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40 weeks pregnant: What to expect

Your baby at 40 weeks pregnant

Your baby is the size of a small pumpkin (length: 20-21”; weight: 3.5kg).

A mind of his own. So while you may be expecting a new family member this week, your little one might prefer a few more days or (dare we say it?) weeks in the cosiness of your belly. In this case, your midwife will keep a close eye on you and book a 41 week appointment to talk about tempting the baby out!

Cramped quarters. Baby is curled up tightly inside your uterus. If your little one is in a breech position (feet or rump down), your obstetrician may attempt to turn him. If that doesn't work, you will probably be offered a Cesarean birth.

Chubby cherub. Your little one has probably reached 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 the total body weight is now from fat, which will help baby stay warm in the outside world. Organs and body systems are also ready for life outside the uterus. Your baby stored starch in his liver to be made into glucose after birth, and he or she has extra fluid on board as well. Like a camel, your little one is 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, take in a movie or read a book from cover to cover. Once your little one arrives, you'll be on call 24 hours a day and it’ll be a while before you can squeeze in a little me-time.


Did you know? Are you excited to hear your baby’s first cry? You may not realise that your newborn baby’s tear ducts won’t actually make tears until he or she is about a month old.

Quick tip for mum: You’ve made it to the big day! How will you know when labour starts? Three classic signs are: regular contractions that become closer and longer over time; a mucus vaginal discharge (called “mucus plug” or “bloody show”); or your water breaking (called “rupture of membranes”). Check in with your midwife if you experience these signs.

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