Your Weekly Pregnancy Development: Week 40

A surge of hormones in your baby's body could play a part in initiating labor

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Week 40: Your baby is ready to experience the outside world

Your due date arrives during the 40th week of pregnancy, but it might come and go without delivery. This is not unusual — the 40-week timeline is only an estimate. Just be patient; your delivery will occur soon.

Changes in your baby's body prior to birth include the following:

  • A surge of hormones in your baby's body might play a part in initiating labor.
  • Your baby likely weighs between 7 and 9 pounds and measures between 18 and 20-1/2 inches long. However, more or less is OK.


Your Week 40 nutrition and health

Breastfeeding and formula feeding: nourishing your newborn

If you're 40 weeks pregnant, you've been waiting a long time to meet your baby. Your pregnancy is almost over. Take time this week to learn more about breastfeeding basics and formula fundamentals. During your 40th week of pregnancy, you might want to think about:

Breastfeeding basics

You've probably learned about the benefits of breastfeeding from reading and from your childbirth classes. In addition to delivering rich nutrition and important antibodies to your newborn, breastfeeding can benefit you, too:

  • After birth, breastfeeding releases hormones that help the uterus contract and reduce bleeding, helping speed your recovery time.
  • When you breastfeed, you need about 2,500 calories a day, which is about 500 calories more than the usual daily caloric intake for an average-sized woman who is not pregnant. The energy you expend making breastmilk will actually help you lose weight and burn those extra calories.
  • Breastfeeding releases desirable "feel-good" hormones.
  • Breastfeeding is economical.

Want to learn more about breastfeeding positions, how often your baby might want to feed, and more? Learn more about breastfeeding.

Why vitamin D is important for breastfeeding

Vitamin D helps maintain your bones and helps build your baby's bones by enhancing calcium absorption. Breastfeeding moms should consume at least 3 daily servings of nonfat or low-fat milk or fortified soy milk to ensure optimal intake of vitamin D.

Formula-feeding fundamentals

If you choose to formula feed or supplement, here are some basic facts you should know about formula:

  • Formula Types: milk-based, hydrolyzed, soy, specialized
  • Formula Forms: powder or ready-to-feed
  • How much formula your baby will drink during a regular or supplemental feeding depends on your baby's age and appetite at any given time. Your baby will drink as much as she needs to be satisfied. It's OK if she doesn't finish an entire bottle, but if she's finishing one regularly, it's probably time to increase the amount of formula.
  • Because you will be feeding your baby from a bottle, your partner can share the experience.

Want to learn more about formula feeding? Go to Formula Feeding and Nutrition.

Why is Lutein important to your baby?

Lutein is an important nutrient for eye health. Until your baby starts on solid foods, she can get Lutein from breastmilk and Similac.

Still waiting for labor?

Health care professionals encourage moms to keep moving even through the late weeks of pregnancy and during labor. Walking can help induce labor and help labor progress.

Keep learning about your baby's development every week
 
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