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  • Pregnancy Symptoms Week 40: You Can Be in Labor But Not Feel It Yet!

    You are officially nine months pregnant — and not overdue yet!
    by Rachel Perez .
Pregnancy Symptoms Week 40: You Can Be in Labor But Not Feel It Yet!
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Your due date is here, which falls on the 40th week of pregnancy! Your hospital bags are packed, the car seat is installed, and everything else is ready waiting for delivery day! Make sure your phones are fully charged, and your car has gas (it happens!). We know it feels like you have been waiting forever for your little one to arrive, but your baby will get moving as soon as he's ready.

    Pregnancy signs Week 40

    Now your due date is an estimate, and you can give birth one to two weeks before or after your due date. And no matter how much you walk or have sex to encourage labor — which should only be done upon the advice of your doctor — your baby is likely to dictate when it's time.

    Your doctor may intervene and induce labor only when there is a medical need to do especially if there is a health threat to your and your baby. Your doctor might break your water bag with a sterile instrument or intravenously administer a synthetic version of the hormone oxytocin to stimulate contractions.

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    As long as your weekly prenatal checkups show that you and your baby are doing well, however, experts recommend to let labor begin and progress naturally even if it means more waiting.

    At 40 weeks pregnant, you should alert your doctor the moment you notice these labor signs:

    Bloody show

    You may see a pinkish or red-tinged, gelatin-like substance on your undies. It's your mucus plug, which is a sign that your cervix is thinning, and you're about to go into labor. It can happen as early as two weeks before you even experience contractions. Once your cervix thins and dilates, your contractions will get stronger, longer, and more regular.

    Contractions

    False labor contractions or Braxton Hicks are temporary, irregular, and are relatively manageable in terms of pain. Real labor contractions are those that become more regular, stronger, and longer over time. If you're out of breath after each contraction, and you feel discomfort on your back and abdomen, or if your contractions are occurring every 10 minutes and last about 50 seconds or longer, get to the hospital ASAP.

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    Watery discharge

    If you notice clear, watery discharge, even when it's not a big gush of water, head to the hospital immediately. Your water bag may have ruptured, and you need to deliver your baby as soon as possible. Not all women experience this, though.

    Alert your doctor and get to the hospital emergency room immediately if you experience any of the following:

    • bleeding
    • your baby isn't moving as much
    • elevated blood pressure
    • severe headache
    • blurred vision
    • sudden swelling
    • nausea
    • vomiting

    These are warning signs that indicate pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia and placenta problems, and they warrant immediate medical attention.

    Pregnancy symptoms Week 40

    You're looking forward to the day uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms will finally go away. These pregnancy symptoms will likely persist until you give birth, so hang in there, mommas!

    Breast milk leaks

    Your placenta is now passing antibodies to your baby to protect him from illnesses once he's born. These antibodies can also be found in your first breast milk called colostrum. This thick, yellowish, milky discharge may already leak from your breast before giving birth.

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    Pelvic pressure

    Feeling abdominal pressure and pain in your pelvic area, lower abdomen and back, and hip is due to your baby heading down into your pelvic, which is creating pressure. Your muscles and ligaments are also loosening up help your baby make his way into this world.

    Sleep issues

    Fatigue, leg cramps, pain, and discomfort are the main reasons you're having trouble getting some shut-eye. Pillows can help you sleep on your side more comfortably. Try milk before bedtime to relax and help you sleep.

    Anxiety

    It's normal to feel nervous and excited at the same time, especially if it's your first time. Take comfort in the fact that you've done all you can to prepare yourself, your family, and your home for your new baby. Trust (don't fear!) that you can do this as much as any other mom who has given birth before you.

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    Your baby's development on Week 40

    At 40 weeks pregnant, your baby is as big as a watermelon or a pumpkin. The average full-term baby measures more than 20 inches long and weighs a little over seven and a half pounds. If your baby weighs anywhere from six to nine pounds and measures between 19 and 22 inches, then he's reached his birth weight.

    Your little one may not be growing as much as he did during the past nine months, but he is growing his hair and nails and maturing his lungs even more. He has shed his skin's waxy covering and those tiny velvety hairs that kept him warm, which means he's almost if not ready for the real world.

    Your doctor will order an ultrasound to check your placenta, amniotic fluid levels, and your baby's biophysical profile, which includes a non-stress test to help your doctor check your and your baby's condition.

    If everything looks good, you only have to wait and monitor your baby's movements during his waking hours.

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    Your to-do list on Week 40 of your pregnancy

    This is the week you've been waiting for, but if your baby doesn't arrive this week, don't panic. About 30% of pregnancies outlast 4o weeks of pregnancy. And rememebr, your baby can't stay in your womb forever! You can occupy yourself witht the following.

    Have more questions about birth?

    Do you need to shave? What happens when you accidentally poop while pushing the baby out? If you haven't covered these topics with your doctor, now is the time. But it's more important to remember your birthing class notes, such as what your body goes through during birth and what causes the pain, so you can address it through your labor positions and focus on what keeps you calm.

    Talk to your doctor about inducing labor

    If you've reached 40 weeks without any problems, chances are your doctor will advise waiting until your labor begins naturally. Discussing inducing labor, even if it's nor included in your birth plan, with your doctor may help ease your worries. Keep in mind you're not overdue yet at 40 weeks.

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    Try a mini-exercise routine

    Engaging in a mini-workout for preggos might help begin and fast-track your labor, but it's not a guarantee you'll end up in the delivery room soon after. Preggy exercises are safe until birth but always check with your doctor first. If your doctor allows it, remember to take it easy and don't overexert yourself. If labor pains don't start, your mini-workout can help you get some sleep.

    Get ready for birth

    Birth plans, maternity leave, and hospital bags aside, some preggos put a water-resistant layer on their bed in case their water breaks. Have a timer ready to monitor your contractions. Make sure your postpartum care arrangements are in place.

    Relax! Don't stress!

    If you keep getting distracted by the whirling thoughts in your head, trying journal writing. Swimming can be relaxing for some preggos, but again ask your doctor's clearance. Brush up on your baby care notes! And while waiting for labor pains to start, talk to your baby. Beginning in the womb, your baby can sense your sounds and vibrations. Once he is out, he will know his mother's voice and will work to hear your voice better over unfamiliar female voices.

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    More on your week-by-week pregnancy:

    Pregnancy Symptoms Week 39: You Can Give Birth Anytime Now!

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