Your Pregnancy Week 40

Reviewed by James Brann, MD
Learn about your symptoms and changes during the 40th week of pregnancy.

Your Baby

By 40 weeks pregnant most babies are ready to come out, weighing in at over 7 1/2 pounds and measuring as much as 19 - 21 inches long. Did you know some babies will topple the charts at over 10 pounds (though this is uncommon)!

Changes in Your Growing Baby

Your baby is ready to come out and greet you. Your baby will have little room to move about during the final weeks of pregnancy and is likely strongly considering making a move if he hasn't done so already.

Your Body's Development

You probably feel quite large at this point. Now you can stop thinking about growing. Your weight gain and size have slowed considerably in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Most women find they feel quite tired and a bit clumsy by now. Remember however in no time at all you will be greeting your newborn.

Changes in Your Body

Congratulations! You have made it to 40 weeks pregnant. While many women will delivery sometime this week others may find they pass their due date and go on to deliver in the next two weeks. Remember that due date prediction is not an exact science though due dates do offer your doctor strong guidance about your babies potential delivery date. It is often hard for doctors and parents alike to predict the exact date their baby will be delivered, but many have fun trying.

Some baby's prefer to stay in a little longer, while others feel ready to come out a bit early. It's really hard to say.
Some women start thinking about natural induction of labor if they haven't had their baby by 40 weeks pregnant. If this is you there are some important considerations you should note before trying any methods. Some are very safe and quite fun while others have drawbacks. You should be aware of the potentials risks and benefits of any natural labor induction method before trying one. Here is a brief summary of some of the more common labor inducers:
  • Walking - Walking is not just a labor inducer. It will help lift your mood and spirits and provides a great form of exercise. Walking can however stimulate labor or encourage labor to progress once it has started by helping contractions become more regular. You've probably seen many photos or movies with women in the labor and delivery ward walking the halls. That's because walking helps your baby move farther into your pelvis in preparation for delivery.
  • Sex - Your partner will probably appreciate this one. Semen actually contains natural prostaglandin's which can help ripen your cervix in preparation for delivery. Orgasms also release oxytocin in the body which can help trigger contractions. It's worth a try and if nothing else will help relieve the stress and anxiety of waiting for baby.
  • Spicy cuisine - Some people swear by spicy foods for inducing labor. There is no exact recipe you can follow that will work every time, but certain spices including cumin are thought to trigger labor in some women. This is also a safe albeit often heartburn inducing way to try and induce labor.
  • Nipple stimulation - You should never try nipple stimulation unless you are under the care of your healthcare provider. Nipple stimulation is a very strong method of inducing contraction in the body. Nipple stimulation can lead to prolonged contractions which may stress your baby, hence you should get your doctors approval before trying and may even have to be monitored while trying this. If you are using nipple stimulation be very certain you stop stimulating when you reach a contraction to avoid hyperstimulating your uterus.
  • Castor oil - This is a bad tasting but traditional method of inducing labor that requires you swallow some castor oil. Castor oil generally smells and tastes very bad, but can help loosen the bowels and cause contractions in the colon which can stimulate the uterus to contract in turn.

Remember that your baby will come when your baby is ready to. Be sure you check in with your doctor before trying any natural induction technique to ensure that you are doing things safely. Any time now you will be welcoming your tiny bundle of joy into the world!

Video: What to Expect from the 40th Week of Pregnancy



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