Now that you're 40 weeks pregnant, you're still technically in month 9 of pregnancy (even if it feels like longer).

Your little one is fully prepped for life outside the womb, with all systems (including organs and reflexes) a go.

You're in good company if you've passed your due date: About 1 in 3 pregnancies will hit the 41-week mark!

Your Baby at Week 40

At a Glance

Dry skin alert
Dry skin alert
Since your baby has already shed most of her vernix, the waxy coating that acted as a moisturizer, some dry spots may appear on the skin.
Past your due date?
Past your due date?
If baby hasn't arrived this week, you're in good company: An estimated 30 percent of pregnancies proceed past the 40-week mark.
Talk to baby
Talk to baby
Be sure that you and your partner talk to your little bundle a lot after baby makes her grand entrance. She'll likely recognize the sound of your voices!

40 weeks pregnant is how many months?

If you're 40 weeks pregnant, you're in month 9 of your pregnancy. It's almost time! Still have questions? Here's some more information on how weeks, months and trimesters are broken down in pregnancy.

How big is my baby at 40 weeks?

Right now, your baby probably weighs anywhere from 6 to 9 pounds and measures between 19 and 22 inches — though tons of perfectly healthy babies are born smaller or bigger.

The end of pregnancy

At 40 weeks pregnant, you’re at the official end of your pregnancy. You, or actually the placenta, are still providing the antibodies she'll need to fight off infections for the first six months of her life.

But if you plan on breastfeeding, your milk will provide more antibodies to boost the immune system — especially colostrum, a thin, yellowish precursor to breast milk that's super rich in antibodies and feeds your baby for the first few days postpartum.

Meeting your baby

The first thing you're likely to look for when your new arrival makes that dramatic — and possibly fashionably late — entrance: proof positive that your baby is actually a boy or a girl.

That major mystery solved once and for all, you'll also notice that baby, besides being cute as can be, is wearing a little leftover travel dust consisting of blood, vernix, lanugo and amniotic fluid.

From your baby's perspective, you'll look a bit blurry — at birth, babies' central vision is still developing — but that's okay. Just be sure to say hello to your new arrival, since your baby will very likely recognize the sound of your voice and your partner's.

Your newborn may love being swaddled

You'll notice your little one is still curled in the fetal position, although her arms and legs may flail a bit. That's because after nine months in such cramped quarters, it'll take a while before your baby realizes she has room to spread out. 

And because it's the only position she has really known, it's a comforting one to be in. That's also why so many newborns (though not all!) like to be swaddled — it reminds them of your uterus.

Your Body at Week 40

baby size at 40 weeks pregnant

Will you go past your due date?

When will your body know it's time to deliver this baby? Just because your due date is marked with pen on your practitioner's chart and red marker on your calendar doesn't mean that Mother Nature's gotten the memo.

About 30 percent of all pregnancies last longer than 40 weeks, and it's anyone's guess when yours might end. Thankfully, your practitioner probably won't let it go longer than 41 weeks.

When (and if) your water will break

One event that's not guaranteed before the onset of labor is your water breaking — the rupture of the amniotic sac surrounding your baby the last nine months.

By now, you've no doubt lost a night or two's sleep over when and where it will happen. You've probably heard or seen horror stories about an inconvenient — no, make that humiliating — time and place where someone's water broke, like in the middle of a busy sidewalk at lunch hour or at a jam-packed mall on a Saturday morning. But your reality show will probably be a little different.

First, fewer than 15 percent of women experience a rupture of the membranes before labor begins, and second, if your water does break in public, it's less likely to come as a torrential tidal wave and more likely to come as a slow leak, trickle or small gush.

One thing you can be pretty sure of if your water breaks before your contractions have started: Labor will likely begin in earnest within 24 hours. Either that or your practitioner will start it for you within 24 hours.

How can you tell if your amniotic sac has ruptured? Amniotic fluid is usually colorless and odorless. If you notice fluid that looks yellowish and smells of ammonia, you're probably leaking urine. Another test: You can try to stem the flow of the fluid by squeezing your pelvic muscles (Kegel exercises). If the flow stops, it's urine. If it doesn't, it's amniotic fluid.

