41 Weeks Pregnant: Symptoms & Baby Development - Babylist
41 Weeks Pregnant
April 6, 2021

41 Weeks Pregnant

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41 Weeks Pregnant.
41 Weeks Pregnant

Your baby is 20.4 inches long and weighs 7.9 pounds this week. That’s about the size of an Easy-Bake Oven.

Your Baby at 41 Weeks

  • Growing hair and nails: Your baby’s hair and those nails are still growing. Bust out those teeny nail clippers!
  • Dry skin: As baby loses all of the vernix (that cheesy coating), their skin may become dry.
  • Putting on fat: Your baby’s basically full grown at this point, but they’re putting on a bit of fat while they await the big debut.

Pregnancy Symptoms at 41 Weeks

  • (Even more) frequent urination: Your baby may have dropped down into the pelvis in preparation for birth, which may have you running to the bathroom even more often than before.
  • Diarrhea: Some moms report getting diarrhea right before they go into active labor. If you get the runs, it might soon be go-time.
  • Bloody show: As your cervix begins to dilate, some of its blood vessels may rupture and be released as a bloody discharge. This is more like spotting or mucus than actual blood. Bleeding would be a reason to call the doctor right away.
  • Nesting: Got the urge to clean the house or reorganize the hall closet? Suddenly being compelled to nest is common as baby’s birth approaches.
  • Braxton Hicks contractions: You’re probably still feeling intermittent tightening of your belly, as your body preps for labor. Keep an eye on those contractions. Eventually, they should get more frequent and intense.

Signs of Labor at 41 Weeks

At 41 weeks, probably every twinge and tingle has you wondering if it’s finally time to head to the hospital or birthing center. Look out for these signs of labor:

  • Frequent contractions: Feeling real contractions yet? Unlike Braxton Hicks contractions, active labor contractions increase in intensity and length and get closer together as they progress. A contraction timer app can help you monitor whether or not they are really getting more frequent and longer.
  • Water breaking: Another sign of labor starting is having your water break. This is not usually a gush of fluid (though that can happen), but a slow trickling down your leg.

You also want to keep on the lookout for any concerning symptoms, like bleeding or abdominal pain, or if your baby’s movement slows, and call the doc if you experience them.

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Your 41 Weeks Pregnant Belly

Remember that “term” finish line? At 41 weeks, you are now considered late term, which is kind of like being 5 minutes late to class—generally frowned upon, but not a huge deal. Don’t worry. Many babies arrive after their due dates, especially first babies.

You’ll probably find your doctor just watches you extra closely now that you’re past the 41-week mark. They may set you up with weekly or bi-weekly ultrasound and/or nonstress tests to make sure all is going smoothly inside.

41 Week Baby Bumps from Real Moms






41-weeks-pregnant-bump-@eutierria rose




Do I Really Need to Be Induced?

Not necessarily. Many doctors will recommend induction—jump-starting labor with medication such as Pitocin—for a pregnancy that goes past 41 weeks, since going into postterm (42 weeks or later) does put a baby at higher risk for complications. But how you and baby are doing can certainly factor in on the decision; talk over any findings from the nonstress test and/or ultrasound. Plus, there’s always the chance your conception date (and thus, due date) was miscalculated.

After discussing induction with the doctor, take the course of action that’s in the best interest of your and your baby’s health and well being. You might set a date for induction and need to use it if you don’t go into labor naturally before then. Or you might choose to give it a go now.

Note: In order to induce labor, your cervix must have started to ripen (that means soften, efface and/or dilate). If yours shows no signs of that, your doctor might need to use a medication such as Cervidil to start the ripening process and then use Pitocin to kick off contractions.

Partner Tip

Help out however you can. Childbirth and recovery are anything but easy.

What Is an APGAR Score?

Once your baby arrives, they will get their first test, called the APGAR. The nurse or midwife will examine five conditions: baby’s color, heart rate, reflexes, muscle tone and breathing.

The baby gets a 0, 1 or 2 for each of these, for a total possible score of 10. It’s given at one minute old and again at five minutes old. It really helps your medical team know that your baby is healthy.

Top Tip for 41 Weeks Pregnant

The hospital will give you basic baby care items: nasal aspirator, thermometer, etc. Ask for mom care items, too, like perineum cold packs or a Velcro belly band for your abdominal muscles.

What Happens After Birth?

Things might be rough going for a while. Whether you are scheduled for your induction and waiting it out or already at home with baby, here are some tips to adjusting to life after pregnancy.

Your Body

If you had a vaginal birth, your perineum (oh hi there!) will be healing for days or weeks. Try a cold pack or sitz bath for pain relief. (Ask the hospital for extra cold packs on your way out the door.) You will also likely be bleeding for at least a few days and wearing those postpartum mesh undies that went viral.

If you had a cesarean birth, you should be very gentle on yourself. Don’t lift anything heavier than the baby for a few weeks. Take your pain medication (and stool softeners) for as long as you need. Remember to also stay as active as you can be, even if it means a one-block walk once a day. This can really help recovery. (If they don’t offer it, ask the hospital for a belly band to help your abdominal muscles recover easier.)

Regardless of how your baby met the world, your uterus will start contracting, and this can cause cramping. Breastfeeding releases oxytocin, which helps your uterus contract, but that does mean you might have really painful cramps while breastfeeding.

That’s just downstairs.

Your breasts and belly will be all sorts of who knows what for a bit. Your body made a baby and now it’s different. If you’re feeling down about this, here’s a video from a musician on why she decided not to get plastic surgery after her twins were born.

Your Mind

Baby blues are real, and so are postpartum anxiety and depression. How real? After pregnancy, between 70 and 80 percent of women have mood swings, including crying for no apparent reason. Be kind to yourself and enjoy your baby.

If you are still feeling blue more than a few weeks after birth and can’t shake the negative thoughts, talk to your doc about it to see if you need more help.

Your Life

Don’t worry about doing anything for anyone but you and your baby for months.

Fun Fact

Boy babies are more likely to go past 41 weeks than girls are.

Do you think this content is helpful? Let our editors know!

Week 41 Pregnancy Checklist

  • Go to your week 41 prenatal visit.
  • Schedule your week 42 visit while you’re there—and/or your potential induction!
  • Go to your ultrasound and/or nonstress test appointments if your doctor recommends them.
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