39 Weeks Pregnant: What To Expect? Symptoms, Baby Development, and Tips!

39 Weeks Pregnant

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Entered the 39th week of pregnancy? Congratulations, you are now officially full term! In the 39th week of pregnancy, an average baby would ideally measure 19.9 inches long and weigh about 7.3 pounds. To put this in better perspective, the baby will be right about the size of a patch kid doll

What is Happening With the Baby When You’re 39 Weeks Pregnant?

In the 39th week of pregnancy, you should ideally be now prepping up for delivery because the baby can literally pop out any time now! Here is what is happening in a 39th-week full-term baby’s body-

1. Baby Preps For Delivery

In the 39th week, a baby is called full term because they would be coming out in the world very soon now. Having said that, it should be noted, though the baby is old enough to take birth, their body is still putting down fat deposits, and their brain is also still developing rapidly to be able to adapt to the world outside the womb.

2. Less Definitive Baby Movements

At around the time of delivery, you can expect the baby’s kicks and turns to feel less definitive than before. Since the baby is preparing to pop out, they do not really have enough room in the womb at this point and hence, lesser movement and milder kicks. However, if you may have a reason to feel that the baby is unusually still, try having some cold water to wake them up or reach out to your doctor at the earliest.

3. New Skin Cell Generation

The baby, in the 39th week, is also already generating new skin cells and replacing the older ones. This is because the new cells are supposed to help with temperature regulation post-delivery.

39 Weeks Pregnant: Symptoms in the Mother’s Body?

In the 39th week, before anything else, the anxiety and excitement of delivering are the most common and most obvious. You will be seeing your little one soon and while your body preps for the big day, here’s what you can expect from your body in the 39th week of pregnancy-

1. Braxton Hick Contractions

Braxton Hicks contractions, or false contractions as they are called, are supposed to be your body’s way to prepare you for the labor. These contractions can be differentiated from real contractions as they are shorter and much less painful. However, do not dismiss your contractions on the basis of a mere assumption that it would be Braxton Hicks. Take note of the tightening and when the contractions start to feel more evident and regular – this will be your pivot to real contractions!

2. Lightning Crotch

As funny as it may sound, lighting crotch is for real! Lighting crotch is essentially this brief, shooting pain felt in the pelvis, triggered by a baby’s internal movements. This phenomenon is painful because your baby’s head puts pressure on your cervix, disturbing tons of nerve endings in the area. Submerging your pelvic area in a bathtub or a pool can be of help.

3. Dilation and Effacement

Your doctor, in the 39th week, is most likely to enter a couple of fingers into your vagina to check if your cervix is opening and thinning, called dilation and effacement respectively. Dilation and effacement help determine if your labor has started or if it is yet to start. You might think that this is unnecessary but it really is not as some women might experience no-symptom early labor as the body preps for childbirth.

4. Vaginal Discharge

Vaginal discharge is sure a part of a woman’s life throughout her life, however, this discharge increases manifold in volume when you’re 39 weeks pregnant. It should also be noted here that amniotic fluid should not be mistaken for vaginal discharge – both phenomenon’s being common in the 39th week. Amniotic fluid can be differentiated as a thinner and watery liquid discharge. Always reach out to your doctor if you are unsure or even have the smallest of doubts.

Final Thoughts

As you near your final days of the term, here are some final words of guidance for you to end this blog. Take as much help as you may need from people around you because delivery is no joke and everybody understands that. There is absolutely no need of feeling embarrassed to reach out – after all the aches and pains, you really deserve an extra hand (or even a foot massage, who’s to say!). Above and over anything else, just chill out and wait for the baby to do what it has been preparing for. A storm is soon to arrive – just the most beautiful you’d ever witness!

39 Weeks Pregnant FAQs

1) Does nipple stimulation help induce labor?

Yes, nipple stimulation does help induce labor. Massaging the nipples releases the hormone oxytocin in the body. This is also why mothers are recommended to avoid touching their nipples and causing stimulation if they are not at the hospital or the birth center around the due date.

2) Is it okay to have sex in the 39th week of pregnancy?

Having sex is usually considered safe up until labor begins or as long as the water has not broken. Orgasms are even known to cause contractions while having sex in the last weeks of pregnancy can help induce labor!

3) What is a pregnancy membrane sweep?

Your OB or your midwife may perform a membrane sweep wherein the practitioner swipes their finger around the cervix to separate the amniotic sac from the uterus. A medical sweep is supposed to reduce the need for medical induction and is a safe, quick process.

4) What are the signs of labor at 39 weeks?

Here are the signs of labor at 39 weeks pregnant:
  • Strong and regular contractions
  • Pain in the belly and lower back
  • Bloody mucus discharge
  • Water breaking
  • Note - In case you think you're in labor, it’s always best to give your doctor a call. However, be mindful that not all contractions mean you're in true labor.

    5) At 39 weeks pregnant, is it good to walk?

    First things first, you’ve walked your way throughout the trimesters to week 39, there's no reason to stop now. So, it’s absolutely ok to keep walking right up into labor as well. This will not only help you tone your muscles, but also stabilize blood sugar, strengthen your heart and lungs, and improve your mood.

    6) What are some signs that indicate that labor is nearing?

  • Weight Gain Stops
  • Fatigue
  • Vaginal Discharge
  • Urge to Nest
  • Diarrhea
  • Back Pain
  • Loose Joints
  • The Baby Drops
  • 7) Why is my stomach so hard at 39 weeks?

    This happens as the muscles of the womb tighten for a short period, but it will soften again, without any pain. However, in case your stomach is constantly hard and becomes regular and painful, you must immediately contact your midwife or the labor ward for advice.

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