41 Weeks Pregnant
Bet you never envisioned being 41 weeks pregnant. But here you are! Because of baby’s extra time in the womb, they’ll likely be heavier and more alert at birth than a baby born earlier would be. At week 41 of pregnancy, the anticipation might feel like it’s killing you, but rest assured that plenty of moms-to-be go past their due date and everything turns out just fine. You might actually be thankful to have had this extra time before dirty diapers and newborn feedings rule your world. Due to 41 weeks pregnancy risks, your doctor will want to monitor baby extra closely. A 41 weeks pregnant ultrasound, a non stress test and a biophysical profile will be given to ensure baby is still moving and breathing well, has plenty of aminotic fluid, and a healthy heart rate. Pay close attention to fetal movement, doing daily kick counts. If you notice a decrease in the way baby moves, call your heathcare provider immediately.
At 41 weeks, baby is as big as a watermelon. The average 41-week fetus measures 20.4 inches long and weighs 7.9 pounds.
When you’re 41 weeks pregnant, you’re 10 months pregnant. Consider yourself an overachiever!
Common 41 weeks pregnant symptoms are a continuation of your other third trimester symptoms. Most notably:
- Pelvic discomfort. Baby may be descending lower and lower, putting pressure on your bladder and cervix and giving you more aches and pains down below.
- Hemorrhoids. That pelvic pressure causes swollen varicose veins in your rectum, which leads to hemorrhoids. They aren’t pretty, and they may get worse when you push baby out. But eventually the swelling will die down.
- Difficulty sleeping. It's the hormones—and your nerves!—that are keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep. You’re not going to be sleeping much after baby arrives, so this is good practice. But it’s also a good idea to rest up as much as possible for the birth.
- Frequent urination. Baby is pretty much sitting right on your bladder at this point. Cue another trip to the bathroom!
- Contractions. Abdominal tightening is happening more and more noticeably and frequently as baby ramps up for delivery.
Is Pregnancy at 41 Weeks Normal?
Completely normal! Remember, your due date isn’t precise; it’s more of an estimate based on a number of factors. So giving birth a week or two on either side of that date is still considered normal. It’s not until you hit 42 weeks that you’re considered “post-term.” So don’t stress—you and baby are doing great!
By the time you hit 41 weeks pregnant, signs of labor might as well be written inside your eyelids. You probably know this stuff by heart! But just in case, here goes. Call the doctor if you have:
- A constant leak, which may indicate your water has broken.
- Frequent or painful contractions that don’t stop.
You will also want to call the doctor if you have any out-of-the ordinary 41 weeks pregnant symptoms, such as bleeding or abdominal pain.
If you’re 41 weeks with no signs of labor, try to be patient! Just because you’re 41 weeks and not dilated doesn’t mean you can’t go into labor tomorrow. It’s really unpredictable like that!
Are you 41 weeks pregnant and fed up? We don’t blame you. Pregnancy after 40 weeks isn’t exactly fun. You’re big, you’re mentally ready for baby and everyone you see says, “you’re still pregnant?!” Go ahead and try every natural labor induction method in the books, as long as it’s safe (so check with your OB first). Eat spicy food (if it doesn’t give you heartburn), walk like crazy, have sex (if you can will yourself to) and maybe try acupuncture (even if you’re a skeptic)!
Your OB may start to discuss the option of having a medical induction at 41 weeks, since babies that go too far past their due date may be at higher risk for problems. Ask the doctor lots of questions about what’s involved and what your specific 41 weeks pregnant risks are. Getting induced does have some positives (like not having to waddle-run into the hospital while in labor!). But there’s something to be said for not rushing baby. Some women say contractions are stronger and more painful during an induction. Others say it’s more comfortable to wait for labor to start at home than it is in a delivery room.
If you choose to have labor induced at 41 weeks, there are several ways it can be done:
- Stripping membranes. This is actually a natural induction method, but your doctor will need to perform it. Luckily, it can be done in the doctor’s office and doesn’t require a trip to the hospital. If you’re willing to try this potentially painful procedure, your doctor will sweep their fingers around the amniotic sac, separating the membranes there and releasing hormones that could stimulate labor. This doesn’t always work, but if it does, you could be in labor within hours.
- Artificial rupture of membranes (AROM). Your doctor can break your water for you using a thin plastic hook. This may be done if you’ve been having contractions but labor hasn’t progressed.
- Medications. Two types of medication can be used for inducing labor at 41 weeks. A prostaglandin suppository may be inserted like a tampon overnight to start cervical dilation. A synthetic form of oxytocin may be given through an IV to jumpstart contractions.
You’ll never know for sure why baby has postponed their arrival. This is one of those things that runs in the family. So if your mom, sisters or other female relatives have all given birth after 40 weeks, that means you might too. If you’ve already had another pregnancy run into 41 weeks, then don’t be surprised that this one is as well. And of course, it could just be a miscalculated due date and baby’s not really “late” at all!
As you await baby's arrival, they’re plumping up a bit more. Your 41-week fetus is growing even longer hair and nails. No wonder some newborns come out with a full head of hair and ready for a mani-pedi!
Your doctor may also order a non-stress test and a 41 weeks pregnant ultrasound, to be sure baby is still doing okay in there. This will probably help both of you make the decision of whether or not to induce.
Chances are excellent that baby will be healthy if you give birth at 41 weeks. Your OB is keeping a close eye on both of you, monitoring you twice a week once you pass your due date. The post-term phase at 42 weeks does pose some increased risks, but don’t worry about that now—you could be holding baby in your arms very soon!
Ease hemorrhoid pain
Just when you thought you couldn’t be more uncomfortable at 41 weeks pregnant, hemorrhoids come along. Yow! Find relief with a sitz bath. Soak your bum by sitting in a tub of plain warm water (no soap). One you get out, gently pat the area with a pad that has witch hazel on it.
Walk when you can
Even a short walk can help ease aches and pains, reduce swelling and improve constipation and hemorrhoids—all common 41 weeks pregnant symptoms. (Psst: It may even help kickstart your labor!)
Power off your screens
It’s so tempting to scroll through Instagram or watch Netflix before you go to bed, but you need to shut down to get some shuteye. The blue light emitted from screens can mess with your body clock. That’s a big reason why you may be wide awake at 2 a.m. Stick to a good book!
Follow doctor’s orders
Because your doctor will want to keep tabs on you and baby in week 41, make sure to attend all necessary appointments and get the required tests. And don’t hesitate to call your doctor’s office if you feel anything out of the ordinary, epecially decreased fetal movememt.
Reminders for the week:
- Discuss being iduced with your health care provider if you haven’t already
- Rest up for delivery
- Binge watch some TV!
- Take a long walk
Medical content was reviewed November 2020 by Sherry A. Ross, MD, an ob-gyn and women’s health expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, and author of she-ology and she-ology, the she-quel: let’s continue the conversation.