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Mother and Baby

40 Weeks Pregnant – What You Need to Know

40 Weeks Pregnant

At a glance:

  • Get labour started
  • Nipple stimulation
  • Sex to induce labour
  • Stair climbing
  • Eat pineapple to bring on labour? 
  • Acupressure
  • Getting ready for birth

What’s happening to your baby

Your baby is full-grown and measures around 14in from his head to his bottom.

Babies at this stage weigh around 7½lb, but this can vary massively. There’ll be hardly any lanugo on his body, except perhaps on his shoulders and in the creases of his body.

What’s happening to you

The weight of your baby on your cervix will put pressure on the tissues, which helps to thin it (known as ripening or effacing), and open it up ready for birth.

If your midwife were to do an internal examination now, she may discover you’re already a couple of centimetres dilated, even if you haven’t had any contractions.

Get labour started

Although you’ve reached 40 weeks pregnant, there’s no guarantee that your baby will want to come out just yet. Very few babies arrive on their due date and in reality, he could turn up anytime between weeks 37 and 42.

Labour Signs: The Early Ones You Need To Look Out For

Nipple stimulation

This can release Oxytocin (which causes the body to have contractions). Gently rub or roll your nipples (or get your other half to). Alternatively, if it’s not too painful, use a breast pump. Keep stimulating until a contraction starts. If they start coming close together, take a break and let nature take its course.

Sex to induce labour

You may not be up for this right now, but if you’re lucky enough to be in the mood (and some women feel quite rampant), an orgasm can be a contraction trigger. Plus, semen contains prostaglandins which help your body prep for labour. Isn’t biology great?

Stair climbing

You don’t want to totally exhaust yourself (after all, you’ve got labour to come) but climbing up your stairs may help even more than taking a lengthy, tiring walk – possibly because you’re taking bigger steps, and lifting your legs higher which puts more pressure on your cervix.

Eat pineapple to bring on labour?

There are loads of stories about labour-inducing foods with some women swearing on their vindaloos that spicy foods bring on baby.  Also foods that contain basil and oregano or ginger are said to work, as well as pineapple – it contains the enzyme bromelain which could help ripen the cervix.


Similar to acupuncture, this uses fingers on pressure points instead of needles. Try pressure on the roof of your mouth, the webbing of your fingers between your pointer finger and thumb, and above the ankle – there’s one around four finger spaces above.

Getting ready for birth

Make sure your hospital bag contains all your essentials. 


Hospital Bag Essentials:


You’ll need to know how to time your contractions, so you’ll have a good idea of what stage of labour you’re at. 

<< SEE Week 39
SEE Week 41 >>

Image courtesy of Your Pregnancy Day-By-Day by Professor Stuart Campbell, published by Carroll & Brown, £9.99

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