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40 Weeks Pregnant: Symptoms, Baby Development, and Tips!

Table of Contents

40 Weeks Pregnant

Table of Contents

40 Weeks Pregnant, what we like to call the final lap of pregnancy,  is when the baby can be expected to pop out any minute. The baby has now fully grown and would measure 20.4 inches long and weigh an easy 7.6 pounds. To put things in better perspective, this should be right about the size of a balloon.

In your 40th week of pregnancy, it is also common for mothers to be looking out for natural induction methods.

What is happening with the baby in the 40th week of pregnancy?

A baby ideally fully develops by the 40th week. They are now all set to come out and while most do by this time, it is normal for some to take a little bit longer in there. Here’s what is happening to your baby in the 40th week of pregnancy-

1. Slower development and growth

A baby’s development and growth curve, by the time it’s the 40th week of pregnancy, starts to flatten as they literally have expanded as much as they could in the little womb.

2. Nail Growth

Having said that the baby’s growth curve flattens out, there is this one part of the curve that knows no chill! Your baby’s finger and toenails will still be lengthening, even in the final week of the term!

3. Hardened bones

By the 40th week, your baby’s bones completely harden, except those of the skull. The skull hardens only after birth because you would need the crown of the baby to remain soft for the delivery process.

What happens to a mother’s body in the 40th week of pregnancy?

The last few days and weeks of pregnancy can be expected to be a little more challenging and uncomfortable as your belly is now full-blown and your body is constantly in preparation to spurt out the baby. 

1. Braxton Hicks Contractions

The infamous Braxton Hicks is here to say hi! Braxton Hicks contractions aka false contractions are your body’s way of preparing you for the upcoming labor. Your body might feel tightened and these false contractions will soon become the real deal. If you feel that the contractions are becoming longer and more obvious, it might not be Braxton and you should hit up your doctor immediately!

2. Leaky breasts

Around the 40th week, women might experience the flow of a  thick, yellowish liquid from their boobs. Commonly misunderstood as milk, this liquid is actually called colostrum and it is going to be your baby’s power-packed dose of nutrition for the initial few days after birth.

3. Heightened discomfort

At around the 40th week, it is common for mothers to experience an all-prevailing pain in the body. Your back, pelvic area, head, hips, everything will feel like it’s in pain. Just hold yourself in there a little bit more; try to stretch your body and get yourself as comfortable as possible in the bed.

4. Will you exceed your expected delivery date?

When will your body naturally signal the onset of labor for this baby? The mere presence of a due date penciled onto your healthcare provider’s chart or highlighted on your calendar does not guarantee that Mother Nature is on the same page.

Approximately 30 percent of pregnancies continue beyond 40 weeks, and the precise conclusion of yours remains uncertain. Fortunately, your healthcare provider is unlikely to permit the pregnancy to extend beyond 41 weeks.

5. When Will Your Water Break?

The timing and circumstances of your water breaking during pregnancy can be uncertain. Only a minority of women, less than 15 percent, experience this before labor begins, and if it happens in public, it’s usually not as dramatic as you might fear, often appearing as a slow leak or small gush. If your water breaks without contractions, labor will typically start within 24 hours, or your healthcare provider may induce it. To differentiate between amniotic fluid and urine, consider the color and odor, with amniotic fluid being colorless and odorless. If the fluid is green or brown, contact your practitioner promptly, as it could indicate meconium in the amniotic fluid.

40 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms Not to Ignore

When you are 40 weeks pregnant, you are going to see many symptoms. However, these are the 40 weeks pregnant symptoms not to ignore:

1. Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a common issue during pregnancy, with your digestive system going from slow to loose. This week, experiencing loose bowel movements may serve as an indicator that labor is approaching.

2. Pelvic Pain

Experiencing pelvic pain this week? It could be due to your baby dropping, with their little head putting pressure on your hips and bladder. Consider booking a massage with a certified prenatal massage therapist when you can, as it can bring relief to this discomfort.

