40 Weeks Pregnant But No Sign of Labor

The 40 weeks that make up pregnancy are some of the most exciting and exhausting times for most women. By the time a woman reaches that 40 week mark, she is ready to bring her little one into the world. At 40 weeks, a baby is considered at term, which means it is full-grown and should measure approximately 14 inches from the top of his or her head to his or her toes. There is a wide variety in both length and weight of a newborn. The average baby weighs around 7 ½ pounds. As your baby grows, it puts pressure on the tissues around your cervix which thins it out and prepares it for the birthing process. However, many women find it disconcerting when their 40 weeks turns into 41 or even 42.

No Sign of Labor at 40 Weeks Pregnant, Is It Normal?

When a woman arrives 40 weeks pregnant no sign of labor is sure to cause her wondering if everything is okay with her child. The truth is, it's normal as a baby doesn't always come at the 40 week mark. It’s just an estimate based on the average time which a child will come out of the womb. You also have to remember, you don’t know the exact day that you became pregnant, so the doctor is going to be estimating everything related to his or her birth.

The window for birthing is typically between 37 weeks and 41 weeks. When a doctor calculates your due date, it is simply a prediction on when your baby might come. A pregnancy that lasts longer than 40 weeks is often referred to as a late-term pregnancy. It is so normal for this to happen that roughly 9 out of 10 women tend to be overdue. Contractions are likely to start within two weeks of the official due date.

Will It Cause Any Problems?

As snug as your child is inside, it must come out into the world. Doctors have a small window which they deem acceptable for late term before deciding that a child is actually overdue. Approximately 6-9 days after the due date, a physician may start looking into options to induce labor.

There are a few problems that can arise if you are 40 weeks pregnant with no sign of labor.

  • It is possible for an infection to develop inside of the womb. The longer your child stays within your body, the more likely problems during labor can be.
  • It is also possible for the placenta to slowly stop providing blood and nutrients to your growing baby, which puts the baby in distress.

What Should You Do?

A woman who is overdue is likely to feel some type of anxiety regarding the situation. But relax, if you're 40 weeks pregnant no sign of labor doesn't necessarily mean something serious and there are several things you can do to deal with this situation.

  • The first is that you should try to relax. Take some time to take your focus away from whether or not you’re going into labor by spending time with your friends, family, or doing your own projects. Distractions that help calm you are a good thing.
  • Get in extra sleep as well, because this will be necessary during the labor process and once the baby is born. Think happy thoughts, and possibly consider meditating as part of the process. Meditation boasts many calming benefits and helps ensure that your baby is also at peace when it is ready to come into the world. 
  • Lastly, double check your baby list and get in any last minute shopping.

There are a few things which you can check off your list to make the process as stress free as possible:

  • Keep your cell phone charged at all times. Invest in a backup battery in event that you are out and about when you go into labor.
  • Place your physician’s phone number on speed dial or in your favorites so you can call him or her immediately when needed.
  • Have a plan in place to ensure your children and pets will be properly cared for when you go into labor. The labor process can be long in many cases.
  • Have a bag packed for both you and the baby. You will want to include basic necessities like diapers, wipes, and a going home outfit for the baby as well as clothing and personal care items for yourself. Make sure that you have some things packed for those who will be with you during labor as well, because they will want to be comfortable during the process too.

Should I Consider Labor Induction?

Many women feel most at peace when they are able to naturally give birth to their baby. There are plenty of tricks and old wives' tales out there that may speed up your delivery – but none are guaranteed.

If you are 40 weeks pregnant, no sign of labor and considered overdue by a physician, then it may be necessary to have your labor induced. There are several factors that contribute to this, including the status of your cervix, the health of your baby, fetal stress testing, and if you are truly ready to deliver.

Physicians usually wait to induce as a last ditch option. It’s typically offered seven days after your official due date, when it is crucial that your baby comes out, and before there are any adverse problems. But this also varies for different cases, ranging from 7-10 days to nearly 14 days after due date. An obstetrician will typically suggest this based on the different factors that we have mentioned above. The only time it is medically necessary to be induced is if the baby is under stress but you are not delivering. 

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