40 Weeks Pregnant (Fetal Age 38 Weeks)

Your pregnancy is about to end. Ready to meet your baby?

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40 weeks pregnant baby
40 weeks pregnant, if you haven't already, it is time to start learning about giving birth and preparing your birth plan.

Your baby is ready to be born, but that doesn't mean labor will start when you want it to. Many moms will have to wait another week or two. Tired of waiting? Learn about inducing labor naturally here.

What to expect about...

Your Baby

just born baby 40 weeks

Depending on your own genetics and body composition, your baby can range in size as a full term infant from 7 pounds and above. Some babies are born smaller while others can tip the scales at 9 or even 10 pounds!

Estimating an unborn baby's size can be tricky. While some doctors can use methods such as ultrasound measurements and estimation, more often than not a baby's size will surprise everyone once they actually arrive.

40 weeks pregnant, there is practically no room left in your uterus for your baby, and you may feel more pressure as your baby stretches and continues to move within. Some will say that your baby's movements will slow down during this time due to lack of space, but you should still be able to feel regular movements each day.

Your medical practitioner may have you keep a record of counted movements to ensure regular activity during this time in your pregnancy.

The exact time that your new family member arrives is not always as expected. Many babies will either show up before or even after the predicted due date, with very few actually being born exactly on time.

Do not get anxious if you have reached the magical 40-Week mark and are still waiting for your new baby. Remember that when your baby is ready, she or he will enter the world and not a moment before!

Also, the way we calculate due date, may actually not be completely correct, as research has shown it to vary. Already in 1990 (reference below), researchers re-examined the length of pregnancy for American women. Results indicated that for first-time Caucasian moms, an average pregnancy lasts 274 days from conception (i.e. approximately 288 days from the first day of your last period). That is 41 weeks, not 40 weeks!

Second time Caucasian moms gave birth approximately 269 days after conception, which is a few days after the end of week 40. Non-Caucasian moms had slightly shorter pregnancies, for example the average pregnancy for African-American women was 266 days, counted from conception.

If you want to learn about what a newborn baby might look like, you'll find information here.


Mom's Body

40 weeks pregnant belly
Heavy and uncomfortable. And impatient and nervous. 40 weeks pregnant, you may feel a variety of emotions that continue to build as you prepare for the new arrival.

Many women find themselves extremely uncomfortable and unable to do many daily tasks easily such as tying their shoes, carrying groceries or even climbing a small amount of stairs. Remember that the end is near!

Wondering about what your body will be like after pregnancy? Read about the post pregnancy body here.

Some women will be impatient and want to try to bring labor on themselves through natural methods. Although there may be some things you can try, nothing is guaranteed, but it may be fun to see if one activity will work over another if you have been waiting for some time.

Nipple stimulation, walking, intercourse and even acupuncture or homeopathic methods are just a few options that women have tried in the past, some with positive results.

If you want to learn more about naturally induced labor, here are tips on several ways to get labor started.

Do not try any self induction methods on your own without the guidance of a medical practitioner. While some options may seem harmless enough, you should always check with your doctor or midwife before consuming cod liver oil or any herbal remedies in order to start your body for the birthing process.

Each baby is an individual, and soon you will find yourself overwhelmed with an entirely new person to hold and love as part of your new family. Enjoy the last week or so of pregnancy. This is the final time that you are preparing your little one for life on the outside.

Visit our section about giving birth here.

For all you need to know about baby care, click here.

Week 40 Pregnancy Video

If seeing means believing for you; watch this video explaining the 40th week of pregnancy in pictures and words.

Diary of a Daughter

What's it really like being 40 weeks pregnant...? Here's a true diary from a mom who should have been 40 weeks pregnant. (Me..!)

Diary Of A Daughter

Soon two weeks old and still very sleepy. But wonderful :-)

My belly is becoming smaller, but I still look a bit pregnant! But hey, I'm a NEW MOM - soooooo cool!

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Related Content

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MayoClinic (2011), Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
Joanne Stone MD and Keith Eddleman MD (2008) The Pregnancy Bible: Your Complete Guide to Pregnancy and Early Parenthood
Nilsson, L; Hamberger, L. (2004) A Child Is Born.
Soderberg, L. (2010) Mammapraktika. B Wahlstroms.
Mittendorf et al (1990), The Length of Uncomplicated Human Gestation, Obstetrics & Gynecology, V.75, N.6, June 1990

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