Review: Pregnancy Movie, 40 Weeks

40 Weeks pregnancy documentary

At the crowded premier of the new pregnancy documentary 40 Weeks recently, my soon-to-be row-mates rescued me from the aisle. “Over here! No one is sitting over here!” They gave me big smiles and introductions. One had outrageously sparkly shoes that I stepped on when I squeezed by, and she didn’t even mind. The husband and wife, and director and producer of 40 Weeks, Christopher Henze and Dominique Debroux soon took the stage and the warm welcoming feelings kept flowing. Christopher made the movie, he said, as a thank-you to his wife for bringing their daughter Gaia into this world, and he’s in awe of all women who bring life into the world every day.

40 Weeks is premiering in an unconventional way, and one that encourages women to form community, one of the gifts Christopher wanted to impart, or inspire. You can make your own screening if you like, or join one others have started. Go to and look up 40 Weeks to find a bunch of fellow mamas gathering for screening near you.

We meet the first moms of 40 Weeks in week 4/5 of their pregnancies, for the always breathtaking reading of the pregnancy test. “What!!??” says Liz, “I need to do another!!” In the weeks that follow we get to follow Liz, Jen, Sandy, Emily, Victoria, Asya, Kelly, Donielle, Natalia, Vicky, Alex, Jessica and Diana, as their double lines and plus signs go from looking like little beans (one aptly nicknamed clumpy) to little babies. It’s pretty much impossible not to fall in love with all of them.

Sandy tells us a story of how she went to run errands and at some point realizes she didn’t have her cell phone. She goes back to the store where she thought it would be but it isn’t there. She gets really worried and stressed and comes home. Crying at home she decides she needs a snack to make her feel better (of course!) and goes to the fridge. She opens the door and guess what she finds on the top shelf? Oh yes, her phone.

There are moments where couples or moms filmed themselves (they were each given a video camera to use at home) and those are even better. In one home scene, Liz’s husband Max is explaining to the camera how they have to get a CVS (chorionic villus sampling) test and how hopefully the doctors will go through Liz’s stomach. Liz, who you may fall in love with most of all, says, “No!I don’t want an enormous needle going in through my stomach. Through the va-hoo-hoo!” “Through the va-hoo-hoo,” Max says to us, with complete sincerity.

I would have been absolutely happy just to listen to stories, but the film adds a heavy dose of medical pregnancy info into the mix: what you should eat, what you shouldn’t eat, information about the different tests and why or when to take them, and what happens in the very anticipated 20-week anatomy scan. I felt a bit like, Hey! I know this stuff already! Let’s get back to my new friends!

These new friends come so close to describing what I think is truly indescribable: 40 weeks of making a new person inside your very own body. If you are reading this you may be making a little person right now. Or finally holding her in your arms. Either way, I think you’d like this movie. I did.