Pregnancy Calendar Week 39
YOUR PREGNANCY WEEK BY WEEK: WHAT’S HAPPENING IN WEEK 39
Wow, you’re at week 39—just two more weeks to go! Baby now weighs in at 7-7.5 pounds and she’s 20-21 inches, the size of mini watermelon. At this point, baby is focused on some important final tasks: dropping down into your pelvis and getting more antibodies from her mommy. In your life, you’re probably very ready to get the show on the road and meet your new little one. With the early signs of labor showing up now, you’re closer than ever!
At 39 weeks pregnant, your body is telling you that the adorable little resident in your belly will be making her way out before you know it:
Early Signs of Labor
The end is near! Your baby is almost ready to come into the world, so watch now for the early signs of labor. Here’s a look at the many ways your body lets you know that labor is coming soon:
Your baby drops.
When your baby drops further down, this is known as lightening, and it typically starts happening a few weeks before labor begins. As labor gets closer, you’ll feel more heaviness in your pelvis and less pressure under your rib cage.
You have more Braxton Hicks contractions.
When you’re experiencing more intense and frequent Braxton Hicks contractions, you know the real thing will happen soon. As the big day draws closer, these contractions will become more painful, longer and closer together signaling the beginning of actual labor.
You pass the mucus plug and see “bloody show.”
To seal the opening of your uterus, a small amount of thickened mucus has accumulated—your mucus plug. As labor nears, you may pass this plug, which will likely be tinged with red, pink or brown blood (hence the term “bloody show”).
Rupturing of the membranes.
When your amniotic sac ruptures, the fluid will leak from your vagina. At this point, your water has broken. You might be expecting a gush of fluid, but sometimes it’s just a small trickle. This is a telltale sign that true labor is starting very soon, so call your doctor and get ready!Figuring out if you’re in labor can be tricky, and sometimes there are symptoms that can indicate a problem. So, call your doctor right away if:
- You think you’re leaking amniotic fluid.
- You have vaginal bleeding.
- You notice that your baby is less active.
- You have severe headaches, intense abdominal pain, vision changes or nausea and vomiting, which may be signs of preeclampsia.
In the 39th week of pregnancy, the cramped living quarters in your uterus have your baby busily working on some last minute preparations for her departure from the womb.
Your baby is dropping down.
By now you’ve probably noticed more pelvic pressure and perhaps a feeling of your baby “pushing down.” That’s your little one getting positioned for the big move through the birth canal. As your baby drops down, you’ll notice changes in how you feel. With more pressure deep in your pelvic region, walking may be more difficult and uncomfortable (with your pregnancy waddle in full effect). And you may be peeing even more than before. But, on the up side, breathing is likely easier and heartburn may be at bay now.
Your baby is taking in lots of antibodies.
With birth just a week or two away (or maybe sooner!), the placenta continues to load up your baby’s body with antibodies she’ll need to help fight infection after she’s born. If you’re planning to breastfeed your baby, your breast milk will be an important source of additional antibodies to strengthen her immune system and guard against disease.
Diet and Exercise Tips You Should Follow
To keep you and your baby healthy, follow these tips in week 39:
Eat well in preparation for breastfeeding.
We hope you’re planning to breastfeed and, if so, it’s very important to be vigilant about a healthy diet. Continue to eat from all five food groups, get at least 1000 mg of calcium daily, and drink about 13 cups of water/milk/juices each day. Up your intake of Vitamin D, too. This nutrient isn’t as plentiful in breast milk, so a supplement for your baby may be needed to get the 400 IU each day that’s recommended.
Continue with light exercise.
Very light exercise is still recommended right now and it can help drop your baby. Try walking 20 minutes today—even if it’s to get ice cream. Your baby needs dairy and now is the time to splurge. You need the carbs to prepare for labor and you deserve to treat yourself.
Things You Should Do
- Apgar scores are a measure of your baby’s health at birth. It’s a simple scoring system from 0 to 10 measured one and five minutes after delivery. Remember to ask for your baby’s Apgar scores before you leave the hospital or birthing center.
- Go out for a date night this week with your partner. Enjoy a nice dinner at your favorite restaurant and see a movie. After baby comes, it may be a long time before you can put another date night on your calendar!
Words You Should Know
Episiotomy: An incision made in the perineum to make the vaginal opening larger right before the baby’s head emerges during labor.
Fetal Monitoring: Tracking a baby’s heartbeat and the mother’s contractions during labor.
Perineal Tear: A rip in the skin and muscles between the vagina and rectum. If a woman in labor is at risk for a perineal tear, an episiotomy is typically performed.
Urge to Push: The natural feeling of a woman in labor to bear down and push the baby out (toward the end of the first stage of labor). Until dilation is complete, a pregnant woman will be instructed to refrain from pushing.