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Week 41 of Your Pregnancy: Care Instructions

Fetal development at the 40th week

Your Care Instructions

By now, you're probably tired of people asking you when the baby is going to be born. Your baby could come any day—even today!

Your doctor or midwife wants to make sure that you have a safe birth and so may recommend giving you medicines to start labour or scheduling a caesarean delivery.

Most women who give birth after their due dates have healthy newborns. But you may have tests to make sure everything is okay.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

This care sheet will help you prepare for giving birth after 41 weeks.

How can you care for yourself at home?

At about 41 weeks

  • Your doctor will measure the amount of fluid surrounding the baby and test your baby's movement and heart rate.
  • If your baby seems strong and well, your doctor might give you medicine to start labour.
  • If there are other concerns, your doctor may tell you that a caesarean delivery would be best for you and your baby.

After 42 weeks

  • Your baby may be harder to deliver.
  • The placenta may no longer be able to meet your baby's needs.
  • The baby might have a bowel movement into the amniotic fluid, which could go into the baby's lungs.

Ease or reduce swelling in your feet, ankles, hands, and fingers

  • If your fingers are puffy, take off your rings.
  • Do not eat high-salt foods, such as potato chips.
  • Prop up your feet on a stool or couch as much as possible. Sleep with pillows under your feet.
  • Do not stand for long periods of time or wear tight shoes.
  • Wear support stockings.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.