Congratulations! Your baby has reached full term. Your baby is now fully developed and is waiting to make his debut into this world. You may be finding it tough to concentrate on anything other than the arrival of your baby. Every little pain or movement will make you wonder if its time. Don’t worry; you will get plenty of warnings that things are about to start.
Pregnancy week 39
Your baby is as big as a pumpkin now and is taking up most of the space in the uterus. Your baby’s weight will not change much this week, though his brain continues to develop fast. You are feeling increasingly uncomfortable now.
Your week 39 pregnancy symptoms are similar to the ones you felt the week before. These include –
1. Braxton Hick’s contractions
You will feel these practice contractions very often during this week. Though uncomfortable, they do not cause any pain and go away when you change position.
The size of your bump and the load you are carrying is tiring you out now and making sleep impossible. The pressure of the uterus on your stomach is also making you eat lesser than usual, which may also lead to low energy levels.
Your growing belly causes your center of gravity to shift. Your hormones also loosen your ligaments and joints, which can make your grasp on objects less firm.
4. Pelvic pressure
As your baby is preparing to enter the world, he is now is sitting pretty low in your pelvis, making you uncomfortable. This pressure makes your lower torso feel heavy and uncomfortable.
The pressure on your uterus on your rectum can lead to constipation. Drink more water and add some roughage to your diet.
6. Lightning crotch
Now that your baby is positioned low, any of his movements like stretching or kicking can put pressure on a nerve. This movement can cause a sharp pain in the pelvis, vagina, or rectum. Some women describe this pain as a lightning bolt in the crotch.
Signs of labor
The signs and symptoms of labor are different from the other symptoms you may be feeling. Call your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms –
1. Water breaking
Your water breaking feels more like a trickle of water than a gush of liquid. When your amniotic sac ruptures, this watery liquid comes out and means that you will go into labor within a few hours.
2. Regular contractions
You may feel a regular and repetitive tightening of your stomach. These contractions come more frequently and are increasingly more painful as time goes on.
As the muscles in the uterus relax in preparation for birth, the muscles in the rectum also relax and lead to diarrhea.
Your body at week 39
Your baby is full-term now and is crowding inside your uterus. Your belly is stretched to the maximum, and your uterus has displaced many organs from their position. As your baby is inching towards your cervix, your cervix is also softening and thinning out. This process is known as effacement.
Your baby at week 39
By the end of the 39th week, your baby will measure almost 18 to 20.5 inches long and will weigh between 6 ½ to 8 pounds. The umbilical cord will measure about 22 inches long.
- All of your baby’s organs are fully developed, and he can now function normally outside the womb.
- The insulating fat layer under is skin continues to mature.
- He is supplied antibodies through the placenta to help boost his immunity.
- The bones in his skull haven’t fused yet, as this allows him to squeeze through the birth canal.
- Your baby can now form new skin cells.
- The thick fat layer under the skin has been deposited over the blood vessels, and this gives the skin a pink hue.
Tips to be followed at 39 weeks pregnant
1. Rest and relax
Your body is working hard to take care of your baby. It’s time for you to take it easy and rest. Relax as much as you can. Remember to lie down on your side.
2. Get physical
It is safe to have sex right up until you go into labor. Having sex can also help to induce labor. It is said that orgasms can cause contractions.
3. Stock up
Stock up your fridge with nutritious food and snacks for when you come back from the hospital. You can also cook and freeze some simple meals to make mealtimes easier for when the baby is in the house.
4. Pack some snacks
Labor, as the name suggests, is hard work. You need energy for all the hard work. If your doctor allows, you should eat some light snacks to keep your strength during labor.
Continue to eat a healthy diet. Avoid eating large meals; instead, opt for small and more frequent meals.
6. Pelvic floor exercises
Continue with your pelvic floor exercises. Toning up your pelvic floor muscles can help you during labor and hastens recovery after the birth (1).
7. Prepare for your hospital visit
Pack your hospital bag and keep it where it is easily accessible. Keep a list of emergency contacts handy. Take your hospital notes wherever you go.
8. Stay calm
Stay calm and relaxed. Talk to other moms about their birth experiences, as this may help ease your mind.
Your pregnancy week 39 doctor’s visit
During this visit, your doctor will –
- Check your weight and blood pressure
- Measure the height of your uterus
- Check your baby’s heart rate
- Ask you about the frequency of your baby’s movements
- Ask you to leave your urine sample to check sugar and protein levels.
During this visit, your doctor may also offer to strip your membranes. This process involves sweeping a finger around your cervix and gently detaching your amniotic sac from the uterine wall. This action stimulates prostaglandins and reduces the need for induction (2).
Tips for the partner
At this stage, not only is your partner exhausted, but she is also anxious about labor and the birth process. The best thing for you to do at this time is to help her out with everything. Listening can be a great help; let her share her feeling and worries with you. You may also be having your concerns about fatherhood. It will help you both if you are honest about your feelings.
Learn to recognize the signs of labor. Your midwife may suggest that you stay at home until the frequency of contractions increases. Help your partner stay relaxed.
Your baby is full-term now and can now function normally outside the womb. Your belly is stretched to the maximum, and your cervix is softening and thinning out in preparation for birth. You will continue to feel Braxton Hick’s contractions, fatigue, pelvic pressure, and constipation. If you go into labor this week, you may experience water breaking, regular contractions, and diarrhea. Continue to eat healthily and do pelvic floor exercises. Be prepared for your hospital visit with your hospital bag packed and the list o emergency contacts handy. Stay calm and relax.