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40 weeks pregnant - all you need to know

If you’re reading this, the chances are you’re still waiting for labour to begin. It will not be long now.

40 weeks infographic.

What does my baby look like in week 40?

Most babies put in an appearance between 38 and 42 weeks of pregnancy, so it’s not unusual to go past your due date.

The average baby is about 3-4 kg at this point - try to imagine a pumpkin, or a watermelon!

Remember that no matter how tight the fit is, you should be feeling baby move in the same pattern as they always have.

Movements do not slow down in late pregnancy.

Watch our film on why your baby's movements matter

Film published in Oct 2016. Review date Oct 2019

Your pregnancy symptoms in week 40

Swollen feet and hands

If your feet are swollen, try propping them up so they’re higher than your heart for about an hour each day.

Prop your feet up so they’re higher than your heart for about an hour each day

Do some stretches - point your toes down and release upwards, 30 times. Then circle your ankles eight times - both feet.

If your swelling is severe or comes on suddenly, is particularly in your face as well as hands and feet, or comes with a headache or problems with your vision, you may have pre-eclampsia and should call your midwife, hospital or doctor immediately.

What to do in week 40

Go to sleep on your side if you're not already doing so

When you reach your third trimester, the advice is to go to sleep on your side because research has shown that going to sleep on your back is linked to an increased risk of stillbirth. This advice includes daytime napping and night sleeping. Read more about safe sleep positions in pregnancy.

The membrane sweep

If you go over your due date, you might be offered a membrane sweep by your midwife.

It’s a way to help bring on labour without using any drugs.

Your midwife will put two fingers into the vagina and make a circular or sweeping movements in your cervix.

It happens at the antenatal clinic and takes around 10 minutes. It shouldn’t be painful but some women said they found it uncomfortable. It is normal to have a small amount of spotting afterwards so it may be helpful to bring a thin pad with you for afterwards.

Your antenatal care

You should have a routine antenatal appointment booked for week 40 and you should also have one booked for 41 weeks in case your baby doesn’t arrive on time.

It's important not to miss your antenatal appointments in these final weeks. If you do have a problem, your antenatal team can spot the warning signs early and take action straight away.

Find out more about your antenatal appointment schedule.

How is labour induced?

As many as one in five pregnancies in the UK can end in an induction - where labour is started artificially. Here’s what you need to know about induction of labour.

What if I don’t love my baby?

Some women feel an intense love for their babies when they are born, but for many others it takes a few weeks or even months to adjust and to grow into loving their baby.

Either way, it’s entirely normal. It doesn’t have to be love at first sight for you to be a great mum.

If you feel anxiety or depression now or after the birth, do talk to your doctor, midwife or health visitor.

Find out more about getting the help and support you need.

Waiting to give birth

It can be torturous. Your due date has been and gone, you feel huge and you’re tired of going to the loo every five minutes.

Only problem is it’s out of your control. Or is it? We asked mums what they think encouraged their baby out.

“For every day or two I went over my due date I gave myself a treat, like getting my nails done.” Emma, mum of one

Read more about your mental wellbeing in pregnancy.


NHS Choices. You and your baby at 37–40 weeks pregnant. (Page last reviewed: 31/03/2017 Next review due: 31/03/2020).

Macdonald S, Magill-Cuerden J (2012) Mayes’ Midwifery, 14th edition, London, Ballière Tindall

Heazell AEP, Li M et al (2017) Association between maternal sleep practices and late stillbirth – findings from a stillbirth case-control study. BJOG 2017;

Stacey T, Thompson JM et al (2011) Association between maternal sleep practices and risk of late stillbirth: a case-control study. BMJ. 2011 Jun 14;342:d3403. doi: 10.1136/bmj.d3403.

Gordon A1, Raynes-Greenow C et al (2015) Sleep position, fetal growth restriction, and late-pregnancy stillbirth: the Sydney stillbirth study. Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Feb;125(2):347-55. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000000627.

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    Last reviewed on June 28th, 2018. Next review date June 28th, 2021.

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    Please note that these comments are monitored but not answered by Tommy’s. Please call your GP or maternity unit if you have concerns about your health or your baby’s health.
    • By Diana (not verified) on 1 Feb 2020 - 14:50

      I'm In my 41st week now but I can still feel the movement of my baby.. is it normal

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Feb 2020 - 15:05

      Dear Diana
      Since you have noticed a reduction of your babies movements, I would strongly urge you to visit your maternity unit as soon as possible today if you have not already done so for a quick checkup.
      Don't forget to take your pregnancy notes with you. You should go to the Labour ward, Day assessment unit, or pregnancy triage unit. These are open 24 hrs a day,7 days a week. Please get yourself seen as soon as you can. Tommy's Midwife

    • By Sara (not verified) on 15 Jan 2020 - 19:11

      Am 40weeks And 14days nothing is happening how can I induce labour

    • By pinkie (not verified) on 26 Dec 2019 - 14:33

      40weeks 1day but no sign of labor im so worried

    • By Mariline (not verified) on 5 Jan 2020 - 04:29

      Thanks tummy for advice , wanted to correct ,am 14 weeks pregnant not 40,

    • By Precious (not verified) on 14 Dec 2019 - 14:27

      Im 40 weeks 4days and still no sign of labor. Both baby and I are healthy except for daily swollen feet and anxiety. Should I be worried?

