Pregnancy at 40 weeks - Signs of True Labor Pain

Pregnancy at 40 weeks - Symptoms, Ultrasound, Baby Development, Baby Size, Childbirth, and Signs of Labor

If you are 40 weeks pregnant it means you are in the 9th month of your pregnancy. Your placenta is still providing the antibodies which your baby will need to fight against infections for the first six months of his/her life. Breastfeeding is the best way to boost the baby's immune system because your milk contains many antibodies, especially colostrum (It is a thin precursor to breast milk which is very rich in antibodies that feeds your baby for the first few days of postpartum).

Signs of true labor pain at 40 weeks of pregnancy

40 weeks pregnant symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms of 40 weeks pregnant are described below :

Braxton Hicks Contractions at 40 weeks pregnant

Braxton Hicks Contractions are irregular and infrequent uncomfortable painless tightening which begins at the top of the uterine muscles and spread downwards. It causes the abdomen to become very hard. They usually last for some seconds and subside when you change your position. These contractions become more frequent and intense when you get closer to your estimated due date. Braxton Hicks contractions are irregular practice contractions that may begin at any time after 20 weeks of your pregnancy during the second trimester but these are more noticeable in the third trimester of your pregnancy. If you feel your uterus is tightening up it means your body is gearing up for labor and delivery.

Leg cramps at 40 weeks pregnant

Leg cramps generally start in the second or third trimester of pregnancy. As your body is carrying extra weight due to pregnancy which makes leg muscles tired and many women experience leg cramping during their pregnancy. Leg cramps are very common symptoms of pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. These leg cramps may cause sharp pain that lasts for several minutes. Prop your legs up on a pillow while resting or sleeping. Also, do some foot exercises daily. 

Pelvic Pain at 40 weeks pregnant

Most of the pregnant women feel pelvic pain, especially in the last trimester of their pregnancy. Pelvic Pain is more noticeable when your baby drops into the pelvic area in preparation for delivery which usually happens two to four weeks before delivery. Some women experience pelvic pain when they're in the early phases of labor. 

Swollen feet and hands at 40 weeks pregnant

Swelling in feet and hands or in the face is very common during the third trimester of pregnancy, especially in the last days of pregnancy. Prop your feet up and do some stretches (Point your toes down and then release them upwards) to get some relief. 

Anxiety or Fatigue at 40 weeks pregnant

Pregnancy is exciting as well as an emotional experience for a pregnant woman. Anxiety is a very common symptom during pregnancy. Some women also develop a fear of childbirth because of which they feel more anxious. Don't worry and be confident. If you feel anxious most of the time then talk to your doctor or midwife and clear all your doubts about the labor and delivery process. Many pregnant women experience fatigue just before they go into labor. 

Trouble Sleeping at 40 weeks pregnant

Sleeping at this stage of your pregnancy may not be easy for you but try to sleep on your side though to avoid the risk of stillbirth. Sleeping on your back causes bumps to put pressure on the major vein which can affect blood flow to your baby and can make you feel light-headed. Sleeping on your side is better and more comfortable. You can also use pillows to support your bump while sleeping on your side. 

Most of the women have trouble sleeping during the late stage of pregnancy. It is a very common symptom of late-stage pregnancy that wouldn't harm your baby. If you're not sleeping properly in the night then take some naps during the day. 

Cervical Ripening at 40 weeks pregnant

When the baby's weight pushes downwards then the cervix starts to ripen and become favorable for labor. As the cervix ripens it becomes thinner which is known as Effacing and the opening gets wider which is known as Dilation. Some women effaced and dilated a few days before their due date. 

Signs of labor at 40 weeks

Your body starts preparing for labor almost a month ago before you give birth. Here are some of the most common signs of labor at 40 weeks :

Strong and Regular Labor Contractions

Labor contractions are more frequent, regular, and stronger than Braxton Hicks Contractions as they cause your cervix to dilate at the late stage of your pregnancy. If your contractions become increasingly intense then it's a sign of labor. 

Water Breaking

When the fluid-filled amniotic sac which surrounds your baby through the pregnancy ruptures and fluid starts leaking from your vagina then this is the signal to call your doctor or head for the hospital.  Water Breaking is one of the most obvious signs of pregnancy which is experienced by 10 to 15% of women before labor. 

Baby at 40 weeks pregnant

Your baby is now the size of a watermelon or pumpkin. Your baby weighs around seven to nine pounds and measures around 19 to 22 inches from crown to heel. 

40 weeks pregnant ultrasound

When you reached 40 weeks of your pregnancy you'll have a 40 weeks ultrasound to check what the amniotic fluid level looks like or you may have a non-stress test to monitor your baby's movements and your contractions to see how your baby's heart rate reacts. If everything is fine then you have to wait a little more to hold your baby in your arms.

What are the signs of True Labor?

True labor, also known as active labor or real labor, indicates that childbirth is imminent. It is essential to recognize the signs of true labor so that expectant parents can differentiate it from false labor, also called Braxton Hicks contractions. Here are the typical signs of true labor:

1. Regular and Consistent Contractions 

True labor contractions become regular and occur at consistent intervals. As labor progresses, the contractions usually become stronger, longer, and closer together. Time the contractions to see if they are coming at regular intervals.

2. Increasing Intensity

True labor contractions typically increase in intensity over time. They may start as mild discomfort and gradually become more painful.

3. Pain in the Lower Back and Abdomen

The pain associated with true labor usually starts in the lower back and moves towards the front in the abdomen.

4. Contractions Persist Despite Activity

True labor contractions continue regardless of the activity you engage in, such as walking, changing positions, or resting.

5. Cervical Changes

As labor progresses, the cervix begins to dilate and efface (thin out). Your healthcare provider can check for these changes during a pelvic exam.

6. Breaking of Water

In some cases, the amniotic sac ruptures, and you may experience a gush or a slow leak of fluid. This is commonly known as your "water breaking."

7. Bloody Show

As the cervix dilates, there may be a discharge of mucus tinged with blood. This is referred to as the "bloody show."

8. Pressure in Pelvic Area

You may feel increased pressure in your pelvic region as the baby descends into the birth canal.

It's important to note that every woman's labor experience is different, and not everyone will experience all of these signs. If you suspect you're in true labor, it's best to contact your healthcare provider or go to the hospital to be assessed by a professional. They can determine if you are indeed in active labor and provide appropriate guidance and support throughout the birthing process.

I hope you like this post and get some valuable information. Here's wishing you a very Happy Due Date and best wishes to you for a happy delivery. Be strong and confident. Wishing you and your family all the very best and congratulations in advance. 

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Disclaimer: This content is intended for general information only and it should not be used as the basis of patient treatment. The given content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, treatment, or any diagnosis. Always consult a doctor for more information. Our website doesn't claim responsibility for this information.

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