In our pregnancy week by week guide, you can find out what to expect when you’re 40 weeks pregnant.

You at 40 weeks pregnant

Congratulations, you’ve reached your due date! If you haven’t gone into labour yet, don’t worry. Very few babies arrive on their actual due dates. 

Your baby’s movements might feel a bit different, usually because there’s less space. If you’re at all worried about your baby’s movements – or anything else – call your health professional or the hospital.  

pregnancy illustration, week 40

Induction of labour
Labour starts naturally at 37-42 weeks for most women. But if you’re worried your baby is overdue, you might like to talk to your midwife or doctor about how to get labour going, when induction of labour might be recommended, and what it involves.

If you haven’t had your baby by 41 weeks, you’ll have more frequent checks to make sure your baby is healthy. Your doctor, obstetrician or midwife will talk about your options at this stage, including induction of labour.

Being informed
It’s important for you to feel that you have all the information you need to make decisions that concern you and your baby’s health.

It’s OK to ask:

  • why the doctors and midwives think you need an induction
  • how an induction will affect you and your baby – the risks and benefits
  • what could happen if your baby isn’t induced and you wait for labour to start naturally.

Getting to the hospital or birth centre
You’ll need to get yourself to the hospital or birth centre to have your baby, unless you’ve planned a homebirth. It’s a good idea to plan:

  • how you’re going to get there – for example, by car or taxi
  • your route
  • driving and parking arrangements – where you’ll park, cost of parking, and whether there’s enough petrol in the car
  • which entrance to go to (especially at night, because it might be different from the daytime entrance)
  • who’ll look after your other children, if you have any.
If your labour is happening fast or you’re concerned about your health or your baby’s, call an ambulance by dialling 000. If you don’t have ambulance membership, you’ll be charged for the trip.

Your baby when you’re 40 weeks pregnant

The average full-term Australian baby:

  • weighs about 3.5 kg, ranging from 2.9 kg to 4.2 kg
  • measures about 50 cm from head to toe, ranging from 46 cm to 56 cm
  • has a head circumference of about 35 cm, ranging from 33 cm to 37 cm.

Getting support
Many services can help you as you adjust to being a parent. You can read more about getting support.

When you’re a new parent, it can really help to feel part of a community:

Your child and family health nurse or other community health professional might also be able to put you in touch with other new parents.

If your baby has arrived, you’re busy getting to know each other and learning how to be a family. You can find lots of information on how to care for yourself and your baby on this website. Check out our videos on newborns. We wish you the very best! 

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Last updated or reviewed
23-03-2016

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Raising Children Network is supported by the Australian Government. Member organisations are the Parenting Research Centre and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute with The Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Community Child Health.

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