40 Weeks Pregnant | Pregnancy Week By Week
40 WEEKS PREGNANT
Congratulations! The week of your due date has finally arrived! Everything for the baby is set up and ready to go – the crib, the bassinet, the changing table, the car seat is installed in your car – and now you’re sitting, twiddling your thumbs, waiting anxiously and mentally willing (begging) your body to go into labor. Every time a Braxton Hicks contraction hits you, you get excited thinking it’s a real contraction, only to be disappointed when the contractions dwindle away. While you may still be very uncomfortably pregnant, take comfort in the fact that this is week 40 of your pregnancy, which means baby will come very soon!
At 40 weeks pregnant, your baby is the size of a watermelon. The average weight and length of a baby born at 40 weeks is 7.6 pounds and about 20.2 inches long. It won’t be too much longer before you’ll get to find out exactly how big your baby is! Hang in there!
PREGNANCY SYMPTOMS WEEK 40
Thankfully, in the 40th week of pregnancy, there are no new symptoms to report. The pregnancy symptoms you’ll have this week are just a repeat of the ones you’ve been surviving through for the last several weeks.
- Difficulty sleeping. The size of your baby bump, along with the nervousness and excitement of going into labor may be keeping you up at night. If you find that you just can’t sleep no matter what you do, try lying down on your couch to watch TV. You may end up falling asleep because you’re relaxed and not actively trying to sleep.
- Leg cramps. If the leg cramps are ramping up, do some leg stretches or get up and walk around to try and bring those cramps down a notch. Sitting in a warm bath may also help with the cramping, and it’ll help to relax you at the same time!
- Fatigue. Well, it’s no wonder you’re so tired if you haven’t been sleeping well at night. Try and rest whenever possible, and don’t feel guilty about taking a couple of nap breaks throughout the day, either!
- Pelvic Pressure. The baby has likely dropped down further into your pelvis, which can be very uncomfortable and sometimes a little bit painful, too. Just keep reminding yourself that it means labor will be coming soon!
- Contractions. You’ve been having Braxton Hicks contractions for quite some time now, but those practice contractions can turn into real ones at any time, so pay close attention to how frequently they’re coming and how long they last. If you start to notice a pattern, time them because they could be actual labor contractions!
40 WEEK BABY BUMP
It’s time to take a snapshot of your belly at 40 weeks! It may be the last picture you take of your belly before you go into labor, so take one now while you can! Since the chances of you going into labor this week are high, pay close attention to the signs your body is giving you. The most obvious signs that you’re in labor are, of course, regular contractions and your water breaking. Many women aren’t sure how to distinguish between Braxton Hicks contractions and real labor contractions. Just remember, Braxton Hicks contractions will go away with a change in position or after a few minutes. Real contractions are constant, they’ll start coming closer together and lasting longer, and they’ll increase in intensity to the point where they become quite painful. If you realize you’re having real contractions, call your OB. Most doctors recommend that you head to the hospital when the contractions are about 5 minutes apart, but it’s best to see what your OB wants you to do.
The other sign to watch for that will tell you you’re in labor is your water breaking. Your water can break with or without contractions, and it could be a gush of fluid or it can be a slow, constant trickle of fluid. Whether or not your contractions have started when your water breaks, contact your OB and let him or her know that your water has broken or is leaking.
40 WEEKS PREGNANT ULTRASOUND
Your baby is continuing to gain fat while he’s tucked snugly inside your uterus. His hair and fingernails are growing still, too. By 40 weeks pregnant, your baby’s lungs should be mature enough that the baby can breathe on his own once he’s born.
If you haven’t gone into labor by the time your weekly OB appointment rolls around this week, your doctor may decide to do a non-stress test to monitor how the baby reacts when he moves around or when you have a contraction. You’ll also have an ultrasound done to check the amniotic fluid levels. Depending on the results of the non-stress test and/or the ultrasound, your doctor may decide that the baby would be better off being delivered and will then discuss induction with you. Don’t worry, though, because the results could come back fine in which case your doctor will likely send you on your way and tell you to call or come back if or when you go into labor!
WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING AT 40 WEEKS PREGNANT?
What should you be doing at 40 weeks pregnant? You mean besides pacing the floor waiting for labor to start? Well, you can do some things at home to try and get labor started or you can try to relax as much as possible so you can save the energy you have left for when labor starts. If you like the idea of trying to get labor going at home, here are a couple things you can try:
- Have sex. Having sex has been known to get contractions jumpstarted, so if you really want to go into labor, grab your partner and get busy. If it doesn’t start contractions, at least you had a little bit of fun trying!
- Go for a long walk. Doing a lot of walking can help get labor going, so head off to the mall and do some window shopping for a couple of hours. Who knows, maybe you’ll be heading off to the hospital soon after to have your baby!
- Sam C's Editorial Team