Week 39 of Your Pregnancy
In the 39th week of pregnancy, delivery is imminent. It can start at any moment! Close confidants should know about it so that you can always reach someone in case of emergency. Otherwise, it is important that you allow yourself enough rest to recharge your batteries for the natural birth.
A planned cesarean section, if necessary, would have already taken place in the previous week of pregnancy. Let yourself be served and pampered a little – as far as possible. A massage, for example, is gratefully accepted by most expectant mamas.
Table of content
- The baby in the 39th week of gestation
- Your body in the 39th week of pregnancy
- The last days of pregnancy: What can do you good in the 39th week of pregnancy
- 39th week of pregnancy: your symptoms
- 39 weeks of pregnancy: what you should keep in mind
- FAQ – 39th week of Pregnancy
- What to Expect During Your 39th Week of Pregnancy – Video
Here you can find all of our 3rd trimester articles:
The baby in the 39th week of gestation
In the 39th week of pregnancy, the baby measures about 20 inches in length. Its weight is about 7 ¼ pounds. The baby’s growth in length has increasingly slowed down in recent weeks, and in many children, it was already largely complete by the 36th week. Both the length measurements and the weight are average values. In addition to small, delicate children with a birth weight of slightly less than 6.6 lbs, there are also small “heavyweights” who weigh around 8.8 lbs at the time of birth.
Last week, the baby has already passed the final stage of lung maturation: his lungs have begun to produce cortisone, which after birth ensures their smooth development and rapid stabilization of the breathing rhythm.
If the birth is still delayed in the 39th week of gestation, the baby stores more fat reserves. Its movements are now often hardly noticeable – there is hardly any room for them in utero now.
It usually sleeps for most of the day. The lanugo hair has now almost completely disappeared. However, some babies are born with a fine lanugo fuzz on individual parts of the body, which falls out during the first weeks of life.
In the 39th week of pregnancy, strong furrows appear in the baby’s gums. The anlagen of his milk teeth have already formed in the second trimester, their contours are now more prominent. The first little teeth will start to appear from the sixth month of life.
The amniotic fluid is no longer clear in the 39th week of gestation but has taken on a milky white color. This is due to the cheese goo dissolved in it and the dead skin cells of the baby. In the last days before birth, the top layer of the baby’s skin peels off and is replaced by new skin.
In immediate preparation for birth, the baby’s body now secretes more hormones. During the birth process, his endocrine system will produce more stress hormones than at any other time in his later life. Immediately after birth, these help the newborn to start its bodily functions without the support of the placenta.
Being 39 weeks pregnant often means a roller coaster of emotions. You may not always feel particularly fit. Your belly has grown to an impressive size this week, it can measure up to 39″ in circumference. The baby inside is exerting a lot of downward pressure, which can be felt like a constant pulling in the abdomen or, in the worst case, as abdominal pain. Many movements may therefore be very strenuous for you. Back pain may also be common during the 39th week.
Nevertheless, you may experience a real surge of energy and have an urgent need to furnish the nursery, clean the apartment and run last-minute errands. This nest-building urge haunts many pregnant women around the 39th week of pregnancy, but it should be treated with caution, as it can always involve the risk of overexertion.
It’s better to take it easy or do some fitness exercises for pregnant women in case you need to get some energy out.
In the 39th week of pregnancy, you may be paying extra attention to when the first contractions start. If your abdomen becomes very hard in the 39th week and you feel a pulling and twinge in the vagina all the way down your back, these could be contractions. However, if these contractions come at irregular intervals and stop when you change your position or walk around, then they are most likely exercise contractions and not labor contractions.
However, these practice contractions can become labor contractions within a few minutes.
Measure the intervals between contractions. Once they become regular or occur within an hour of each other at five-minute intervals, you should contact your midwife and/or the birth clinic. If your water breaks, you should head to the birth center as soon as possible.
Even if the event is a very joyful one, the birth ahead of you will probably be exhausting and the first weeks with your baby may be a challenge. So you should use the last days of your pregnancy to relax and do something good for yourself:
- Swim: Sports can prevent circulatory problems and keep you fit. Especially because some movements may be difficult for you in the 39th week of pregnancy, swimming is a good way to still be physically active. Enjoy the weightless feeling in the water.
- Pregnancy massage: Treat yourself to a professional pregnancy massage. Take this time out to relax tense muscles and unwind.
