40 Weeks Pregnant
Learn what's happening in week 40 of pregnancy and find out how your baby is developing.
Congratulations on reaching the fortieth week of your pregnancy. Your due date is near and you can expect the start of labor any time now.
However, keep in mind that only 5% of babies are born on their due dates, which means you can end up carrying your baby for a couple of weeks more. Your baby is now the size of a watermelon and looks like an individual.
What happens in your body in pregnancy week 40?
This week you can experience lots of Braxton Hicks contractions, which will stimulate a stream of oxygenated blood to your uterus and baby.
Unless the contractions are too painful and regular, you don't need to be concerned.
If your baby's head is engaged in your pelvis, your body shape will change so those around you may notice that you "have dropped". Now you can finally breathe a little easier, but the extra pressure on your bladder will cause frequent urination. Unfortunately, this is one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy at 40 weeks.
If you have painful and regular contractions that are coming every fifteen minutes or you have a severe pain in your lower back, check with your doctor because they can be symptoms of early labor.
At 40 weeks, you will be feeling very heavy and large. Your pelvis muscles are working hard to support the baby, so do them a favor and sit and rest when you can.
Changes in Your Body at 40 Weeks Pregnant
The skin on your belly is stretched and tight while your belly button looks as if it's been turned inside out. Your stretch marks are more noticeable and your skin around the belly, breasts and thighs is itchy. Your breasts continue to produce colostrum in preparation for breastfeeding.
The weight of your baby on your cervix puts a lot of pressure on the tissue, which helps to thin it (this process is known as effacing) and open it up ready for birth.
Induction of labor
Doctors do not go for inducing labor in the fortieth week unless there are dangers to the mother of the baby. The longer the baby stays in your womb, the lesser the chances of complications after giving birth.
However, an induction of labor may be needed if it does not start on its own by week 42.
There are many different ways you can try and stimulate labor naturally including sex, long walks, and nipple stimulation. If you're in the mood for sex, an orgasm can effectively stimulate your contractions. Sperm contains prostaglandins which are chemicals that actually help your body prepare for labor.
Nipple stimulation induces oxytocin which stimulates the uterus to contract. Raspberry leaf tea, pineapple, and curry are also believed to induce labor.
Even though most of these measures are safe, there is no evidence for their effectiveness. Consult your doctor before using them to know about possible risks to your baby.
Your Baby at 40 Week of Pregnancy
This is the moment you have been waiting for! You're at the end of your pregnancy and your baby now probably weighs from six to nine pounds and measures between 19 and 22 inches.
You will notice that your baby is wearing a leftover travel dust consisting of blood, lanugo, vernix, and amniotic fluid. Make sure to say hello to your newborn, since he/she will likely recognize the sound of your voice. You will also notice that your precious baby is still curled into the fetal position and it will take a while before your baby realizes that he/she actually has room to spread out.
Pregnancy Week 40 Tips
Make sure your hospital bag is packed to avoid last-minute stress. If you've had enough of being pregnant and want to induce labor, discuss the options with your doctor.
Make sure to launder all of your baby's clothes and blankets, because they are often treated with chemicals to preserve their color and texture.
These chemicals are harmful to your baby’s sensitive skin. Also make sure to create a list of people you want to call when your baby is born.