Join   Sign In  

40 Weeks Pregnant: Week by Week Pregnancy

Symptoms, Tips and Fetal Development


Welcome to the day you’ve been waiting for: your due date! That magical day will arrive sometime this week. Don’t put too much stock in it though – fewer than 5% of women deliver on their due date, with 30% of women going past their due date. No matter, what’s important is that your baby is almost here! Here's what may happen when you’re 40 weeks pregnant.

Baby at 40 weeks pregnant

Hello, baby! Your little likely weighs between six and nine pounds and measures 19-22 inches. Are you so ready to meet him or her?! Yay!

It's important to remember that a due date is just a guideline and not a hard and fast rule. If your baby doesn't seem like she's planning on making an appearance any time soon, try not to stress. Enjoy these last few days with your partner and try to rest as much as possible.

When your baby does arrive, s/he will spend many of those first weeks still curled into a fetal position. This is thanks to nine months of conditioning – living in such a cramped space will do that to a person! – and familiar comfort (that position feels good). S/he will also demonstrate some serious stretches though, and they are so sweet to witness!

Your body at 40 weeks pregnant

The day you've been waiting for has finally arrived – you're 40 weeks pregnant! You probably wake up every morning wondering if today's the day, and you're likely not alone, if the phone call and text messages from family and friends blowing up your phone are any indications! Take some time for yourself if you're having trouble sleeping or are feeling anxious.

Contractions are some of the most obvious signs of labor when you're pregnant at 40 weeks. If these contractions are increasing in intensity and happening on a regular basis, such as every ten minutes, it's time to call your doctor or midwife and get yourself to wherever you plan to deliver.

40 weeks is how many months pregnant? 

At this stage in your pregnancy, you're ten months zero weeks (10m0w) pregnant. 

How big is my baby at 40 weeks pregnant?

a watermelon is roughly the size of a week 40 human embryo

At 40 weeks pregnant, your baby is the size of a watermelon and measures about 20 inches in length and around 7.5 pounds. 

Common symptoms at 40 weeks pregnant

These are some of the most common symptoms women report at 40 weeks pregnant.

  • Increased vaginal discharge: You may notice more vaginal discharge than normal. Thick discharge or stringy mucus that’s clear, pink, and tinged with blood is common in the weeks before labor.
  • Loss of the mucus plug: As the cervix thins and relaxes in preparation for labor, you may lose the mucus plug that’s been in place at the cervical opening to help keep bacteria from getting into your uterus. If this happens you could notice a jelly-like plug and/or heavy discharge come from your vagina. Surprisingly, the loss of mucus plug and the beginning of labor aren’t directly related; it doesn’t mean that labor is imminent. You can lose the plug two weeks before labor starts, immediately before, or anytime in-between.
  • Heartburn and constipation: Your poor digestive system is under literal pressure from the weight of your belly. This can cause heartburn and constipation, although it may lessen if the baby drops and takes some of the pressure off of your stomach. 
  • Leaking breasts and inverted nipples: Your boobs may be leaking colostrum, the thick and creamy milk that nourishes babies in their first days. During pregnancy, your nipples might have inverted. This is not a big deal and breastfeeding is still possible; speak to a lactaction consultant for guidance.
  • Waddling when you walk: Doing a duck walk? Blame the seven-pound baby that’s taken up in your pelvis.
  • Need to pee frequently: Your uterus’ pressure on your bladder means you might need to get up a lot in the night. You might also notice some leaking when you laugh, cough, or sneeze.
  • Clumsiness: Your body’s preparations for labor are overruling your body’s need for balance, as the hormone relaxin works on loosening the ligaments that are holding your three pelvic bones together. This ligament relaxing will allow your pelvis to open wider during childbirth, but it may cause some clumsiness, back, and pelvic pain, and loose-feeling limbs in the meantime.
  • Dilating cervix: Your cervix may have begun to open or dilate a little in anticipation of labor, when it needs to reach 10 centimeters before you begin pushing. Not all women’s cervixes dilate ahead of labor, however. Your doctor may check you at your weekly visit and declare you’re not dilated even one centimeter, and you could go into labor that day. Other women walk around dilated to as much as a five for a couple of weeks before labor begins for them.
  • Pain “down there:” Occasional twinges or sharp pains in your vagina are normal at this point, as are aches and feelings of pressure in your perineal area (between your vaginal opening and anus) as your baby’s head presses on the pelvic floor. 
  • Ruptured membranes: In about 10% of women, their amniotic sac (their “water”) breaks or leaks, signaling the start of labor. The fluid may come out as a trickle or a gush. If your water breaks, contact your care provider because s/he will want to evaluate you right away.
  • Slowing weight gain: Your baby is putting the brakes on rapid weight gain, and your body might have too. Allegedly some women even lose a pound or so at the end of pregnancy (we don’t know these women!).
  • Feeling tired of being pregnant: At this point, you might be really quite over being pregnant. Some factors contributing to this feeling probably include having trouble sleeping, always needing to pee, and feeling huge.

Pregnancy checklist at 40 weeks pregnant 

Here are some things you might have on your list at 40 weeks pregnant. 

  • Kickstart labor: If it doesn't seem like labor will ever start when you're 40 weeks pregnant, try to kick start it with some natural remedies. Raspberry leaf tea, having sex, or just walking a bit are all believe to help get labor going so you can meet your baby as soon as possible.
  • Have your membranes stripped: By 40 weeks pregnant, your healthcare provider may suggest s/he strip your membranes to try to induce labor. This procedure involves your caregiver running their finger along the inside of your cervix, pulling it away from the amniotic sac, and then stretching your cervix open. There’s not a lot of evidence that this works, but it’s worth a try, right? Some providers will want to schedule an induction, while others will want to wait until you're more overdue before talking about inducing you. Ask your healthcare provider what they recommend for you and your baby.
3 32 Weeks Pregnant: Week by Week Pregnancy

You Might Like