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There are many causes related to the situation where an expecting mother can be 40 weeks pregnant and still shows no signs of labor. All of the crucial weeks of pregnancy are over but baby is not yet born and the period of waiting prolongs. This can be extremely unpleasant and depressing for a woman.

40 Weeks and Still no Labor

The expecting mothers usually get very worried if they find themselves 40 weeks pregnant and no signs of labor are present. Their baby is very active but there are no signs of Braxton-Hicks contractions or any other normal pre-delivery symptoms. However, women need to know that this is a perfectly normal scenario and there is nothing to worry about.

Symptoms of labor vary from a woman to woman. Some of the women experience the first signs of expecting labor after the 38th week of pregnancy but it is not rare to prolong the waiting up to the end of 42nd week. Technically speaking, a mother is overdue only if her pregnancy goes past 42 weeks. If a woman is 40-42 weeks pregnant but does not experience cramping or contractions, it only means that her body is not yet ready for delivery. There are many ways to provoke labor earlier, but this can actually do the harm to the baby. Baby may sometime develop breading disorders because of the incomplete lungs development. It is far better to be just a little bit more patient until the body adapts for a normal and natural delivery.

Among all the signs of labor, women should know that there are three signs of labor which are the most common. Mucus discharge is the first one. A mucous plug is present in the womb and it is dislodged when the neck of the womb begins to open up. The discharge is liquid clear and slightly brown or pink in color. Water breaking is the second and it is the amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby. Once, when a woman gets in the labor, the waters break and leak in small quantities or all at once. Contractions are the third sign. Contractions are the tightening of the womb muscles that help to push the baby. At first woman may feel a mild and displeasing pain in the abdomen and this will progress to stronger, longer and more severe pain. A back pain may also be present once when the baby’s weight is being shifted downward.

Effects after Pregnancy

There are several postnatal complications that are good to know in order to handle them easily in case they occur.

Nowadays, pregnancies generally end without complications. Labor can be vaginal or by Cesarean section, but the recovery can be followed by several postpartum complications. But, fortunately these complications occur rarely.

Common postnatal complication is heavy bleeding. Heavy bleeding or hemorrhage is extreme blood loss after childbirth. Postpartum heavy bleeding can occur due to several factors. These factors include extended and complicated delivery, fragments of placenta that stayed attached to the uterus, laceration of the uterus, over distended uterus that is a result of multiple gestations or a large fetus and uterine fibroids that prevent uterus to properly contract. Rarely, reason for postpartum hemorrhaging can be genetic bleeding disorder.

In case that hemorrhage occurs as a result of over distended uterus, or uterus that doesn’t contract after complicated and prolonged delivery, abdomen should be palpated to determine the size and position of the uterus. After that uterine massage should be administered. The mother should position feet above heart and receive oxygen, as well as some medications. Breastfeeding is recommended by pediatrics since it promotes contractions of the uterus and can aid in restoring of the uterus to its original size.


Rather common postpartum complication, endometrisis, represents uterine lining infection. Endometrisis occurs when placenta separates from the uterus which than becomes susceptible to infections or if parts of placenta remain inside the uterus. To prevent endometrisis the doctor must examine placenta to see if it is in one piece. This examination is done to prevent hemorrhaging too.

Symptoms of endometrisis involve increased body temperature, abdominal pain and foul-smelling lochia. Treatment consists of antibiotics.

Episiotomy Site Infections

Infection of episiotomy site is the one that can be easily prevented by proper hygiene. Symptoms of episiotomy site infections include wound tenderness and pain, abdominal pain, edema, problems with urination, high body temperature and wound discharge. Treatment includes antibiotics. To prevent this type of infection, women should regularly wash the perineal area, especially after using toilet. Changing sanitary pad every four hours and avoiding using tampons should be done.

All in all, recovery after giving birth takes time. A woman must rest, eat healthy and drink sufficient amount of fluids. It is normal to feel uterine cramps, because it is returning to its original size, but in case of persistent abdominal pain and fever a woman must immediately consult the doctor. Also, in case that vaginal discharge remains heavy and persistent 4 weeks after delivery a woman should seek the advice from a doctor.

Future moms can occupy themselves with shopping for things she could need during and after delivery. However, if the pregnancy has passed 42nd week and there is still no sign of labor, expecting mothers should consult a doctor or a midwife.

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