Pregnancy week 40

Ting-tong! You reach your official due date this week. If you already delivered your baby, congratulations mama, you made it! If you are still awaiting labor, relax, you are very close.

Last Updated: 22 October 2020

Pregnancy week 40
Pregnancy week 40
What’s happening to your baby?

At week 40 pregnancy, imagine your baby of the size of a pumpkin or a water melon. She has grown to whatever and how much ever she can inside the womb. And is about to take the exit! But, said that, her growth doesn’t stop when your pregnancy hits the week 40 mark. Her hair and nails continue to grow. Her lungs are developing as well.

If you show no signs of labor (or even if you do), your OB might want to check how the baby is doing inside. This is to assess whether it is advisable or not to wait for natural labor to begin. A Biophysical profile (BPP) which includes a nonstress test (NST) is the common test to check on the baby.

Biophysical Profile (BPP)

In a biophysical profile, five areas of the baby’s well-being get monitored. The results of each of the five areas are assigned a score from 0-2. An overall score of 8 or above indicates good health of your baby which means you are good to wait for a week or two. A score lesser than 8, calls out for a decision about taking the baby out sooner than the expected arrival date. Here are the 5 health areas of the baby assessed in a biophysical profile:

Fetal heart rate: In what is called the nonstress test, sensors placed on the mother’s belly will monitor baby’s heart rate for 20 minutes. The results can indicate if the heart rate is normal, abnormal or atypical. A normal nonstress test for score 2, should read 110 to 160 beats per minute with two accelerations in 20 minutes. Acceleration equals to 15 beats per minute for at least 15 seconds. If the test result shows less than two accelerations in 20 minutes, baby could be under fetal distress and needs immediate medical attention.

Fetal movements: Three or more movements from your baby in a time period of 30 minutes qualifies for a score 2. It must be noted that, for both fetal movements and fetal heart rate monitoring, a baby who is sleeping could give invalid results.

Fetal breathing: In a 30-minute period, if your baby does rhythmic breathing for 30 seconds, a score of 2 is given to fetal breathing.

Fetal muscle tone: If baby flexes her limbs back and forth at least once during monitoring through an ultrasound, the test gains a score of 2.

Level of amniotic fluid: As long as the amniotic fluid level in the womb is at the desired level, it indicates a result of a score of 2.

What’s happening to your body?

You are there, almost there! It could be tonight or early morning tomorrow or the week to follow; but you are almost there. Keep watching your body closely for contractions and make sure to time the contractions when they happen. Have your partner by your side to assist you in noting down the contractions.

This week, your doctor would do a quick examination down there to check how dilated your cervix is. Even if you had no contractions yet, your cervix might be at least 2 centimeters dilated because of the pressure from the top.

It is still alright if you do not go into labor by the end of this week, as long as your doctor had done baby’s biophysical profile and found everything to be alright. We understand what it feels not to have your baby in your arms when it is time to have had. Know that approximately 70% of babies are born past the due date. This could be because due dates are calculated based on the last period date and not on the exact ovulation date. No one can know for sure when ovulation happened or when you got conceived. So, a delay of a few days past the expected due date should not be a thing of anxiety.

Check your baby’s car seat installation, pack your hospital bag, sleep well (we mean, make a try) and stay calm for you need to keep the excitation alive to meet your much-awaited baby bundle very soon!

Tips and advice for Pregnancy Week 40 What can you do to bring on labor?

No medical technique has been declared for pregnant moms to try on themselves to kick-start labor. However, here are a few known ideas we have from around the world (which doesn’t vouch for safety or effectiveness) which you can discuss about with your midwife or doctor:


Of course, sex isn’t anywhere on your mind now. Yet, it is believed that having an orgasm can be a forerunner of contractions to begin. Also, prostaglandins present in semen are found to induce labor though there aren’t detailed studies on the two. If it doesn’t hurt or put you down, you can try it one last time before you become a family.

Nipple stimulation

Gently rubbing the nipples in a circular motion is known to release oxytocin, the hormone that can induce labor. However, proper studies have not proven it though. Be aware that over-stimulation can have the risk of adverse effects.

Long walk or climbing staircase


A long, leisure walk at full-term is said to set your uterus go into contractions as is gentle climbing of a staircase.

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