3. Leg Cramps

Leg cramps can be a mystery, but it’s likely the extra pregnancy weight, particularly at this stage, is putting strain on your legs. When a cramp strikes, try gently flexing your ankle and toes back towards your shin for relief.

40 Weeks Pregnant with No Signs of Labor?

While you might have become rather used to carrying your baby in the womb, you would obviously want to see them in their human form by the 40th week. So, if you are 40 weeks pregnant with no signs of labor yet, here are some natural methods of inducing labor in the 40th week of pregnancy-

1. Walks

Though this might not sound very appealing given all the bodily aches, a brisk walk around your neighborhood can help induce contractions!

2. Nipple stimulation

Nipple stimulation is one of the most effective ways of inducing labor and this is also why it is recommended to not try this on your own at home. The contractions might come out too strong for you to be able to handle on your own at home and hence, nipple stimulation is advised only in the hospital or under the guidance of your doctor/midwife.

3. Sex

Though there is no scientific study yet to back sex as a means of contraction, it still might get things moving in there. Besides, sex is safe up until your last week of pregnancy and as long as your doctor has not clearly told you to keep yourself from it, there’s no reason you should not give it a shot!

4. Hydrotherapy

Think about using hydrotherapy for pain management during pregnancy. Like hypnobirthing and massage, it’s an alternative method to relieve discomfort and can help during labor. You can use a warm bath, shower, or warm/cold compresses on your lower back or pelvis when contractions begin. But, when it’s time to start pushing, it’s crucial to exit the bath to avoid potentially serious complications from underwater childbirth.

5. Very Light Workout

Lacking the energy for a full-fledged workout? Opt for a brief, mini exercise session instead.

Rotate your body gently from side to side, engaging your waist and allowing your arms to sway naturally. Additionally, tighten your glutes and hold for a brief count of two before releasing. Aim for about 15 to 20 arm swings and butt clenches – it’s a simple way to pass the time while giving your muscles a quick workout.

Busting myths: Does castor oil help induce labor?

Drinking castor oil is one of the most commonly recommended methods of inducing labor. However, it is, in fact, more likely to give you a stomach ache and diarrhea than to get labor going.

What would your belly look like in the 40th week of pregnancy?

Compared to day 1 of your pregnancy, you, by the 40th week, would have gained an easy 25 to 35 pounds. Your belly will look full-blown or long-term’ and like it will burst off any moment. The baby would also be moving inside, just a lot less strong and definitive than the previous weeks because they don’t really have a lot of space left in there for movement anymore.

In the 40th week, it is advised to track a kick count and reach out to your doctor if you might have a reason to believe that something is wrong or unusual in the belly. 

Final Thoughts

The last few days of pregnancy, between the 39th and 42nd week (in case you get to that stage), undeniably might feel the longest. All the anxiety and excitement would now be at its very best and you, as the mother, might not have it in you to wait anymore. However, this is your baby in question and it only makes sense to wait for it to come out when it has to on its own – even if it is a little bit longer in your case.

Eat, sleep, and relax as much as you can because heaven knows it, once the baby pops out, there’s only so much relax-time you would be getting going ahead. Spend time doing things you like, reading, or probably pain to keep yourself distracted and to spend some last days of ‘me time!’

FAQs- 40 Weeks Pregnant: What To Expect

1.What is a non-stress test?

A nonstress test is usually recommended to expecting mothers at around the 40th week of pregnancy. With a nonstress test, a heart rate monitor will be placed on your belly to measure the baby’s movement and heart rate for about 20 minutes.

2. What to expect from my ultrasound in the 40th week of pregnancy?

Your ultrasound in the 40th week of pregnancy will be much like all the other ultrasounds through the term of pregnancy. The scan will be done to measure the baby and the levels of amniotic fluid in your body.

3. Is the 40th week the final week of pregnancy?

The third trimester of pregnancy begins in the 28th week and lasts until week 40 - the final week of pregnancy.

On behalf of the editorial team at Parenthoodbliss, we follow strict reporting guidelines and only use credible sources, along with peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and highly respected health organizations. To learn about how we maintain content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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