40 Weeks Pregnant

Did you know that about 50% of all pregnancies last longer than 40 weeks? For the past 39 weeks, the 40th week (post – date) marks as the deadline of gestation where most expectant moms find it mentally tough since she the baby will arrive anytime soon.


The mother in week 40

Some of the gestation symptoms that a mother – to – be has experienced during the previous weeks will still continue at week 40 such as the following listed below:

Week 40 symptoms

Braxton – Hicks contractions

Braxton – Hicks contractions are the irregular and painless tightening that begins at the top of the uterus and radiates downwards. These occur whenever the uterine muscles are flexing in preparation for labor and delivery.

These practice contractions serves as a nature’s way of signaling the body to gradually begin the process of childbirth.

Pregnancy week by week

If the contractions increase in intensity, frequency, and it occurred for four times in an hour, seek medical attention right away for it might be real labor contractions.

Pregnancy – induced diarrhea

As of this week, pregnancy – induced diarrhea may be a definite sign that labor will finally begin. Aside from that, here are the other causes of loose bowel movement during gestation:

  • Increased appetite
  • Excess water intake
  • Pre – natal vitamin intake (for some)

Leg spasms

Leg spasms are sharp shooting pain which radiates through the calves and up the legs. Though no research has been prove until now about what really causes the symptom, listed below are the various theories:

  • Pregnancy weight
  • Compressed blood vessels in the legs
  • Excessive phosphorus intake
  • Lack of calcium
  • Magnesium shortage

Nesting instinct

The energy spurt which urges an expectant mom to clean the house and organize stuff before labor begins is common at week 40.

Cervical dilation and effacement

Cervical dilation and effacement is the nature’s way of gearing up for delivery by providing an opening from the uterus to the birth passage.

Pelvic discomfort

If the unborn baby has dropped this week, his head resting in the pelvic region is the cause of the discomfort.

3rd trimester insomnia

3rd trimester insomnia (also known as sleep deprivation) is caused by a combination of gestation symptoms such as:

  • Frequent urination
  • Pre – birth anxiety
  • Acid refluxes
  • Leg cramps

Types of theoretical methods to induce labor naturally

Inducing labor naturally has not been proven safe and effective up until now. However, various theories still suggest the following theoretical methods below that are believed to do so:

Sex during pregnancy

Most medical practitioners suggest that having sex during pregnancy can induce labor naturally. This is because the semen contains prostaglandin, a hormone that is also included in induction medications.

Eating spicy food

An old wives tale suggests that eating spicy food stimulates the body to trigger uterine contractions. However, eating spicy food is only proven to heighten the chances of acid refluxes.

Drinking the castor oil

Did you know that drinking the castor oil heightens the chances of labor after 24 hours of consumption? Castor oil is a strong laxative which stimulates the bowels and trigger contractions.

On the contrary, castor oil also increases the chances that the unborn baby may excrete some meconium in the amniotic sac, which in turn, may lead to respiratory complications.

Stimulating the nipples

When the nipples are being stimulated (using the fingers, spouse’s fingers, or even a breast pump) the body releases a labor – inducing hormone named oxytocin.

However, experts say that nipple stimulation heightens the instances of overstimulating the uterus which risks the baby’s well – being to be monitored.

Long periods of walking

This theory suggests that an expectant mom who is always out and about burrows the unborn baby deeper in the pelvic cavity. This then increases cervical pressure which will eventually lead to dilation.

Undergoing acupuncture 

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medication which optimizes blood circulation and aids in cervical dilation. Some expectant moms say that undergoing acupuncture induced their labor naturally.

Contrary to that, studies show that acupuncture has no labor inducing effects.

Having her membranes stripped

Having an expectant mom’s membranes stripped is believed to induce labor naturally. Here is how membrane stripping procedure is performed:

  • An Ob – Gyne will sweep a finger around the cervix
  • Then the membranes of the amniotic sac are being separated
  • The membrane separation stimulates the body to release prostaglandin

Furthermore, studies show that many pregnant women went into labor just hours after their membranes have been stripped.

Taking some herbal remedies

Studies suggest that taking some herbal remedies has not been proven to bring positive effects during pregnancy. Like nipple stimulation, herbal remedies can also overstimulate the uterus.

Unfortunately, herbal remedies like primrose oil, which ruptures the membranes and increases the chances of longer labor.

