40 Weeks Pregnant
40 Weeks Pregnant
If you’re 40 weeks pregnant, you may have already passed your due date and your baby could be arriving any moment now.
It’s not something to be worried about if you miss your expected date of birth, as only a small percentage of women actually deliver on the specified due date – a week or so before or after is usually considered within the normal range of the end of the gestation period.
You probably have a lot of questions at 40 weeks pregnant. What are the signs of labor? How big is my baby at 40 weeks? Will I still feel any pregnancy symptoms? This article answers all of these questions. Read on for more.
40 Weeks Pregnancy Symptoms
Although you’ve reached the end of the pregnancy cycle, it’s still possible to feel symptoms this week. Here are some of the most common signs of pregnancy at 40 weeks:
- Leg Cramps
Leg cramps are more likely to occur in the third trimester and at 40 weeks pregnant, you’ll probably suffer from this uncomfortable symptom. The cause of leg cramps during pregnancy is disputed. Some people say that it is caused by muscle fatigue from the extra weight that you are carrying around, others think that it is caused by a lack of calcium or magnesium.
- Cervical Dilation and Effacement
Cervical dilation is the opening of the cervix, while cervical effacement is the thinning of the cervix. As delivery gets closer, both dilation and effacement are likely to happen, though the timing is different depending on the woman. Your medical practitioner will check for cervical dilation and effacement at your weekly check-ups to see how close you are to labor.
- Mucus Plug
A mucus plug is a gelatinous blob of mucus that serves as a barrier to the opening of your uterus. You could lose your mucus plug at any moment leading up to the delivery, and it is a strong sign that you are ready for labor.
- Pelvic Pain
If you’re experiencing pelvic pain as a 40-weeks pregnant symptom, you’re in good company. Around 80 per cent of pregnant women will experience pelvic pain at some point throughout the pregnancy. The cause of the discomfort is related to a process called lightening, which is the name given to your baby moving downwards into your pelvis as it prepares for delivery.
- Fetal Movement
At 40 weeks, your fetus inside your womb is growing restless. He or she wants to try out its new limbs and muscles as soon as possible and will likely be wriggling and moving its way around your uterus in preparation. It’s common for fetal movements to become more frequent in the final stages of pregnancy.
Your Body at Week 40
One thing that you can do with your body at week 40 is start taking kick counts to check that your baby is moving okay. If you’re experiencing regular kicks and fetal movements, then you shouldn’t worry about this. If you’re concerned that your baby isn’t moving enough, however, it’s a good idea to go and take a moment in a quiet area to concentrate on your baby’s movements – it may just be that your baby is quieter than others and you can’t hear or feel its movements.
Another thing to look out for is your water breaking. Although it is often portrayed in media as a torrential downpour occurring at the most inconvenient time, only a small percentage of women actually experience their water breaking before they go into labor. If you are unsure on how to tell if your water has broken, look out for amniotic fluid that is colourless and odourless. If the fluid has a yellowish tint, you may just be leaking urine.
Another pregnancy symptom that affects your body in week 40 is an increase in back pain. Although it’s likely that you’ve experienced back pain all throughout the pregnancy, it often intensifies towards the end of the third trimester as a result of the uterus expanding and the growth of your baby.
Baby Size at Week 40
Your baby was already full-term last week, and it’s unlikely that it will have grown much in the past week. Now, your baby is as big as a modest sized pumpkin. It will weigh between 3 to 4.5 kg and will measure in the range of 45 to 50 cm.
Your baby is very ready to leave your womb now, but you shouldn’t worry if you have already past your expected due date, around of a third of all pregnant women go beyond the week 40. If you’re getting inpatient, it is possible to electively induce pregnancy, though this is generally not recommended unless you have discussed it at length with your doctor.
Week 40 Pregnant Ultrasound
If you’ve reached this stage of the pregnancy, your doctor may decide to schedule a week 30 ultrasound. An ultrasound at this stage will be able to detect the levels of amniotic fluid in your system and help the practitioner determine whether your baby is better in utero or out of the womb. If the latter is decided, your doctor may start proceedings to induce labor.
Your stomach will feel extremely tight at 40 weeks pregnant and you will likely notice an increased pressure in your lower abdomen region.
You can expect to go into labor at any point. Your baby is now full term and your body is prepared to deliver. Look out for the signs of labor outlined earlier in this article.
It’s normal to be completely exhausted and fed up of pregnancy at week 40. After carrying around your baby for so long, it’s common to want it all to be over so you can finally hold your baby in the outside world for the first time.
Your stomach will be at its biggest right now. Your uterus has expanded to account for the growth of your full-sized 40-weeks-old baby, and you’ll likely have stretched, dry skin across your abdomen.
Tips for Week 40 of Pregnancy
- Pack a Hospital Bag
Getting a bag ready to take to hospital may not seem high on your list of priorities, but with labor around the corner, it’s best to have one prepared so you can take some home-comforts with you to the hospital.
- Stay Hydrated
If you’re feeling bloated or have swollen joints, drinking more water flush away excess waste products and ease any discomfort.
- Keep Your Mind Occupied
It’s easy to become obsessed with labor and when and where it’s going to begin, but this obsession can drive you crazy. Try and keep your mind occupied with other activities that you like to do. It will help to relieve anxiety and reduce stress in what is, no doubt, already a stressful week.