39 Weeks Pregnant - Symptoms, Baby Development, Tips - Babylist

39 Weeks Pregnant

May 16, 2019

39 Weeks Pregnant

39 Weeks Pregnant
39 Weeks Pregnant

Your baby is 19.9 inches long and weighs 7.3 pounds this week. That’s about the size of a Cabbage Patch Kid doll.

Your Baby at 39 Weeks

  • Full term: Your baby’s officially considered “old enough” for delivery. Even though you may be ready for baby to be born, this week they’re still putting down fat deposits while their brain keeps developing to get them ready for the wild stimulation of the world.
  • Milder baby movements: Your baby isn’t kicking and moving around as wildly at 39 weeks of pregnancy because it’s tight quarters in there. Even if they’re not as sharp, the baby movements should be just as often as usual. If you have trouble getting your baby to move, try drinking some cold water to wake them up; if that doesn’t work or you have any concerns, call your doc to check in. They may want to monitor baby’s movements with a nonstress test.
  • Skin cell turnover: Your baby is forming new skin cells to replace the older ones. The new cells will help with temperature regulation after birth.

💛 Congratulations 💛

One more week till your due date. You are full term!

Pregnancy Ultrasound Week 39

Photo by Tommy’s

Pregnancy Symptoms at 39 Weeks

  • Lightning crotch: This phenomenon is almost as exciting as it sounds. It’s a short, shooting pain in your pelvis that can get triggered when you or your baby moves. It hurts because your baby’s head is putting pressure on your cervix, where you have a ton of nerves. Most of the time it’s just uncomfortable and goes away quickly. For relief, you might get into a pool, which will lighten the load on your pelvis.
  • Braxton Hicks contractions: Practice contractions may still be happening, and they may be getting a bit uncomfortable. Take note of the tightening—when it starts getting regular and undeniable, it’s no longer Braxton Hicks; it’s the real deal!
  • Dilation and effacement: At your appointment, your OB or midwife will probably do a cervical exam to see if you are starting to dilate or efface. This is what happens: they put a couple fingers into your vagina to determine if your cervix is opening. This can help determine if the labor process is starting, but it can’t accurately predict when you’re going to deliver. Some women have early labor that they don’t even feel as their bodies ramp up for childbirth, and others stay at 0 centimeters until after their water breaks.
  • Vaginal discharge: It’s normal to have an increase in discharge at 39 weeks of pregnancy. But don’t mistake leaking amniotic fluid for discharge. Amniotic fluid is thinner and waterier—seek medical advice right away if you notice it or if you’re unsure of what you’re experiencing. Amniotic fluid can be mistaken for leaking pee too.

Your 39 Weeks Pregnant Belly

Remember how you used to be so nervous about delivery? By the time you get to 39 weeks of pregnancy, you’re probably more than ready for baby to be born. After all, your baby is around 20 inches long, you’ve probably gained a total of around 25 to 35 pounds and you’re more than a little uncomfortable.

Rest assured your baby will arrive when they’re ready. As you wait it out, try to take advantage of the time you have left by relaxing and maybe getting a pedicure or some other self-care.

Top Tip for 39 Weeks Pregnant

Nipple stimulation does induce labor. It’s so effective that you should probably avoid it if you’re not at a hospital or birth center.

Baby Bumps at 39 Weeks Pregnant

39 weeks pregnant and no signs of labor @suitsheelscurves

39 weeks pregnant belly @victoria.sears

39 weeks pregnant baby position @kristenmasincup

39 weeks pregnant belly pictures @myriamsorbo

39 weeks pregnant belly second baby @destinycfuentes

39 weeks pregnant belly soft @jossemoberg

39 weeks pregnant  @eleanorjadore

39 weeks pregnant bump @goingforgoddess

39 weeks pregnant bump pic @barnachic

Partner Tip

Watch this video about how to change a diaper.

Induction Junction: What Happens When You’re Induced

Induction sounds like a special kind of graduation ceremony or a new microwave, but it has nothing to do with reheated leftovers.

The baby definitely needs to come out, so if labor doesn’t start on its own, your doctor will recommend they induce, or jumpstart, your labor for a number of reasons including:

  • You are past 41 or 42 weeks pregnant
  • Your water breaks, but there are no other signs of labor
  • You develop preeclampsia or another illness

At your 39-week checkup, your doc will probably “check you.” This means they will examine your cervix to see if it’s starting to dilate and soften. These signs of early labor can happen without you even noticing. It’s just nature doing its job.

If your cervix is still closed and hard, your doc might start talking to you about induction somewhere between 40 weeks pregnant and 42 weeks pregnant. (A pregnancy longer than 42 weeks is called postterm and carries additional risks for both mom and the baby. To avoid those risks, most birth professionals get the party started by induction.)

So how do they induce labor?

The most commonly known way to induce labor is the drug Pitocin, a synthetic version of oxytocin, the hormone that starts your contractions, keeps them going through labor and makes your uterus contract after birth. You are checked into the hospital and given Pitocin through an IV. Contractions can start within the hour if all goes swimmingly. (Pitocin can also be used to augment labor that starts naturally but gets stalled.)

There are other ways though.

Another common method is ripening your cervix by applying a synthetic prostaglandin (like Prepidil or Cervidil) inside the vagina. Often a capsule is inserted in your vagina in the evening with the expectation that you will go into labor in the morning.

Prostaglandins are sometimes helped along with a balloon. Technically it’s called a “foley bulb,” but it’s basically a balloon. Your doctor inserts it—uninflated—into your cervix. Once it’s in there, they slowly fill it with saline to increase the pressure on your cervix. Fun.

Lastly, doctors sometimes use a good ol’ fashioned AROM. That is not some new electronic music genre you haven’t heard of. It stands for Artificial Rupture of Membranes, or breaking your water. It can be done with something as simple as your doctor’s finger with a small latex cover and a hook on the end called an amnicot. This is typically only done once your cervix is partially dilated and starting to thin.

Get more details on these methods from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology here.

Fun Fact

Human pregnancies last about 268 days from ovulation, putting us between cows at 286 and chimpanzees at 240. Elephants are pregnant for 645 days, or almost two years!


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Week 39 Pregnancy Checklist

  • Go to your week 39 prenatal visit.
  • Schedule your week 40 visit while you’re there.
  • Does sex induce labor? There’s no conclusive evidence that it does, but it doesn’t hurt to try. The theory goes that semen contains natural prostaglandins, and orgasms can cause contractions, so if your water hasn’t broken and you’re feeling up for it, go for it.
  • Try to relax and get some rest before delivery. (Here’s a birth visualization meditation if that’s your thing. Remember to sit or lie on your side.)
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