babies, your body is still providing all the nutrients your baby needs, as well as antibodies needed to fight infection following birth, so sit back and wait until your baby is ready. This could only be for a further week if your midwife thinks it’s safe to wait.

your body:

Everyone deals with reaching this milestone differently. For some, reaching their due date doesn't change anything, for others it can feel like a bit of an anticlimax. Don't worry if you are feeling a little emotional too, you are about to become a mum - it’s an emotional time.

You can use this time to perfect the little one's nursery, think about finalising names if you've not yet decided and get all your hospital bag contents packed and ready to go.

So when will you start feeling those all-important contractions? Some women, even when overdue, start experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions. If they don't increase in frequency and severity or go away after some light activity - they are just 'practise' ones. Once you've had Braxton Hicks, you'll know it when the real ones come, trust us!

One event however, that's not always guaranteed, are your waters breaking. Less than 8-10% of women experience a true rupture of the amniotic membrane34, and if it does, it won't be that bucket-dump you see in movies. It's more like a trickle or small gush, like the little accidental wees you may have done as your pelvic floor has been weakening - except your waters will be clear and odourless!

When you're ready, your contractions are regular, and dilation has started. It's time to head to the hospital or birthing unit ready to meet your baby! The next few pages should help you know what to expect and give you some guidance on birthing positions, but just remember - you can do this!

Louise Broadbridge - Our Expert Midwife

Hi, my name is Louise, I am a Registered Midwife, founder of Let's Talk Birth and Baby and the face behind Instagram's The Honest Midwife. I have worked in health settings for the past 30 years, the majority of which have been working in children and family settings.

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your tips & to do's:

Forty weeks have come and gone. You are ready. So... where is baby?

If one more person says you that you look like you are going to pop, you just might. Right? Just to shut them up! Your walk is a waddle, you probably haven't been able to give your legs a good shave in a while, and turning over in bed feels like an Olympic event.


Congratulations! You've done a magnificent job carrying your little one for nine months.

Gathering patience may seem challenging due to phone calls and questions from friends and family members, who are anxiously awaiting your little one's arrival.

Unfortunately, there is little that you can do to convince your baby to greet life on the outside. Your womb is a cozy little space with plenty of food and bouts of gentle rocking. It's the ideal place to be! There are, however, a few methods rumored to naturally induce labor with varying degrees of success. Please speak with your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements claiming to kick-start labor. If you have any concerns, speak with your doctor or midwife before trying any natural methods of induction.

Some experts say sex can help to induce labor! Sperm contains hormones that can help to soften the cervix, and an orgasm can cause uterine contractions. However, you should avoid sex if you have been advised to do so by your doctor or midwife, or if you believe your water has broken.

Going for a walk, or other any other gentle exercise that increases in your overall activity level, may help to induce labor as well. Just make sure you don't overdo it; and don't push beyond your comfort level. Now is not the time to start training for a road marathon! While the logistics surrounding how this works are unclear, many women claim their labor started after eating a spicy meal. Feel free to try it. But if you spend the evening with horrible heartburn and an upset stomach, it's on you.

Once you pass the 40-week mark, your doctor or midwife may speak about medical interventions for inducing labor. There are several options, from medications to breaking your water. Your doctor will inform you of the risks and benefits, and help you decide if induction is the right course for you.

It won't be long now, so hang in there! And don’t forget to write in your pregnancy journal.

your symptoms

Here is a list of entirely worth it symptoms commonly experienced during week 40.

  • Constipation and/or hemorrhoids
  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Stretch marks
  • Sweating
  • Heartburn
  • Braxton Hicks
  • Interrupted sleep
  • Backaches and/or leg cramps
  • Swelling or bloating
  • Crazy dreams
  • Nesting

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Articles shown are a mixture of informative pieces, anecdotal accounts and professional advice from our panel of Bloggers, Writers and Experts. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official view of this site.