If your water breaks and the fluid is green or brown, be sure to call your practitioner right away. It could mean that your baby has had a bowel movement (meconium) in utero.

Labor fears

Many women share an unfounded fear of not being able to actually birth their baby. It does seem implausible that something so big — a 6- or 7-plus-pound watermelon — could squeeze through such a little space, but that's exactly what happens most of the time.

Mother Nature knows the drill, and the majority of newborns are pretty well-matched to the size of their moms.

And your vagina knows what to do too — it stretches considerably during childbirth and then, miraculously, tightens up again. You can help that process along by doing your Kegels faithfully both before and after you deliver. Even your baby knows what to do — by molding that still-pliable head to fit through that tight squeeze. So don't worry!

Pregnancy Symptoms Week 40

Braxton Hicks contractions
Braxton Hicks contractions
Changes in fetal activity
Changes in fetal activity
Cervical dilation or effacement
Cervical dilation or effacement
Pelvic pain
Pelvic pain
Leg cramps
Leg cramps
Nesting instinct
Nesting instinct

Tips for You This Week

Ask about inducing labor

Talk to your health care provider about when, why and how you might be induced. Unless there are health or medical reasons to induce, it's not typically recommended before week 39 of pregnancy. Many doctors induce around week 41.

Have a backup plan for a home birth

Home births can be safe for those with low-risk pregnancies, but if you need to be induced — or if you or your baby need more medical assistance — you may need to go to a hospital after all.

If you do want a home birth, talk to your practitioner about when you might need to be transferred to a medical setting, and how the delivery will proceed from there.

Shave safely

Feeling a little extra furry these days? Shave those legs with caution — and a lot of nick-protecting shaving gel — since A, your balance may be off, and B, you probably can't see beyond your belly. Make sure the razor you use is new so you'll be less likely to draw blood.

A definite no-no: shaving in the shower, where a slip-up could be serious.

Think about hydrotherapy

Like hypnobirthing and massage, hydrotherapy is a complementary or alternative pain reliever that’s used to relieve pregnancy aches and pains and can also come in handy during labor.

When the contractions are upon you, you may want to soak in a warm bath or shower, or have warm or cold compresses placed on your lower back or pelvis. Or you may choose to labor in an actual tub and let the warm water soften your contractions.

Once it’s time to start pushing, however, you’ll want to climb out of the bath. Babies born underwater are at risk of several potentially serious complications.

Do a mini workout

Don't have the energy for a full sweat session? Do a mini workout.

Turn from side to side, slowly twisting at the waist, letting your arms swing freely. You can also clench your butt and hold for a count of two, then release. Try doing 15 or 20 arm swings and butt clenches — it'll make the time pass and tone your muscles in the process.

Keep busy

Baby on the brain? It's hard to think of anything else when your due date has come and gone — a week ago. But you know what they say about a watched pot — so in an effort to keep your mind off your tardy baby and keep you busy, try to have something planned every day (note: watching the clock tick doesn't count!).

Take a walk (which might even help get your contractions going), spend some time focusing on self care (you may not have the chance once baby's on board), watch a movie or two, make sure your fridge and freezer are stocked with ready-made meals. Oh, and tell your friends and family to stop calling every day. Remind them that no news is…no news.

Try to relax when the contractions come

Of course you're as excited and nervous as can be, but it's important to try to relax as much as you can during the first phase of labor — you'll need to save your strength for later on.

If it's nighttime, do what you can to get some sleep, since you won’t be able to when your contractions become more insistent. If it's daytime, keep yourself busy. Try taking a walk, which might even kick up the contractions a notch. Just don't stray too far from home, and don't go anywhere without a cellphone.

Don't worry about obsessively timing contractions at this point — you may just get frustrated if you try — but do check periodically to see whether they're getting closer together. Most people head to the hospital as the first phase of labor ends and the second phase begins.

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You're Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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