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It’s week thirty-nine and you’re on the precipice of one of the biggest events of your life! It’s been nearly forty weeks of emotional peaks and valleys, arduous symptoms, and immense physical changes. Now, you are finally ready to end your pregnancy journey and welcome your little one (any day now!) into your loving arms!
Just as ready and excited as you are for baby to come out, the baby is completely ready to make its transition into the world beyond your womb.
Your little one has been rapidly growing new skin that is covered in soft, touchable fat as the last layers of old skin have been sloughed off and made into meconium.
As you and baby revel in excitement and anticipation, your cervix will begin to ripen. The ripening of the cervix involves a comprehensive softening of the cervical layers as it dilates and begins to thin out through the effacement process.
To learn more about week thirty-nine of pregnancy and all of its thrilling developments, read on below!
Your Physical and Emotional Health
39 Weeks Pregnant
Still in the waiting game at week thirty-nine, you are on the verge of experiencing the end of your pregnancy and experiencing a whole new beginning.
Life as you knew it will never be the same. With a beautiful baby in your arms, your life, the future, and the world around you take on new and profound meaning as you contemplate the ensuing years of your child’s life.
While you haven’t given birth just yet, it’s important to emotionally brace yourself for the moment and for life immediately after. Both you and your partner need to be strong, capable, and patient as you experience a wide-range of unfamiliar experiences that come with parenthood.
Admittedly, it may be a bit difficult to practice mindfulness in terms of emotionally bracing yourself for birth while you have a fetus inside you that is now officially the size of a mini-watermelon!
Right about now, you are likely exceedingly uncomfortable as you have to contend with a painful and achy pelvis area that baby has firmly embedded itself in. Additionally, your uterus will feel extremely heavy, and you may even begin to feel like you are lugging it around as you go about your day to day life!
To top it all off, Braxton-Hicks contractions are very likely to be increasing in intensity and frequency and scaring the living daylights out of you as you wonder if they are “just” Braxton-Hicks contractions or a sign of labor commencing.
Try not to stress out about the Braxton-Hicks contractions; they are a completely natural part of pregnancy and will become more common as you near your due date, as they are your body’s way of preparing itself for the big event awaiting you and baby.
To distinguish between just another Braxton-Hicks contraction or actual signs of labor, look out for the following:
Indications of Labor
|A rupture of membranes resulting in your water breaking and containing amniotic fluid||A no longer present mucus plug (which formerly sealed the opening to your uterus)|
|Severe diarrhea and nausea||A “bloody show” where your capillaries begin to rupture from the effacement and dilation process, resulting in red and pink discharge|
Also note that if your contractions are irregularly occurring and dissipate when you walk around or change your body’s position, you are more than likely experiencing another Braxton-Hicks contraction.
It is critical to be aware that a Braxton-Hicks contraction that you chalked up as a sign of “false” labor can shift into “real” labor in amatter of seconds.
Once your water breaks, it’s DEFCON time, and all systems are a go! *
Other symptoms you may experience in week thirty-nine and week forty are the following:
|Body and back aches and pains||Clumsiness||Constant urge to urinate|
|Carpal-tunnel like symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and pain in the wrists, hands, and fingers||Swelling, bloating, increased fluid retention||Urinary Tract Infection symptoms like burning and pain while going to the bathroom|
|High blood pressure||Decreased appetite due to pressure from baby’s recent switched position||Increase in occurrence of Braxton-Hicks contractions|
|Effacement||Bloody show||Water breaking|
Your Baby’s Health and Status
39 Weeks Pregnant
At week thirty-nine, thebaby is now considered full-term. With this official designation, you can rest assured that baby has passed the point of being born prematurely and experiencing a range of associated health risks.
Now weighing just about eight pounds and measuring anywhere from nineteen to twenty-one inches, your baby’s overall measurements will remain static until birth. While baby’s body growth slows down immensely, other developments are occurring at a lightning-fast speed.
Baby’s brain, for example, is developing at a tremendous rate (this process will continue through the first years of its life) and is accumulating new moves and tricks by the day as his or her skill set evolves at an astonishing rate.
