40 Weeks Pregnant – what to expect

Now you're 40 weeks pregnant, this week is all about keeping track of contractions, what to eat during labour and how to keep your baby name a secret 'til the big day...

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Watch our video to see what your baby looks like this week

Your baby’s reached the official end of the gestational road. Fascinating fetal fact to ponder in your pre-labour moments: every baby’s skin is white right now – whatever colour they’re going to end up – because skin pigmentation doesn’t kick in till just after birth.

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So what’s happening to your body this week?

Blimey O’Reilly, the end of pregnancy is nigh! And every twinge and twang between your chest and your knees is tripswitching a whole nervous heap of ‘is this labour or isn’t it?’ thoughts.

It doesn’t exactly calm the nerves to know that you’ll probably get a fair few cramps and tightenings – maybe over several days – before you get any proper labour contractions. But, generally speaking, you can tell the real ones from the preamble because the real ones come more and more regularly, and feel more and more intense.

How long it takes to go from the first proper contractions to ‘active’ labour (midwife-speak for being well on the way to the actual birth) varies hugely from woman to woman, but, basically, if you’re not really able to speak when they’re happening, it’s probably time to call your midwife.

Our MFMer’s 40-week bump of the week

Are you taking pics of your changing bump in these late stages? Check out other MFMers’ belfies in our 40 week bump gallery.

Did you know? Your baby’s now the length of… a party-size pizza

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This week, your baby measures 51.2cm from head to heel, the same as a 20″ pizza!

And is around the weight of… 4 hardback books

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Your baby now weighs around 7lb 11oz (3.5kg)… cor!

4 things you might need to know this week

MFMers’ tip of the week from our forum

“Don’t answer the phone. Seriously. I got fed up of telling people that, no, the baby wasn’t here yet!” – Serena82

Want to share your pregnancy with others going through the same as you? There’s a birth club for your due date – take a look

Is it safe… to eat during labour?

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Yes, it’s not just safe, it’s actually a good thing, advises midwife Anne Richley. Let’s face it, you’ve got a job of work to do and you need food and drink to keep your energy up.

“Don’t bother with sugar-free,” says Anne. “Toast and jam or a banana can go down well when you need an extra boost.” If you’ve heard differently, that’s old news. It used to be that eating and drinking while giving birth was frowned upon in case you ended up needing an emergency C-section under general anaesthetic.

But most caesareans now don’t need a general (they’re done with a spinal or epidural anaesthetic) so this is no longer an issue.

Except there are a few exceptions – of course. If your pregnancy is high risk, if you do need a general anaesthetic, or you’ve been given an opioid pain-relieving drug, such as pethidine, you’ll have to resist the jam and bananas.

Our preg recipe for week 40 – Papaya, beansprout and mange tout salad

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Why papaya is great for your baby

A well-ripened papaya delivers very nicely, thank you, on the vitamin C and E and fibre front. It’s also said to be good for relieving heartburn, if your baby’s size and position means your stomach’s still being squashed into acidy rebellion.

In some countries, papayas are regarded with some suspicion in pregnancy, as an unripe papaya is thought to stimulate uterine contractions – but, at your stage of pregnancy, they actually may be quite welcome!

See the full recipe and… get someone else to cook for you!

Baby namer – do you like these Bard-inspired names?

By now, you’ve probably got your shortlist of names at the ready even if you’ve not decided yet. We thought we’d give Shakespeare the last word in baby names if you’re still looking for ideas.

Jessica
It’s thought Jessica was actually invented by playwright Shakespeare – he used the name for Shylock’s daughter in The Merchant of Venice. It could have come from biblical names Iscah or Jesca and means God beholds in Hebrew.
Celeb baby-name-check: Kate Capshaw Spielberg named her first daughter Jessica.

Romeo
Romeo is the starcrossed lover in Shakespeare’s great romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. Romeo means a citizen of Rome in Italian and is pronounced Rom-ay-oh  in its native Italy.
Celeb baby-name-check: Victoria Beckham named her 2nd son Romeo.

For some last-minute inspiration, check out our Baby Names section.

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With your due date looming, we’ve got one more week’s worth of info for you (find it below!) There’s also plenty more helpful expert advice and top tips for once your baby is born…

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