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Pregnancy Week 40


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Fetal Development Images - Pregnancy  40
Week 40 fetal development image showing the fetal growth of your baby to date. Medical Illustration Copyright © 2008 Nucleus Medical Art, All rights reserved

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Your Baby's Development This Week

The average baby weighs right around 7 1/2 pounds and is about 20 inches long. Boys tend to be larger. Your baby is 15% fat, meaning it's not easy to regulate that temperature and stay warm. Don't worry, the hospital will help you keep baby warm in those first couple days. Up to 75% of baby's body is water. Baby's nails have grown so much that you might just need to clip them soon after birth. Many newborn gowns have little sleeves that fold down over the hands to prevent baby from scratching him or herself. Don't be surprised if at birth your baby's breasts seem rather swollen, even boys are affected by hormones during birth and have little breast buds. Baby's bones have hardened some, except for the skull. The skull remains softer to allow for bones to overlap and contract during birthing process. There will also be two soft spots, or fontanelles, on top of the head which will close up within several months. The downside to the flexibility is an odd shaped, or most often, cone-shaped head for the first few days of life.

Pregnancy Symptoms You May Feel During Week 40

About half of all pregnancies last past 40 weeks, but most will end at 42 either with going into labor on their own, or by being induced. So the end is in sight! However, don't believe tv and movies. Most labors do not begin with water gushing. Rupture of membranes prior to labor starting only happens 15% of the time. And usually it's not a gush, but more of a trickling slow leak. However, once the water has broken, labor will begin. In fact if it doesn't within 24 hours, most doctors will induce. Some doctors will give you a little more time for labor to start naturally, but not beyond 48 hours due to risk of infection. You've likely dropped a pound or two, and you might either feel a rush of energy as you await labor, or perhaps feel very tired, but most likely the only thing you can think about is "Will baby be here today?"

Visit With the Obstetrician

As you near the end of the pregnancy, and still haven't started labor you might start wondering about induction. Inducing labor isn't done for convenience reasons, but only for medical necessities. Conditions that might call for induction include gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, hypertension or bleeding. Also, if the doctor is concerned about the baby's well being, due to lack of activity, fetal heart rate, or concerns of whether the baby is getting enough oxygen. Pregnancies are rarely allowed to continue beyond the 42nd week, as the placenta will not be able to support the baby past that time.

When inducing labor, doctors will typically use a medication, such as prostraglandin suppository in the vagina to help jump start labor. Another medication that will start labor is oxytocin, usually administered through an IV, and will be carefully monitored as it can stimulate too hard of contractions which will lead to needing pain management medications. Another method for starting labor is artificially rupturing the membranes. It will also allow for direct monitoring then of the baby through the scalp.

Preparing for Baby

While you'll be sure you couldn't forget a single detail of your baby's birth, all the excitement and fatigue and life itself will obscure some of the memories so make plans now to record it all. You can take photos and videos, being sure to record only what you will ALL be comfortable sharing in the future. (We've all seen the videos that desperately needing some judicious editing!) But writing down the birth story will be something you'll be thankful for later, and so will your child. Set the scene. Note what kind of day it was.

  • What did you do earlier in the day.
  • Did you have a dinner out? Where? What did you have?
  • Did you go to the movies? What did you see? What was the weather?
  • The news? Did someone tell you that this would be the day the baby would be born?

Funny little details will become part of your family story that you will all love remembering, and sharing. There are loads of placing on the internet to record your birth story. Make sure you print out the story and keep it in the baby's memory album. Include little items such as the theater ticket stub, or the menu from the restaurant, and so on. Have the front page of the newspaper laminated to keep with the birth story. You'll be glad you archived the special day later. If you don't you'll be disappointed how quickly the little details seem to disappear from your memory.

Pregnancy Lifestyle

The watched pot not boiling? Two words for you: distraction and relaxation. Do whatever you can to pleasurably pass the time. If you enjoy doing things in the nursery, then by all means go to it. If you like doing crossword puzzles, sharpen the pencils and go for it. If you love window shopping, then hit the mall. Do whatever you can to distract yourself and relax. Go out with friends, especially the ones who avoid calling you everyday and asking if there's any news. Soon you'll be plenty busy with baby and your new lifestyle as tired mommy so enjoy these last few days!

Pregnancy Week 40 Comfort Meter

I feel absolutely wonderful!
I feel pretty good!
I could be feeling better
UGG I feel terrible!


Showing 1 - 10 out of 20 Comments
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Guest Feb 23, 2018 08:40:17 PM ET

What should I do, I'm 44 weeks pregnant?

Autumn Aug 19, 2018 03:47:26 PM ET

Oh gah, you should not have been aloud to go past 42 weeks!

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Bee Sep 4, 2017 01:48:50 AM ET

What do I do, I am past 40 weeks and feeling so tired but no labour pains.

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Alexis B Sep 5, 2016 07:15:02 PM ET

I'm 40 weeks and 2 days and I haven't had any type of contractions or any other pain. My baby is moving a lot and I'm very tired.

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ma B Mar 26, 2015 09:17:35 AM ET

The doctor's sonar said I’ll give birth on the 26th March 2015, and when I calculate from the day I conceived its correct. But, the clinic said something else. The truth is, I had irregular periods before, so I can't remember the exact date I saw my period, but I sure remember when I conceived, which was on the 3rd July 2014 . I hope my lil angel just comes today. I’m really tired.

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Ready4baby Sep 26, 2014 12:52:54 AM ET

41 and 1/2 weeks, and I'm so overdue!! :( Mom's not happy!!!!!!!!

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Babybelliz Sep 26, 2014 12:49:45 AM ET

I love being pregnant!

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brittany Jun 7, 2014 02:48:55 AM ET

My baby was due on the 4th of jun and he hasn't come yet. my water hasn't broken yet and my belly hurts off and on. When should I go to the hospital?

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helen Mar 20, 2014 01:36:23 PM ET

Am I going to be pregnant forever???!!!

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Guest Jul 31, 2013 06:42:40 AM ET

My daughter was due saturday.she is now 40 w 4 d and i am very worried for her, this is her first pregnancy. She worked full time and never called i to work sick, so far she has done great, but like they say whe your doc givs you that due date and you are left to hurry up and wait, oh man, this is exhausting is extremely tired and cant seem to rest. She is worried that she has not delivered yet???? What to do?

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Guest Mar 5, 2013 03:55:42 PM ET

Aim 40 week pregnant baby not movie

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