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40 Weeks Pregnant: What's Going On

Pregnancy week 40

Your baby is curled up tightly inside your uterus, waiting to greet you. Time to reflect upon your wonderful nine-month journey together and what lies ahead. Get the details on pregnancy week 40.

Your Baby at 40 Weeks Pregnant

A mind of his own. While you may be expecting a new family member this week, your little one might prefer a few more days or weeks hanging out in the delicious coziness of your belly. If this is the case, your healthcare provider will keep a close eye on his weight gain and tolerance to contractions, to be sure all is well. 

Cramped quarters. Your baby is curled up tightly inside your uterus. He doesn't have much choice — it's pretty crowded in there. If your baby is in a breech position (feet or rump down), your provider may attempt to turn him. If that doesn't work, your provider may discuss with you the possibility of a Cesarean delivery. 

Chubby cherub. Your little one has probably reached his final birth weight and length. The average baby is 7.5 pounds and 20.5 inches long (boys are a bit bigger than girls). Fifteen percent of his body weight is now from fat, which will help him stay warm in the outside world. His organs and body systems also ready for life outside the womb. He's stored starch in his liver to be made into glucose after birth, and he has extra fluid on board as well. Like a camel, he's well equipped to get through birth and until your breast milk comes in.

Your Pregnancy at 40 Weeks

Last-minute indulgences. You're not considered late until you hit 42 weeks. Though you're eager to greet your child, try and consider these final days as an opportunity for a little self-indulgence. Treat yourself to a pedicure or take in a movie. Read a book from cover to cover. Once your baby is born, you'll be on call 24 hours a day and it'll be a while before you can squeeze in a little me-time.

Guess my age. Once your baby is born, you may discover that her true age is different from the one you calculated based on your last menstrual period or time of conception. Right after birth, a pediatric nurse or your baby's healthcare provider will evaluate her gestational age based on physical features and neurological development. It will be interesting to compare these different dates!

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Elaine Zwelling, R.N., Ph.D.