Weeks 37–40 of Your Pregnancy - dummies

By Joanne Stone, Keith Eddleman, Mary Duenwald

Congratulations — you are now considered “term.” Even though you may not yet be at your due date, any delivery that occurs at or after 37 weeks is called full-term. You may notice irregular contractions that come and go in spurts. The big event can happen any time during this period, so be prepared — day or night.

Do the following to ensure that you’re ready for the big day to arrive:

  • Make sure your bags are packed, and you have the phone numbers of your practitioners handy! If you have other children at home, make sure you have all the arrangements set for their care, in case you go into labor.

  • Watch for signs. Loss of your mucous plug, bloody show, or loose stools may happen during the days before labor to indicate that labor is coming. Unfortunately, they don’t determine when labor will happen with any certainty.

The average baby at full-term weighs about 7-1/2 pounds (close to 3.5 kg), but there is a wide degree of variation in what is considered normal. At this point in pregnancy, your baby will put on about a quarter of a pound per week until delivery. The top of your uterus should be at or just below your sternum or breastbone. Babies at 40 weeks average about 20 to 21 inches (51 to 52 cm) long.