At 39 weeks pregnant, you’re right on the cusp of mamahood. Labor could begin any day now, as you’ve officially graduated to a full-term pregnancy. This means that your baby is (or soon will be) ready to begin their new adventure in the big wide world.
But wait! you cry, I’ve not even reached my due date yet. I can’t go into labor…
The thing is that your due date is just your doctor’s best estimate of when your baby should be born. It’s totally normal to give birth the week before or the week after your due date (at 40 weeks or nearly 41 weeks).
So, let’s take a look at what you can expect from (possibly) your last few days of pregnancy.
39 weeks pregnant: What to expect?
39 weeks fetus
As your baby is nearly ready to emerge, it follows that they’ve just about reached their full birth weight and size now. At about 7 ¼ pounds in weight, they’re approximately as heavy as a juicy mini watermelon. And they may be a whole 20 inches long from head to heel.
That said, babies are born in a variety of sizes – from about 5 ½ pounds to 10 pounds.
Your 39 weeks baby in the womb now boasts a less transparent, sturdier layer of skin, which is coated in vernix (a white, creamy protective substance). You might see traces of this left on your baby after the birth.
During these last few days snuggled in your uterus, your baby’s lungs and brain are continuing to develop, preparing for the new tasks of breathing and learning in the outside world.
39 weeks pregnant symptoms
The weight of the baby in your uterus is probably taking its toll now, causing you to feel hot, tired, and generally uncomfortable. Your little one is having great fun crowding out your other internal organs and causing symptoms such as:
- Heartburn, nausea, and indigestion. At 39 weeks nausea and other gastro-intestinal issues can occur as your uterus gets in the way of your stomach.
- Needing to pee all the time because your baby’s head is pressed against your bladder.
- Back pain. When you’re 39 weeks pregnant lower back pain is most likely the result of your baby moving further down your pelvis and head-butting your spine. Ouch!
But if you notice any of the following symptoms: severe swelling of your face or hands, persistent headaches, shortness of breath, or vision changes, contact your healthcare provider ASAP. These could be signs of something called preeclampsia.
What are the signs of labor at 39 weeks?
First off, if you’re 39 weeks pregnant with no signs of labor, don’t worry. It’s still early days and your baby may feel like a slightly longer stay at Hotel Mama.
On the other hand, as we saw above, labor could get underway pretty soon so it’s useful to know what signs to look out for. At 39 weeks pregnant symptoms of labor approaching can include:
- Bloody show. Mucus mixed with blood from your dilating cervix (turning up in your panties or on toilet paper).
- Water breaking. (Although this often doesn’t happen until you’re fully in labor.)
- Longer, stronger contractions. As a general rule, when these are happening every 5 minutes and lasting at least 60 seconds, it’s time to call your HP. They’ll advise you on your next move.
Aside from those all-important questions about how to tell the signs of labor at 39 weeks pregnant, what else are mamas-to-be asking at this stage?
39 weeks pregnant is how many months? Simple: you’re in your ninth month. Nearly there!
Can you induce labor at 39 weeks pregnant? Yes, but usually only if there’s a medical reason to bring on the birth. Otherwise, your healthcare provider will probably suggest waiting to see if labor gets started on its own.
What should I do at 39 weeks pregnant? Whatever makes you feel more confident and comfortable as you get ready to meet your baby. That might mean asking your healthcare provider any last-minute questions, downloading podcasts to distract you during early labor (which can go on a bit…), or taking a gentle stroll in the park.
Listen to your body, eat well, get plenty of rest. Not long to go now…