39 Weeks Pregnant
Greetings! You have entered the last few most important weeks of your pregnancy. Based on the pregnancy calculator, this week onwards your baby is considered as full term. It has been seen that full term babies have better survival rates and need minimum or no assistance as far as breathing is concerned as their lungs are now completely developed. At 39 weeks pregnant, your baby is as big as a watermelon and measures approximately 50 cm which is the average length for a new born and weighs almost 3.20 kg. It has been almost 35 weeks since you took the pregnancy test to confirm your pregnancy and it is now almost time that your baby makes its grand entry into your world.
How Your Baby is Growing This Week?
With the progress of your pregnancy week by week, your baby’s brain development is occurring at an astonishing rate and there are a lot new tricks and skills that he has mastered and you shall witness them with each passing day. Studies have shown that this week, their brains are 30% bigger than they were four weeks ago (at 8 months pregnant). This rapid growth of the brain and nervous system continues till three years of age. The folds within the brain increase up to the age of five, so give your child as many experiences and stimulation in the form of zoo trips, excursions, etc in those first five years.
You are 39 weeks pregnant and your baby is putting on layers of fat around the blood vessels and this is giving him the rounded and plump appearance that you have been thinking of a lot these days. The skin color is changing from pink to white. The pigmentation will happen in the first year of life and the color will change again. The fat layers which were earlier present to provide insulation now play the vital role of supporting the internal organs and blood vessels. Immediately after birth, the superficial skin layer will shed off and get replaced by newer cells.
The cells within the lungs continue to produce surfactant which will help in preventing the air cells from collapsing when air enters them. The lungs are now mature and can function independently if the baby were to be born this week.
The hormones secreted in the baby’s body are all set to take over the major functions after birth as the placenta will no longer provide and sustain the baby. Once the umbilical cord is cut after your delivery, the baby will behave as an individual entity and his body will regulate all functions without any assistance from you.
Changes in Your Body at 39 Weeks Pregnant
The early week fatigue which you felt at 8 weeks pregnant or 9 weeks pregnant is back. You are more tired and anxious these days. Take adequate rest as you need to be prepared for the sleepless nights that lay ahead of you.
At 39 weeks pregnant, your baby drops lower and this causes a relief in the breathlessness and acidity that was troubling you all these days. The pressure is taken off the lungs and you can finally take a full breath. The head enters the pelvic cavity and gets fixed. This is a sign that the baby has taken its position for birth and the position of the baby will not change after this stage.
Your weight gain has slowed down or stopped and your womb now has more baby than amniotic fluid. The movements of the baby are less frequent as the space in the womb is getting smaller day by day. However you need to keep a check on the number of movements per day. Try to remain active till the very last day of your pregnancy as this will help you in getting back to shape sooner.
In case you notice a gush of fluid or increased discharge per vagina, it could be a sign that your water bag has broken and this is normally followed by onset of uterine contractions. If the pains do not start on their own and the water has leaked out, then the doctor will induce pains. This is done to kick start the labor pains which will gradually increase in frequency and intensity until the cervix is totally dilated. So, trust your instincts and keep a note of all the early signs of pregnancy indicating labor pain.
Week 39 Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of pregnancy at 39 weeks pregnant are mainly those related to labor and childbirth. The early pregnancy symptoms are now gone, only to be replaced by the anxiety of labor pains and motherhood fears. You may be anxious about the entire process and whether or not you will have a normal delivery. Remember you need to equip yourself with all information but as things progress, the doctor’s advice is the one and only guide for you. The physiological changes that begin in your body at the time you conceive last till the very last day till you deliver and even after that.
- Feeling pressure in the lower abdomen or feeling the baby lower down
- Braxton Hicks contractions
- Pelvic pain
- Swelling of hands and feet
- Anxiety about labor
- Frequent urination due to pressure on the bladder
- Increased vaginal discharge
- Involuntary urination on coughing or sneezing
- Round ligament pain
- Hot flushes
- Stretch marks on abdomen, breast and thighs
- Strange Dreams
- Leg cramps
- Itching of skin over abdomen and breasts
- Varicose veins and hemorrhoids
- Stretch marks
- Breast enlargement and leaking of colostrum
- Darkening of nipple and areola
- Increased pigmentation of skin
Diagnostic Tests and Ultrasound Results in Week 39 of Pregnancy
This week at your antenatal visit, the doctor will check the vital parameters like blood pressure and rule out a medical condition called preeclampsia. The per abdomen check up will mainly be to assess the fundal height and whether the head has been fixed into the pelvis.
The fetal Doppler will be used to check the fetal heart rate. Ultrasounds are generally not indicated in the final weeks unless some complications are suspected.
The main examination will be the per vagina checkup which will be carried out by applying lubricant jelly and inserting two fingers into the vagina to check the condition (soft or firm) of the cervix and to assess cervical dilatation and effacement. The dilatation can only predict that labor is near but how long the entire process would last cannot be judged at this moment.
Pregnancy Health Tips
- Have a diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D. This is particularly important for pregnant women who are planning to breast feed their babies. After birth, babies need 400 IU of vitamin D daily as this is one component that is deficient in breast milk.
- Walk on a regular basis and keep yourself as active as you can till the last day of your pregnancy.
- Try to get some sleep in these last weeks as your body needs to rest and gear up for at least 12 weeks of sleepless nights.
- Take your vitamins and supplements regularly.
- In case you are pregnant with twins you will deliver earlier and any day now. So keep your hospital bag ready in advance.
- Home remedies to induce labor pains like castor oil, primrose tea etc should be not be used as they have no medical or scientifically proved base. They may harm the baby and are best avoided.