What to expect at 39 weeks pregnant as you approach your due date
You’re 39 weeks pregnant, and your due date is just around the corner! In this final week you could go into labour any day now, so it’s important to know what to expect as the exciting day approaches.
By now, you have probably been experiencing the same symptoms each week and are very familiar with the side effects of pregnancy. However, in this final week you should be prepared for a few new changes to take place in your body.
Read on for more information on these changes, and how to ease any discomfort that you may be experiencing along with them.
Your Baby at 39 Weeks
At 39 weeks pregnant, your little one is fully grown and eager to meet you. It has finally reached its birth weight of somewhere between six and nine pounds, about a third of which is taken up by its big baby brain!
As well as their brain, your baby’s lungs are also fully grown, which your baby will begin to exercise as soon as it’s born! While you may have some sleepless nights ahead of you, your baby’s cries won’t actually result in tears until after the first month, when their tear ducts finally open.
Your baby’s skin has also now changed from pink to white, regardless of what it’s eventual complexion will be. This is due to the white, waxy layer that now coats your baby’s skin called vernix, helping to protect and assist your baby on its journey out of the womb. There is also a layer of fat deposited over the baby’s blood vessels, making your baby’s cheeks chubby and adorable!
39 Weeks Pregnant Baby Size
Your baby is now fully grown, congratulations! It has reached the size of what is officially considered to be a full-term baby, and probably measures at about 19 to 21 inches. From this point onwards, your baby won’t do much more growing until after he or she is born, but the brain continues to develop at a rapid pace. Your baby is now roughly the size of a small pumpkin, and is ready to enter the world at any moment.
Your Body at 39 Weeks Pregnant
With labour just around the corner, your body is preparing itself for the big day. This week you may experience some new sensations.
39 Weeks Pregnancy Symptoms
Braxton Hicks Contractions
You’ve heard this one before – if you haven’t experienced them yet, don’t worry. Some women find them manageable, but for others they can be quite painful and, if so, there is no harm in going to the hospital for reassurance.
Change in fetal movement
For the past nine months your body has created the perfect home for your little one, but now it’s starting to outgrow it! You’ll probably notice its frequent twists and turns. It’s nothing to worry about, just your baby’s way of telling you that it’s looking forward to meeting you soon.
Heartburn or indigestion
Heartburn is something that you will likely be battling throughout the entirety of your pregnancy. Don’t worry, as soon as you deliver it should clear up. Until then, keep using the same treatments that have worked for you so far such as wearing loose clothing and getting plenty of relaxation. In this final week, it’s a good idea to switch to liquid foods to make this symptom more bearable.
Discharge and blood
Don’t be alarmed if you experience more discharge from your vagina in this final week, particularly if it is pink or brownish in colour. This is normal before labour, as the blood vessels in your cervix will rupture and your cervix will open up.
It’s likely that your mucous plug will fall out this week, often when you go to the toilet. You may not even notice it but, if you do, don’t be alarmed. It does not mean that you are going into labour, but it does indicate that it’s not far away!
Whilst this normally occurs in hospital, your water may break before you have realised that you are in labour. This is just your amniotic sac breaking and releasing its fluid, and it’s a clear indicator that you are beginning your delivery. No need to panic, just focus on your breathing and make your way to the hospital.
Haemorrhoids and Diarrhoea
Don’t be alarmed at sudden diarrhoea this week – your bowel muscles are loosening in preparation for childbirth, so this is normal. Any pain from haemorrhoids should also improve as your body loosens up.
Aches and pains
In this final week, your baby will be beginning to move lower in preparation for its delivery. This will result in more pressure on your pelvis, which can be uncomfortable and often feel like menstrual cramps or indigestion. This can create the sensation of shooting pains from your vagina down to your legs, often known as ‘lightning crotch’. Don’t worry, it may feel strange, but it is not a sign of any problem.
Treatments at 39 Weeks
With the approval of your practitioner, prepare some snacks to get you through your labour. Giving birth is an exhausting job, so try to choose simple food with high energy such as plain pasta, ice pops, apple sauce and toast.
At 39 weeks pregnant, your body will be swollen and probably sore. Reflexologists aim to ease and stimulate internal organs, such as the womb, through pressure points in the hands and feet. Particularly for mums who are past their due date, this can be a gentle way to stimulate labour.
You have a big job ahead of you, so get all the rest you can now! Your sleep may be interrupted and you may be uncomfortable, but its important keep up your energy levels for the big day.