Get ready: At 41 weeks, you're due any day now (and your original due date may well have been a little off).

The upside? Your baby will arrive a little more alert — and with longer fingernails!

You've likely spoken with your practititioner about labor induction, but stay tuned for contractions or other signs that labor is near.

Your Baby at Week 41

At a Glance

Baby manicure
Baby manicure
Your baby’s nails will definitely need a manicure and pedicure with a pair of baby nail clippers or nail file after birth. By now, they’ve grown well past his fingertips.
You're not overdue yet!
You're not overdue yet!
Don’t worry, your baby is not considered overdue until 42 weeks gestation. Fewer than 5 percent of babies arrive on their due date.
Heart check
Heart check
Your baby’s heartbeat will likely be monitored this week through nonstress tests. His heart rate should quicken each time he moves.

41 weeks pregnant is how many months?

If you're 41 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 41 weeks?

At 41 weeks, your baby measures between 19 and 22 inches — about the size of a pumpkin!

Overdue baby?

It seems like your baby has opted for a late checkout, quite a popular option judging by the numbers. Fewer than 5 percent of babies are born on their actual due dates — and around 10 percent decide to overstay their welcome in Hotel Uterus.

Remember, too, that most of the time an overdue baby isn't overdue at all — it's just that the due date was miscalculated. That's okay — there's still work to be done at 41 weeks pregnant.

Why fetal stress hormones can be good

Gearing up for the big day is your baby's endocrine system, which is responsible for hormone production. Researchers theorize that baby actually sends some chemical signals (aka hormones) to the placenta to help trigger labor to begin — as in: "Get me out of here, Mom!"

Other hormones are standing by, too. During childbirth, your baby will produce more stress hormones than any other time in his life. And you thought you were stressed out now!

But those hormones will actually help your baby adjust rapidly to life outside the womb and help all those survival instincts kick in as he becomes untethered from the placenta that has provided support for the past nine months.

Baby's first breath

Another big milestone ahead for your baby will be taking that first breath of air. In fact, the first breath at birth requires considerably more effort than any breath your baby will ever take again. That's because the tiny air sacs in the lungs need to be inflated for the first time so that they expand to fully do their job of breathing for a lifetime.

Your Body at Week 41

41 Weeks Pregnant

Ready, set, go!

Meanwhile, your body is as ready for birth as it will ever be. By the time you're 41 weeks pregnant, your practitioner has probably discussed labor induction with you, but that doesn't mean that you won't still go into labor on your own; some babies just need to take their time. But here's the question you keep asking yourself: Will you know labor when you feel it?

Labor contractions

Chances are, you'll know it. But just in case you don't, here's a quick primer. Your water may break (though it may not) and you may notice pink- or red-tinged mucous, aka bloody show, just before labor begins.

Then you'll feel labor contractions — rhythmical waves of hardening and softening of your uterus — which can come on quickly and suddenly for some women and slowly and steadily for others. Typically, though not always, they start out further apart and then get progressively closer together.

Your first true contractions might feel like menstrual cramps or a low backache. Many times, the pain will begin in your back and radiate toward your front. But just as no two pregnancies are the same, no two labors are the same. And though there are such things as textbook labors, many break a surprising number of rules.

If you're feeling contractions but aren't sure they're the real thing, call your practitioner and describe them. It's likely that your doctor or midwife will be able to tell by the sound of your voice and a good description of your symptoms whether you're in labor.

Pregnancy Symptoms Week 41

Changes in fetal activity
Changes in fetal activity
More frequent urination
More frequent urination
Bloody show
Bloody show
Cervical dilation or effacement
Cervical dilation or effacement
Pelvic pain
Pelvic pain
Nesting instinct
Nesting instinct

Tips for You This Week

Overdue? Don't stress

You've passed 40 weeks, but that doesn't necessarily mean you're overdue. In fact, an estimated 70 percent of post-term pregnancies aren't actually late at all but a miscalculation of the date of conception and, as a result, the due date.

