40 weeks pregnant, Congratulations!!! You’ve successfully reached the end of your pregnancy journey, just about to enter into labor and delivery. For your information, your baby is now completely full term – filling your womb with little or no room to move around.
During this period, your hormones are surging and your body is rapidly getting ready for labor and your baby is not left behind also. He or she gets prepared to exit the amniotic comfort of your womb, to be with you face to face. It’s advisable to take time off-work to stay at home in pregnancy week 40.
By the time you’re 40 weeks pregnant, your baby’s reflexes are well coordinated. He or she starts blinking, turns his or her head, grasps firmly and responds to touch, light and sound. It’s difficult to predict the weight of your baby at this time, as babies gain weight at different rate at the end of pregnancy.
However, your baby will measure anywhere between 19 and 22 inches, and weigh between 6-9 pounds when you're 40 weeks pregnant, although some babies could weigh and measure smaller or bigger than the given average. Your baby continues to kick and punch, its movement will be decrease due to less room to move inside your womb and the movements may be felt more in your lower abdomen.
Most of the Vernix that protected your baby has disappeared now. Your baby has enough fat under the skin, and looks chubby. The placenta is still supplying the antibodies your baby will need and he or she kicks less, squirms and rolls more at the time you’re 40 weeks pregnant. By this time, your baby instinctively searches for its thumb and suck it. The bones of every baby and its head are soft and flexible in pregnancy week 40, so the baby can come through the vaginal birth canal easily.
The baby is getting ready for birth and lightening into head down position. If your baby doesn’t get into head-down birth position, don’t worry. It doesn’t occur with every pregnancy, sometimes the baby drops before or during labor. Besides, your healthcare provider can help to manually aid the baby into right presentation.
You’ll possibly feel many discomforts especially some aches in the pelvic area during pregnancy week 40. Back pain may increase while Braxton Hicks contractions may be more frequent and intense during this period. You may feel overly sensitive, anxious, restless and irritable. These feelings are normal. They disappear once you give birth to your baby.
As your baby reaches its birthing position, you may feel it easier to breathe. However, you get the urge to urinate more frequently, expect this to continue at the time you’re 40 weeks pregnant.
Your doctor checks the reactive heart rate and monitors your baby’s well-being by taking a nonstress test. This may be done as a part of BPP (Biophysical Profile), which consists of an ultrasound to look at your baby’s movements, including breathing movements, muscle tone and the amount of amniotic fluid surrounding the baby.
Biophysical profile also helps in finding any major congenital problems or evaluating high risk or overdue pregnancy. If the testing results are not reassuring, your healthcare provider may induce labor in pregnancy week 40 especially if the test results evinced the baby’s health is at risk and labor isn’t progressing.
Your breast becomes tender and larger at the time you’re 40 weeks pregnant. It’s the right time to buy a nursing bra. Ensure that the size fits you properly.
You may not like to eat at this time. Eating may cause nausea. However, you need nourishment and take nutritious foods that will give you energy in build-up for labor and delivery.
For most first-time moms, labor and delivery tend to take a longer time that can range from a few hours to several days. Get prepared and be informed. In any case, it’s important to follow your doctor’s advice for a safe delivery.
In case you baby decides to ignore your marked due date and opts to checkout of the womb later than pregnancy week 40, don’t be overly anxious or unsettled, it’s expected not to take longer than 1 or 2 weeks. About half of all pregnancies overshoot the 40 weeks duration and fewer than 5% of babies actually arrive exactly on the expected due date (EDD).