Week 39

MORE FROM OUR EXPERTS

Your baby this week

7.2

POUNDS IN WEIGHT

She’s ready to take her first, independent breath.

All of her major organs are now well developed.

She’s now in the final stages of plumping up.

How big is your baby?

Her measurements are around 3.3kg (7.2lbs) for weight and she will be about 50.7cm (20in) long by now.

How big is your baby?

Her measurements are around 3.3kg (7.2lbs) for weight and she will be about 50.7cm (20in) long by now.

What does your baby look like?

She’s now in the final stages of plumping up and growing new skin cells in preparation for birth. Her appearance between now and when she arrives won’t be any different; you’re full term.

Changes in your body this week

Unless you go into labour, there aren’t any real changes to your body this week. It’s quite possible that by this late stage of pregnancy you will feel tired, grumpy and generally fed up as your EDD (estimated due date) ticks slowly around. Don’t despair, you really are into your final few days now.

Spend as much time as possible resting, relaxing and perhaps venturing out for some fresh air each day. If you have older children, now is the time to call on friends and family to help you out a bit. You can always pay them back with newborn snuggles.

How your baby is developing

All of her major organs are now well developed. Her old skin cells are being sloughed off and a new layer is emerging which is paler and thicker than before.

She’s ready to take her first, independent, breath as her lungs have produced more surfactant, which keeps her tiny air sacs open.

How your baby is developing

All of her major organs are now well developed. Her old skin cells are being sloughed off and a new layer is emerging which is paler and thicker than before. She’s ready to take her first, independent, breath as her lungs have produced more surfactant, which keeps her tiny air sacs open.

Health concerns

Any bleeding at 39 weeks of pregnancy needs urgent investigation, unless it’s been an ongoing issue for you. Fresh red or dark blood, with or without clots, can suggest placental abruption. This is when the placenta is separating from the wall of your uterus and it can be an extremely dangerous condition. There may be lots of bleeding, or just a small amount, and you may also have pain and tenderness. You should contact your doctor or midwife immediately if you suspect an abruption, as the placenta is your baby’s entire life support system.

Are there any symptoms you should be looking out for?

Yes, the signs of early labour!

The process of labour can differ quite dramatically from one woman to the next and there’s no way of telling in advance how yours is going to go, even if you’ve had previous births. The key signs to look out for are regular, painful contractions (not Braxton Hicks), a bloody, mucous-y ‘show’ (the plug from the cervix) and any indication that your waters have gone. Leaking watery discharge from your vagina may sadly only mean that it’s just your hind waters which have gone and real labour could be hours or days away yet.

Safety first

Pay attention to those contractions. Different women react in different ways to pain, and if your contractions are regular, painful or your stomach is constantly hard, then you should contact your labour ward for guidance. If you aren’t sure whether they’re the real thing or not, then chances are that they probably aren’t. Spend an hour or two monitoring the contractions yourself to see how they progress and if they last longer, become closer together or a lot more painful then you should go in for assessment. If you are struggling to talk through the pain of a contraction, then this is a sure fire sign that labour has started in earnest and that you should get help quickly.

Important issues this week

At week 39 your midwife may offer you a ‘sweep’. This is when she inserts a finger into your cervix and moves it firmly but slowly around. This releases prostaglandins which encourage your body into labour. If your cervix is still high and closed, this means that you aren’t ready to go into labour yet, but a sweep may help to soften and dilate the cervix which brings you a step closer to giving birth. If your cervix is favourable (ready) then contractions often start within 48 hours of a sweep.

Keeping fit, staying healthy

Plan ahead for staying as fit as possible post birth. You’ve probably already invested in your chosen pram or pushchair for your baby, but how about using a baby sling for those early months? The advantages are that your baby stays close to you and is comforted by your heartbeat and breathing – all the things she’s become used to inside you. Plus it’s easier for you to get out and about and leaves your hands free. Once you’ve recovered from the birth you can use a baby sling while you walk for exercise and even while moving around your home doing the things you need to do.

Looking forward; planning ahead

For most new parents, a deluge of excited friends and relatives at the door is unavoidable. However if you’ve just spent three days in hospital, 24 hours in labour, your baby isn’t feeding easily and the ‘baby blues’ hormones are leaving you feeling weepy, then visitors are probably the last thing that you want.

Now’s the time to discuss with your partner exactly who you expect to visit and when. Visitors while you’re still in hospital are very welcome because there won’t be any catering demands and people visiting a maternity ward are less likely to stay for hours on end.

Work out your visiting plans, who’s coming, where and when, let people know about the plan – and stick to it. Resting, feeding and bonding with your baby takes priority over everything else, even if you put the odd nose or two out of joint for a few days.

Important – If you or your child are unwell you should seek medical advice from a professional – contact your GP or visit an A&E department in an emergency. While My BabyManual strives to provide dependable and trusted information on pregnancy and childcare 24/7 via our website pages, we cannot provide individual answers to specific healthcare questions.
Please sign in to comment on this article.
Be the first to write a comment on this article.

Fitness and exercise

Know what to do if you go into labour while exercising– whether you're p...

Read More

Nutrition in pregnancy

From that first moment of bonding to letting everyone know your good news,...

Read More

Partners perspective

Your partner’s pregnancy hormones are hitting another peak, the Everest ...

Read More

Week 39

Your pre-pregnancy BMI is important when considering how much weight gain ...

Read More