Fetal development in week 40

Week 40 is the moment that the baby will be born. This is the much – awaited week where parents will finally find out what the baby’s gender really is. Furthermore, here are the following fetal developments which takes place in the 9th (and closing) month:

  1. Primarily, the placenta (unborn baby’s life support) continues to provide anti – bodies that he will need to ward off bacteria and germs for the first six months of his life. Then in the first few days of postpartum, the colostrum (precursor to breastmilk) continues to give him some richer anti – bodies.
  2. Right before the baby – in – waiting even makes his grand entrance; he already mastered all the skills she will use outside the womb. In line with this, he can instinctively find his thumb and suck it, just as how he will search for the nipple to latch on during breastfeeding sessions.
  3. The average fetus stretches for about 18.9 – 20.9 inches and tips the scales roughly at 6.2 – 9.2 pounds (although many healthy babies are born smaller or bigger). Moreover, the fetus’s exact size will only reveal itself at birth.
  4. Hair continues to grow on his scalp.
  5. Nails continue to extend on his toes and fingertips.
  6. Vernix caseosa, the greasy and cheese – like coating his delicate skin continues to slough off
  7. Right after birth, the newborn is still wearing leftovers of blood, vernix caseosa and lanugo shedding, amniotic fluid.
  8. His eHhhfdgEye vision is still a bit blurry right after birth. As a matter of fact, newborn babies can only focus about an inch away.
  9. NewboNeHis auditory senses can already recognize the sound of his parents once he is outside the womb.
  10. The newborn is always curled like that of a fetal position with his arms and legs flailing a bit. That is due to the fact that he was cramped inside a close quarters, and it will take a while for him to realize that he has all the room to spread out his body. With that being said, all curled up is the only and most comfortable position he has really known That is also the reason why newborn babies wanted to be swaddled since it reminds them when they are being cradled inside the uterus.

Types of fetal position at week 40

No matter what fetal position he currently is inside the womb, week 40 is the time where the unborn baby will finally be in the mother’s arms anytime soon. With that being said, here are the different types of fetal position in the final week:

Breech presentation

Breech presentation is when his rear end is down and burrowed deep in the pelvic cavity. This type of fetal position is when the mother – to – be’s will likely have a c – section delivery.


Longitudinal is when the fetus’ body presents an either straight upward or downward position.


Oblique is when the fetus presents a body that is slightly angled either left or right.

Anterior presentation

Anterior presentation is the most common fetal position. This is also considered as the easiest position where his head is down, facing the spine, and his body follows the curve of the belly and going through the birth passage.

Cephalic posterior

Cephalic posterior (also called as occiput) is when his head is downwards, facing the abdomen and rubbing against the spine which causes back pain.

Right or left posterior or anterior

The unborn baby’s body is leaned slightly to either left or right side

Pregnancy tips and to do’s

40 weeks of pregnancy marks as the closing week of the 3rd (and final) trimester. Having said that, this will also be the concluding week where an expectant mom will do the following tips and to do’s listed below:

Things to do during the 40th week of pregnancy

Having an internal exam

Having an internal exam is required when pregnancy is officially post – dated. The procedure is performed where the Ob – Gyne will check how dilated (openness is measured in centimeters) and effaced (thickness is measured in percentage) the cervix is, to predict when the estimated due date will be.

The cervix continues to dilate and efface during the 40th week and while in labor.

BRAT diet

BRAT (stands for banana, rice, applesauce, toast) diet is highly – recommended by health care providers since these foods are gentle on the digestive lining.

Pre – natal massage

A mother – to – be can still schedule a massage with a certified pre – natal massage therapist to alleviate pelvic discomfort. Add to that, having a massage also helps her to sleep soundly at night.

What to avoid in week 40


Vices are immoral practices which are very harmful for expectant mothers. Listed below are the following vices she must strictly avoid during gestation:

  • Drinking alcoholic beverages
  • Chewing tobaccos
  • Smoking cigarettes and/or e – cigarettes
  • Sleeping pill intake

Substances with caffeine content

Caffeine serves as a nervous system stimulant and a type of psychoactive drug (diuretic) which interrupts the sleeping schedule of both parties and triggers a more frequent urination. Apart from coffee, listed below are the following substances with caffeine content:

  • Chocolate
  • Soft drinks
  • Energy drinks
  • Caffeinated snacks and candies
  • Some tea

Beverages with high – sugar content

Beverages with high – sugar content draws water into the gastrointestinal tract which in turn, prolongs the effect of diarrhea. With that being said, here are the following beverages with high – sugar content she must avoid drinking:

  • Apple juice
  • Grape juice
  • Gelatin
  • Regular colas