illustration of developing human baby at 40 weeks

40 weeks pregnant

For information about the final weeks of a twin or multiple pregnancy, tap here.

The day of days is here! Many folks will have given birth by the time their due date arrives, but if your little one wants to wait, that’s usually just fine unless there are complications. Rest assured, Baby can’t wait to finally meet you! 

How’s Baby?

Most babies are born no later than two weeks after their due date, because longer gestation could result in an overweight baby, infection, or a stillbirth. Only about 5% of women have pregnancies that last beyond three weeks after the due date. Baby is at full birth size by now, which on average is about 8 lbs and 20.2 inches tall — about the size of a fresh watermelon — although these measurements can vary significantly even among healthy babies.

Baby’s skull is not yet fused together so that the plates of it can overlap when they’re squeezing their way out of the birth canal during labor. This means that your little one’s head might come out looking a bit cone-shaped after birth, but it will even out pretty soon as she grows.

It’s true that Baby won’t immediately recognize your face when they first leave the womb and enter the world — after all, at that point, your baby hasn’t seen anything that isn’t the inside of your uterus. But Baby will prefer the sound of your voice to all other sounds, and they’ll be able to recognize it because they’ve been listening to you for months now and learning what you sound like from inside the womb! So as you greet your little one in the outside world, talk to Baby in a soothing, nurturing manner, and show lots of love. Your sweet baby will be just as excited to finally meet you as you are to meet them!

What's new with you?

If you haven’t delivered your baby yet, it’s entirely normal to be feeling a bit desperate for Baby to just move out already at this point. You might be dealing with back pain, or feel otherwise uncomfortable this week. If you don’t deliver by the end of this week, your healthcare provider might talk to you about inducing labor, but most healthcare providers won’t suggest induction unless it looks like longer gestation could lead to complications for you or Baby. 

Besides a medically induced labor, there are a couple of things you can try that may speed up the process. Staying active, stimulating your nipples, and engaging in sexual intercourse are some popular ways to try and induce labor from the comfort of your own home. While many of these have not been scientifically proven to have an effect, talk to your provider if you are considering trying to move things along on your own. Keep in mind also that your due date is just a rough estimate of when Baby should arrive, and it’s okay if your little one prefers to operate on their own timeline.  

Even if you’re finding it hard to wait for your little one, in reaching your due date it is worth celebrating just how far you and Baby have come together. Congratulations, you made it!

Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team
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