Despite the race of your baby, their skin at this time is white in tone, having recently changed from a flushed-pink hue. While baby’s skin can potentially grow much darker as she ages and experiences pigmentation processes to their skin, they will remain a white-ish color as a result of the very thick layer of fat covering the expansive collection of their blood vessels.
During this time in your term, your little one’s endocrine system begins to secrete an increased amount of stress hormones; more so than he or she will at any other time in their lives.
At the critical point where baby exits your uterus, those stress hormones assist on a crucially important level for baby to manage their own bodily systems independent of the placenta. While these incredible changes require an abundance of energy from thebaby, rest assured, they will be ready and able to take on the challenges that await them.
Tips, Tricks, and Knowledge
39 Weeks Pregnant
- Take it easy! Your body and mind are both exhausted. With all sorts of uncomfortable symptoms happening, your body is working double-time to support the upcoming birth of the full-term fetus in your womb. Get plenty of rest and save up your energy for the big day that is looming right around the corner!
- Stay hydrated; drink plenty of water and stay away from caffeine, soda, and alcohol
- Readily accept any offers for help with tasks, chores, cooking, childcare and more. You may refuse out of politeness but rest assured, you will appreciate the help immensely when the time comes
- Consider hiring a short-term (or long-term) house cleaner or mother’s helper to assist with tasks, chores, and duties while you recuperate from giving birth
- Make sure that you don’t isolate yourself! It’s easy to slide into a hermit-like existence as you bemoan your body’s condition and try to manage exhaustion symptoms but interacting with friends, family, and other moms can be invigorating and yield plenty of useful advice and tips
- If you’re planning on breastfeeding, invest in nursing bras that are one to two sizes bigger than what your breasts need now. Once milk production goes into overdrive, your breasts will continue to grow at a rapid rate
To-do List and Reminders
39 Weeks Pregnant
- Complete the tasks on your daily to-do list everyday
- Make sure your automobile has a full tank of gas ready for the big day
- Have your car seat correctly installed and rear-facing (as per the law)
- Have your overnight bag packed and ready to go in the car – Make sure there is a copy of your birth plan in your bag
- Have your route to the hospital planned – ensure that it is the shortest and most efficient route
- Have your partner or other person accompanying you to the hospital on the big day on alert
- Keep eating healthy and make strategic choices that offer the best bang for the nutritional buck. For example, having a nice grilled steak for lunch gives you plenty of protein, choline, and zinc. A piece of salmon for dinner yields nutritional benefits like protein and Omega-3 fatty acids along with plenty of powerhouse vitamins and minerals.
Check these visuals out as an easy reminder of how to eat healthy for you and your baby. Focus on incorporating foods from each group; fruits, vegetables, proteins, dairy, and enriched whole grains.
- Roughly eighty-five percent of all babies are born up to two weeks after their anticipated due date
- Many consider breastfeeding to be the best way to feed baby, as breast milk contains the correct proportions of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals
- Breastfeeding can also assist to protect baby from developing ear infections, respiratory problems, allergies, cancer, and sudden infant death syndrome. It can also reduce your risk of ovarian and breast cancer!
Bloody Show: As unpleasant as this phenomenon sounds, bloody show merely involves the presence of small amounts of blood in the mucus excreted from the vagina during the last part of the pregnancy term.
A very common symptom of pregnancy, Bloody Show is not cause for concern for mother or the fetus. It is only when there is a significant amount of bleeding that Blood Show becomes an issue warranting an immediate visit to your health care provider.
Abnormally large amounts of blood in the mucus from the vagina can indicate the presence of conditions such as placenta previa or placental abruption, both of which pose a risk to mother and child.
*Defcon: Used in a facetious, light-hearted tone in this article, Defcon is an acronym for defense readiness condition. It is a term used by military personnel to signal the need for maximum readiness, increased security measures, and an alert posture in the face of critical conditions….such as your water breaking
Ready to find out what’s next on your pregnancy journey?