40 Weeks Pregnant

Pregnancy week 40 fetus
length ~ 20.2 in  |  51 cm     weight ~ 7.6 lbs  |  3.2 kg   /   Three, two, one... BLAST OFF?!

Fetal development in week 40

We're going to cut to the chase and talk about your newborn this week, okay?

Even if your rocket-baby's not yet given you a clear-ready-to-launch signal, at this point, they're developmentally the same as any healthy newborn.

Infants & Language

Let's talk about talking: whether you're cooing Shakespeare or sweetly berating your boss while you breastfeed, your newborn infant has no idea what you're saying and won't for months to come.

What your infant does enjoy is the sound of your happy-sounding voice, the sight of your face, and the smell of your skin.

As part of our infant-survival plan, human infants prefer their mother's voice and face over any other voice or face.

If you've ever laughed at that mom talking to her infant in a weird soft high-pitched voice, you're going to be laughing at yourself really soon.

Interestingly, mothers across all cultures have been observed using this high-pitched voice with their infants. This funny behavior's actually got an official title: "motherese."

Using motherese is considered an instinctual mother-infant interaction. Perhaps because high voices usually come from smaller, safer females, whereas deep and loud voices tend to come from big, potentially dangerous, males.

That's right, go ahead and talk to your infant (in a happy soft voice) because they'll love it even though they won't have the faintest clue what you're saying - and won't begin truly understanding your words until some time between one and two years of age.

And how's mom doing?

It's that last leg of the race, the finish line is laughing at you (if you haven't yet delivered) and your patience is wearing thin, but if you're still not in labor - it's no surprise, and entirely normal to be pregnant for the next two weeks. Don't cry! There are a few things you can do:

  • Get moving!

    Go for a brisk walk - or if you're really ambitious, try the stairs, which help thin the cervix quicker than a gentle stroll.

  • Nipple stimulation. Seriously.

    Stimulate your nipples (with fingers or mouth - up to you two!) one nipple at a time for five minutes every 15 minutes for an hour. Do not stimulate during a contraction. Cease nipple stimulation after Active Labor kicks in - for your own sake, as it increases contraction intensity.

  • Sexy time!

    After all the nipple stimulation, your sex machine might be feeling a little revved up (it might not, which is totally normal and okay). Although semen's role in inducing labor is still debated, your orgasm releases oxytocin and uterine spasms that can help kick-start labor. Have fun!

    Did You Know?

    Aside from the basic elation of finally having given birth, the first few weeks are typically quite stressful for the new mother (and father). It is completely normal for mom to go through a round of baby-blues. Usually this kicks in around the fourth day and passes in a day or two as long as mom gets a reasonable amount of rest and relaxation. Postnatal depression, on the other hand, is more intense, debilitating, and long-lasting.
  • Week 40 cartoon