- Pedicure: In the 39th week of pregnancy, you might have problems reaching your feet. Take some time out and leave your pedicure to either a professional or your partner.
- Nursing pillow: In the 39th week, it might be difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position. If a breastfeeding pillow was on your initial equipment checklist, and you have already purchased one, you can use it now. Use it to support your baby bump and place it between your legs when lying on your side. Equip your bed with enough pillows. If you suffer from heartburn, for example, it helps to keep your body as high as possible.
- Abdominal belt: In the 39th week, you carry a lot of weight around with you. An abdominal belt can relieve you of some of this work and also relieve your back and pelvic floor. Abdominal or pelvic belts come in a variety of styles and can even be prescribed by your OB/GYN if you have severe back pain or another discomfort.
- Acupuncture: Some women swear by the birth-preparing effect of acupuncture. This involves placing very fine needles in specific areas of the body from the 36th week of pregnancy. This treatment is said to contribute to the maturation of the cervix. If your body is already showing signs of being ready for birth, acupuncture may even gently promote labor. Many midwifery practices or maternity clinics offer this treatment.
In the last week of pregnancy, many women are overcome by great fatigue, and therefore you should now treat yourself to one thing above all: Rest and plenty of sleep. Whenever possible, put your feet up and look forward to your baby and all the adventures that await you as a mother.
39th week of pregnancy: your symptoms
- Diarrhea. Your intestines are under a lot of strain due to the pressure that the placenta and baby are now exerting on them. Diarrhea accompanied by abdominal pain can therefore occur repeatedly in the 39th week of pregnancy. It can also be a sign that the birth is about to begin.
- Nausea. You may now be thinking, “I still feel sick a lot. When will this stop?” Nausea can still occur in the 39th week of pregnancy.
Circulatory problems when lying on your back: the so-called vena cava compression syndrome could be the reason for dizziness and fainting towards the end of pregnancy. If you lie on your back, the heavy uterus could press on vessels and disrupt blood circulation. In that case, it’s best to turn to your left side, for example, or perhaps avoid lying on your back in the future.
- Restlessness. Are your legs and arms tingling because you want to move and do something? This inner feeling of restlessness is now a concern for many pregnant women. Even if it’s hard for you, don’t start cleaning like crazy or moving furniture back and forth. Too much activity could trigger contractions and even if you are already in the 39th week, you should give yourself and your baby the time you need.
- Discharge. When the cervix opens and the mucus plug that has been closing it off comes, there may be more discharge. This may contain traces of blood. However, it can also be a white, creamy, or colorless mucus-like discharge. In the 39th week of pregnancy, such a secretion can be a sign of birth. However, always seek medical advice if you are unsure.
After you have been pregnant for 39 weeks, the birth is just around the corner. You may be wondering what it will be like afterward. In all likelihood, everything will be a little different from what you expected. Nevertheless, you can already make some preparations for the time when you will get to know your newborn. Therefore, make the last preparations that can make life in the postpartum period a little easier for you. Your baby and the changes in your body will demand all your attention in the first few days. For example, regulate who can visit you and when, and cook enough meals in advance. Here you can find out what else you can do before you bring your newborn home.
As joyful as the arrival of a baby is, it also brings many changes for a mother.
The effort of giving birth, the lack of sleep, the hormonal changes, but also the adjustment to the new situation, lead to the so-called “baby blues” in many women. A slight upset occurs quite often, but can also disappear on its own.
However, if you are overcome by your feelings and can no longer help yourself, you may be suffering from postnatal depression. This affects many new mothers. It is advisable to confide in your partner, friends, or family and to consult a doctor. Under no circumstances should you bear the burden of what is happening to you alone!
FAQ - 39th week of Pregnancy
This includes: Braxton Hicks contractions. At 39 weeks pregnant, cramping or tightening of your uterus may seem pretty constant, no matter what you do. Usually these “practice” labor pains start in the front of your body and ease up when you switch positions.
A full-term pregnancy lasts at least 39 weeks. Of course, some babies naturally arrive sooner. And complications during pregnancy can make an early delivery the safest choice. But most babies need 39 weeks to develop fully.
They are a sign that the body is preparing for the upcoming birth. The uterus tightens for about 30 to 60 seconds, which is noticeable through hardening of the abdomen and possibly slight pain. The cervix remains closed during this time.