    • By Rejoice (not verified) on 26 Nov 2019 - 23:04

      I am in my 40 weeks and no signs of labour. The worst thing is I hardly feel the movement of my baby. I'm so confused since I do not know what is going on. Can a scan from the hospital detect what is going on. More so, I have have cold and sore throat is it normal.


    • By Laura (not verified) on 27 Nov 2019 - 23:01

      If you can’t feel your baby, you NEED
      To ring your hospital Unit ASAP. They will ask you to go in immediately for monitoring. Please do not ignore reduced movements and dismiss miss
      It, it’s
      Simply not worth it

    • By Nonhlanhla (not verified) on 23 Nov 2019 - 18:00

      Hi, I'm 40 weeks now due date has passed I've got oedema on my feet, and also hands and they are sore I'm so worried I can't stop crying I feel like I'm gonna loose my baby

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 25 Nov 2019 - 16:42

      Swelling at the end of pregnancy can be normal and nothing to worry about, but it is also one of the symptoms of pre-eclampsia. I suggest you arrange to see your midwife for reassurance. She will test your urine and take your blood pressure to check all is well. Take care x

    • By Amina (not verified) on 18 Sep 2019 - 22:58

      Hi, as far as i know both me and my child are healthy and he is very active and strong can i induced labor?

      Please advice.

    • By Nthabiseng (not verified) on 25 Jul 2019 - 15:16

      When can i start to expect labour contractions

    • By minash (not verified) on 1 Jul 2019 - 20:58

      Hi am past my due date and still no labor,, my baby is very active and kicks a lot,,

    • By Rennie (not verified) on 28 Jun 2019 - 11:17

      Hi I'm 39 weeks pregnant and I'm am due July 4th, 2019. I'm not really sure on my contractions if I should go ahead and go to the hospital or just hold out? I recently just had 5 contractions a minute apart. What can you tell me about this?

    • By Samantha (not verified) on 24 Apr 2019 - 01:48

      It’s my due date and was wondering if I should go in to get check cause my vagina hurts really bad when I walk or stand up.

    • By Didi momma (not verified) on 23 Apr 2019 - 23:06

      It might interest you to know that your blog has been of immense help to me all through the phase of my pregnancy. I got delivered of a baby boy last week at 39 weeks n 1 day. God richly bless you. Am glad to be a momma!

    • By Sana (not verified) on 12 Mar 2019 - 18:45

      My due date was 11 March but I can't feel any labour pain.. So worried about that what can I do to induce labour fast..

    • By Sara (not verified) on 2 Jul 2018 - 09:49

      I had a Stillbirth at 41+5 weeks, my baby’s heart stopped just before I got to the hospital in labour.
      I was devasted to loose my baby girl, we were both healthy as far as we know. I am still waiting on the post-mortem results.

      I would like to get pregnant again, as being a mother is everything I always wanted But I am afraid if I try again I won’t bring my baby back home like before.

      How can I get an appointment with Professor Alex Heazell when I Live in London?

      What would you advise me to do first?

      Thank you

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 2 Jul 2018 - 15:55

      Dear Sara, Really sorry that you have been through such a traumatic time and devastated about the loss of your beautiful daughter. We have a phone line and you are most welcome to call us 0800 0147 800. We can talk you through how to get a referral to see Prof Heazell in Manchester. He is happy to see couples who live anywhere in the country. If you would prefer to discuss via e-mail we can be contacted at [email protected]' Take good care of yourself. Tommy's midwives x

    • By PregnancyBNP on 9 Jun 2018 - 07:35


      Would you have recommendation on websites to find maternity nurse?

      Thank you.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 11 Jun 2018 - 14:31

      I am sorry that we do not have any suggestions to help you find a maternity nurse.

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 7 Dec 2017 - 01:43

      much waiting due 12th n no sign f labour

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 7 Dec 2017 - 11:51

      Hi, Thank you for your comment.

      Only around 5% of babies will be born on their due date. It can be very common that you reach the 39th week of your pregnancy and there are no signs of labour. Please feel reassured that this can be very normal. Try and keep mobile and maintain a health diet, rest well and if you are worried about your baby's movements or anything about your pregnancy then please contact your maternity unit for further advice. Hope this helps, take care, Tommy's Midwives x

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