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Pregnancy / Healthy Pregnancy / 3rd Trimester (weeks 27-40) /
40 Reasons to Go the Full 40 Weeks
Nobody likes to be rushed—especially babies!
Your baby needs a full 40 weeks of pregnancy to grow and develop. While being done with pregnancy may seem tempting, especially during those last few weeks, inducing labor is associated with increased risks including prematurity, cesarean surgery, hemorrhage and infection.

Labor should only be induced for medical reasons—not for convenience or scheduling concerns. Baby will let you know when she’s ready to emerge. Until then, here are 40 reasons to go at least the full 40 weeks of pregnancy:


  1. End right by starting right—keeping all of your prenatal appointments helps ensure a healthier ending
  2. Savor the journey—soon you will meet your baby
  3. Let nature take over—there are fewer complications and risks for both you and baby through natural birth
  4. Recover faster from a natural birth than cesarean, which is major abdominal surgery that causes more pain, requires a longer hospital stay and a longer recovery
  5. Birth a brainier baby—at 35 weeks your baby’s brain is only 2/3rds the size it will be at term
  6. Set her thermostat—baby will better regulate her temperature when born at term
  7. Boost breastfeeding—term babies more effectively suck and swallow than babies born earlier
  8. Delight in those kicks and flips—marvel at the miracle of the life inside
  9. Enjoy your convenient excuse for every mood swing and crazy craving
  10. Nourish your body—a healthy diet and breastfeeding will help you lose the baby weight
  11. Let others carry the groceries, mail, packages just a while longer
  12. Indulge in “we” time before you’re a threesome or more
  13. Sport your bump—as your belly increases, so do your chances of getting a great seat almost anywhere


  1. Eat healthfully—indulge occasional cravings without remorse
  2. Give baby’s development the benefit of time since you may not know exactly when you got pregnant
  3. Let baby pick her birthday—if she decides to emerge after 37 weeks there’s no need to try to stop your spontaneous labor
  4. Skip an induction—which could lead to cesarean—by waiting for labor to start on its own
  5. Reduce your baby’s risks of jaundice, low blood sugar and infection by waiting until he’s ready to emerge
  6. Build your baby’s muscles—they’ll be strong and firm, and ready to help him feed and flex at term
  7. Maximize those little lungs—babies born just 2 or more weeks early can have twice the number of complications with breathing
  8. Ignore people who say an induction is more convenient. Nothing is convenient about a longer labor and increasing your risk of cesarean
  9. Respond to requests to speed baby’s birth with the facts that inductions often create more painful labors and can lead to cesarean surgery
  10. Let others do the heavy lifting—and the extra housecleaning
  11. Splurge on pedicures—or ask a friend to do them for you, especially when you can’t see or touch your feet
  12. Relish in the fact that right now you’re the perfect mom—your healthy pregnancy habits are growing baby the best possible way
  13. Finish well—more time in the womb usually means less time in the hospital

The nurses of AWHONN remind you not to rush your baby—give her at least a full 40!


  1. Relax! Babies are usually so much easier to care for in the womb
  2. Shamelessly wear comfy, stretchy clothes
  3. Postpone changing the eventual 5,000+ diapers baby will use
  4. Be out and about without having to buckle, unbuckle, rebuckle baby into her car seat or stroller while runningerrands
  5. Carry your most stylish purses especially the ones too small to hold diapers and wipes
  6. Relish parenting—right now you know exactly where baby is and what he’s doing
  7. Snooze when you can—what sleep you’re currently getting is actually quite a lot compared to the interruptions ahead
  8. Massage remains a must—ask your partner to help ease the aches
  9. Enjoy nights out without paying for a babysitter
  10. Indulge in shopping without the added responsibilities of baby in tow
  11. Redecorate your house around your nursery’s theme
  12. Prop up your paperback—your burgeoning belly peaks at just the right reading height
  13. Make the best-possible birth experience; don’t rush it
  14. Write your own healthy reason—if it gets baby a full 40 weeks of pregnancy it deserves to be on this list

  • Click HERE for a Printable Version of this article!
  • Nurses: Access more 40 Reasons campaign resources HERE.
  • Read this in Spanish: Lea esta en Español


The Full 40 Weeks
Skip an induction and reap the benefits

“Free Range” Labor
Keep labor moving

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