40 Weeks Pregnant: Hang in There!
40 Weeks Pregnant: Baby at 40 Weeks
It is week 40 of your pregnancy! Bet you are pretty ready to…play ball! Your baby is around 2.5 to 4 kg by now; the average baby is 3.5 kg at birth. She has hair on her head (or maybe just peach fuzz), eyebrows, eyelashes, a cute little nose, fingernails, and toenails. Her hands can grasp, her mouth can suck and swallow, and her lungs, heart, and stomach are ready. She has been peeing into your amniotic fluid for months, but she has yet to take her first bowel movement. If she does so before birth, it can be a sign of foetal distress. You would notice it if your water breaks and is smelly or discoloured. It is theorised that babies can also poo in the womb if they are post-term because their digestive system is mature.
Meconium, this first bowel movement, is made up of amniotic fluid, foetal cells, and lanugo, the layer of hair that covered her in the womb. You will be cleaning it off your newborn for a few days. As she drinks milk, her poo (you will become very, very familiar with her poo!) will gradually lighten and change colours. A healthy breastfed newborn’s poo is yellow, liquidy, and seedy-looking. A healthy formula-fed newborn’s poo is light brownish and pasty, like peanut butter.
Size of baby at 40 weeks pregnant: Your baby is about 2.5-4.5 kg and the size of a watermelon.
40 Weeks Pregnant: What to Expect
Still pregnant? Hang in there. The majority of women deliver in the week and a half following their due date, though we are aware that every day feels like an eternity. Your baby is sitting deep in your pelvis, and all that pressure is making your vulva feel very swollen. ‘Lightning crotch,’ or sharp shooting pain, is caused by this pressure.
Unless your baby is breech or transverse, her head is pushing up against your cervix, already starting to thin and dilate. Dilation can take a long, long time and you might not feel it happening. If you are curious, your healthcare provider can check your progress.
Vaginal secretions have increased, but keep an eye out for something that looks sticky, like egg whites. This is your mucus plug. It can come out all at once, or bit by bit, and it is a great sign that labour is approaching. Bloody show, or pinkish or red-tinged mucous, is another indication.
If your water breaks, call your healthcare provider right away; labour is likely right around the corner. In the case of PROM, or premature rupture of membranes, your healthcare provider or midwife will tell you how long you go before inducing labour. That is because your bag of fluids protects your baby from infection, and the more time that passes after rupturing, the more you risk infection.
40 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms:
Common symptoms during your 40th week of pregnancy include:
- Braxton Hicks contractions
- Leg cramps and pelvic pain
- Nesting instinct
- Cervical dilation or effacement
- Changes in foetal activity or baby ‘drops’
40 Weeks Pregnant: To-Do List
Enjoy time with your partner: Everyone is probably telling you to ‘sleep while you can’ or to fit in activities that are hard to do once the baby arrives. Easier said than done, especially if you are 40 weeks pregnant! But there is truth to it. After the baby comes, you will be busy around the clock. Go out to dinner, see a movie, and visit with friends.
Ask for postpartum support: And be specific. If family and friends are offering to help, tell them exactly what you need—meals, walking the dog, or just holding or rocking the baby to give you a break. (You might want to add SNOO Smart Sleeper to your ‘village.’ It is like an extra set of hands after grandma leaves!)
Compile questions for your first paediatrician appointment: You will need to know how often you should visit during those first few months. You may also want to ask questions about immunisations, breastfeeding tips, etc.
Read up! It is easy to get wrapped up in labour and delivery, but that is merely one day (or a few days) in the lifetime of your child. Here are 5 must-read articles that will make the first few days with your baby easier:
We also highly recommend reading (and watching!) The Happiest Baby on the Block. The book answers tons of new parent questions and the DVD is hands-down the best way to learn the 5 S's baby calming technique!
Quote of the Week
People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one. — Leo J. Burke
Have questions about a Happiest Baby product? Our consultants would be happy to help! Submit your questions here.
Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider. Breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for babies. It is important that, in preparation for and during breastfeeding, mothers eat a healthy, balanced diet. Combined breast- and bottle-feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of a mother's breastmilk and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. If you do decide to use infant formula, you should follow instructions carefully.