Week 40 pregnancy symptoms

You’re so near the end of your pregnancy now as you enter the 40th week of your pregnancy

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  • Your pregnant body

    Week 40 is usually the last of your pregnancy.

    Signs of labour may include:

    -  waters breaking,

    - regular contractions that increase in length and strength,

    - a ‘show’ - the plug of mucus that has been sealing up your cervix coming away as a jelly-like discharge.

    Most mums-to-be worry that they won’t recognise the signs, but don’t worry - you will!

    Pain relief is a much discussed topic, but perhaps one that isn't spoken about so much is analgesics. This drug is used to reduce pain of contractions, but because they do have to pass through your bloodstream, they do affect your baby. They are given intravenously and take effect in 2 to 15 minutes and last between 2 to 4 hours. They will relax you and you may feel sleepy and disorientated and your baby will feel drowsy too.

    Gas and oxygen is recommended as it is more controllable short term pain relief, as it takes 15 to 30 seconds to take effect but it only lasts for about 1 minute. Also known as entonox, gas and oxygen does pass through to your baby but it is cleared from your baby's system after the birth.

    Now find out what you should do this week...

    Learn more about how your baby's developing with 40 weeks pregnant in pictures and check out our week by week pregnancy guide.

    Find out what symptoms you had at 39 weeks pregnant and what you can expect from your final week.

  • What should you do this week?

    This week, try not to stress about your due date. You are probably starting to get pretty bored of being pregnant and impatiently waiting for labour to start. The majority of babies are actually born outside of their due date and it's particularly common for first babies to be born after it's passed. In fact, about half of all babies are born after their due date. Your baby won't be considered technically post-term or late until you've reached 42 weeks.

    Miscalculation in the due date is one common reason for babies being born 'late' and your doctor will take this into consideration before deciding whether to induce labour. Another important consideration is whether the baby appears to be doing well or suffering from the placenta being too old to properly provide for her.

    If you are keen to push for an induction yourself when your due date has passed then bear in mind that induced labours are medically managed labours from the outset and have a higher caesarian section rate. There are all sorts of theories about how to induce labour naturally from a bout of lovemaking to the clinically proven effects of drinking raspberry leaf tea, a uterine stimulant.

    Learn more about how your baby's developing with 40 weeks pregnant in pictures and check out our week by week pregnancy guide.

    Find out what symptoms you had at 39 weeks pregnant and what you can expect from your final week.