You might lose some weight

If you've reached the end of pregnancy, you've also reached the end of pregnancy weight gain. At 41 weeks, the numbers on the scale may not be going anywhere — or may even be going down.

This slowdown (or standstill) is actually one way that your body gets ready for labor — a sign that all systems are gearing up for the big event. Your body is busily ridding itself of fluid it won't need once its baby-making factory shuts down, which includes a drop in amniotic fluid as well as an increase in pee (and possibly poop).

You may also be losing weight because you’re sweating more — a habit that will pick up in the weeks after delivery. The first postpartum week, especially, will be a very damp one as your body steps up the sweat production to flush out all the fluid that’s accumulated over the past nine months.

Think about an epidural

About 2 in 3 women who deliver at a hospital opt for an epidural during labor and delivery. A mainstay of pregnancy pain relief, epidurals are numbing agents that can combine analgesics (pain relievers without the loss of muscle movement) with anesthetics (pain relief with a loss of sensation).

Usually, an epidural can be given as soon as you ask for it (and an anesthesiologist arrives to give you one), but because the shot will have to be given between contractions, it’s a good idea to ask for it relatively early in the labor process.

Know what to expect during labor

Try to stay relaxed and comfortable, and don't be shy about asking your coach for whatever you need to stay that way, whether it's a back rub, ice chips or a washcloth to cool your face. Remember, your partner or coach is going to have a hard time anticipating your needs — especially if this is your first go-around.

When your contractions become too strong for you to talk through them, you'll start your breathing exercises, if you're using them. In between contractions, try to change positions. Staff at the hospital will be on hand to time your contractions and monitor the baby's position and progress.

If you get an epidural, you'll be hooked up to an IV to maintain your fluids after it’s administered and potentially a continuous fetal monitor. Unless you have a walking epidural, you may not be able to move your legs very much, but try to change positions regularly if you can.

Try relaxation techniques

While you're counting down the hours before your baby is born, find ways to loosen up those tense muscles. Besides, it may be a while before you can relax again.

Tense your facial muscles for five seconds, then relax them. Do the same with your neck muscles, then your shoulders, working your way down your body.

And remember to breathe — slowly. Need more help relaxing? Listen to your favorite soothing tunes — i.e. no heavy metal — and start deep breathing again.

Minimize backaches in bed

A firm mattress can do wonders for an aching back. If yours is on the softer side, try placing a board under your side of the bed for the rest of your pregnancy.

Using a body pillow that’s at least 5 feet long — which can take the ache out of certain sleep positions — can also help you get comfy at night.

Take it easy while you wait

You’re likely champing at the bit now that your due date has come and gone. But be good to yourself. Rest and relax as much as possible. Get out for some fresh air and exercise every day if you can, but don’t push yourself too much — or worry too much either.

As long as you’re in close contact with your doctor and have a plan in case your little one needs a little nudge out into the world, all is fine. Pretty soon, you’ll be looking back on these days of freedom wistfully. So get in as much “me time” as you can now.

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.

Recommended Products

What to Expect selects products based on real-life testing conducted by staff, contributors and members our user community, as well as independent research and expert feedback; learn more about our review process. Prices and details are accurate as of the published date. We may earn commissions from shopping links.

Best Toys for Newborns, According to Child Development Experts and Parents
View All
Baby Einstein Flip for Art High Contrast Floor Activity Mirror
See Now Add To Amazon Registry
Best Toys for Newborns - Baby Einstein Flip for Art High Contrast Floor Activity Mirror
Melissa & Doug Soft Activity Book - Itsy Bitsy Spider
See Now Add To Amazon Registry
Best Toys for Newborns - Melissa & Doug Soft Activity Book - Itsy Bitsy Spider
Sassy Peek-a-Boo Activity Book
See Now Add To Amazon Registry
Best Toys for Newborns - Sassy Peek a Boo Activity Book
Mary Meyer Crinkle Me Elephant
See Now Add To Amazon Registry
Mary Meyer Crinkle Me Elephant

What Other April 2023 Moms Are Talking About

There are 39,559 active discussions happening now with other April 2023 parents-to-be.
Join in