Read time 3 minutes

Week 40

Support and information from NCT

NCT offers reliable support and information about the various stages of pregnancy, week by week.

Your developing baby

Congratulations, you have now reached your baby's due date! 

At 40 weeks pregnant your baby has grown seven times taller than they were at 12 weeks and is nearly 200 times heavier. Labour could start at any time now.

Week 40

Playing the waiting game?

It can be very frustrating if you go past your due date with not so much as a twinge, so it might be a good idea to make some plans to distract yourself. Invite your friends over or plan something with your partner. 

Meanwhile ensure you have everything you need for the birth and the telephone numbers to hand, make sure your transport to the hospital is ready or fit the car seat, keep up gentle exercise and practise what you learnt in your antenatal classes.

First signs of labour

Labour can start any time and you may feel unsure about whether you’ve really started the first stage of labour. Your midwife is an expert in normal labour so call her at any time for advice. 

There are also lots of things, such as timing your contractions and taking a warm bath, which you can do at home to help you through the early stage. Contractions will typically feel uncomfortable around your bump and your back as well as experiencing a feeling of fullness in your pelvis. As your labour progresses, they will usually get stronger, longer and closer together.

How to encourage labour

Only 5% of babies are born on their due date and first babies are often late or ‘post-term’. If you are now past your due date there are different ways that women have used to try and bring on labour themselves. These include having sex, acupuncture, reflexology or aromatherapy, but there’s no evidence that any of these work. 

One thing we do know is that your body produces labour hormones more readily if you’re relaxed; so one way of helping things along might be to try some relaxation exercises, or doing something that helps you relax.


Have you prepared your transport to the hospital?

Make sure you know how you will get there and fit the baby's car seat for the way home.

Further information

NCT offers reliable support and information about the various stages of pregnancy, week by week. Our support line offers practical and emotional support with feeding your baby and general enquiries for parents, members and volunteers: 0300 330 0700.

We also offer antenatal courses which are a great way to find out more about birth, labour and life with a new baby.

Make friends with other parents-to-be and new parents in your local area for support and friendship by seeing what NCT activities are happening nearby.


Related articles

Week 40

Courses & workshops

In-person NCT Antenatal course

Find out more

NCT Antenatal refresher course

Find out more
NCT Membership
Support NCT Charity by becoming a member
Excited couple holding pregnancy test
Sign up to our weekly Pregnancy & Baby Guide