Week 39 is quite a waiting game, isn’t it? Your baby is considered full-term this week, so giving birth now means he’s perfectly fine and won’t face any complications once he hits the outside world. His kicks may often feel as if labor is impending, and the frequent Braxton-Hicks contractions probably give you shivers on your back in expectation of delivery. Hold on tight — you will soon meet your little darling. Just make sure you’re ready to go to the hospital once the moment comes!
What to expect at 39 weeks pregnant? Week 39 and 40 aren’t much different in terms of symptoms. Your belly has reached its final size now — and this probably makes sleeping and even walking very difficult. As your baby has descended into your pelvis and is no longer crowding your diaphragm, breathing is significantly easier.
However, digestion is still slow, which may cause heartburn, constipation, and gas. Try eating smaller and more frequent meals — they ease up the discomfort and speed up digestion as well.
Have you had your bloody show already? No? You’ll have it soon, so don’t freak out if you see bloody discharge on the toilet paper or undies. And it'll the first sign of labor. The mucus plug, which has essentially blocked your cervix during pregnancy to prevent pathogens from entering the uterus and harming your baby, will come away along with a bit of blood. Unless there is lots of blood, there’s no need to contact your caregiver or midwife. If you’ve already had your bloody show, then expect labor to start anytime. Your water might break soon, so be extra vigilant.Usually, you’ll feel a big gush of liquid coming out from your vagina. Some women report just a smaller gush, similar to a leak. Either way, contact your caregiver right away, and be ready to get to the hospital!
Your Baby at 39 Weeks
During week 39, your baby continues to build a layer of fat that helps regulate his temperature after birth. At this point, he likely measures around 20 inches and weighs little over 7 pounds — just like a smaller watermelon. The old layer of skin is sloughing off as new layers form underneath. The texture is firm and smooth — no more wrinkles! The skin is also fully opaque by now, his blood vessels are no longer visible, and the vernix caseosa is shedding.
The downy hair (lanugo) will also be shedding away this week if it hasn’t already. His kicks surely feel intense and more painful than ever, as there’s almost no amniotic liquid left. If your baby isn’t in the head-down (engaged) position yet, your caregiver or midwife might try to induce him to change positions so he’s ready for birth. Note that, if the baby doesn’t move into the engaged position, a c-section might be necessary. Enjoy the silence and relaxation while you can — once your baby is born, you’ll no longer be able to!
Ultrasound Images of 39 Week Pregnancy
Bellies at 39 Weeks
Have you got your pregnancy pillow and nursing bra yet? Investing in them is a great idea as they can make moms’ lives so much easier. Also, be sure that your baby’s crib is ready to “house” your little darling. Stock up on baby essentials like diapers, and get your hospital bag ready for when contractions start!
Do you have all emergency numbers handy? Also, do you have someone available to take you to the hospital when you go into labor, or do you need to call an ambulance? Either way, keep your phone with you all the time, with all important numbers on speed dial. Your journey has almost reached an end. If you don’t deliver during this week, then you’ll be one of the 5% to give birth right on the due date!