Pregnancy Calendar Week 39 – Your Pregnancy Has Reached Full Term
Kudos! Your little one has officially completed its gestational life. At this point of time you may feel like ‘the time has come’ and in fact, for most women it has come. Continue reading the below story to know what preparations are going under your belly.
This week is the official completion of your pregnancy and not all the women stay pregnant till the next week. So, a lot of things are brewing under your belly. Your baby is completely matured and your cervix is making his or her exit easy by adjusting itself.
Your body this week
You have entered what is called as the last week of pregnancy. In these final few days the uterus will be heavier in the lower side of the abdomen as the baby is steadily inching closer to the cervix. Simultaneously, the hormone prostaglandin is causing the cervix to soften, shorten and thin out. This is also medically called as effacement and this happens gradually over weeks.
For other women, this process of cervical effacement and dilation (widening and opening) rather happens quickly. And for the time second-time moms the process of dilation occurs before effacement. You may not be gaining any weight at this point as the baby has already matured to its full and amniotic fluid is steadily decreasing.
The hormones are not only readying the cervix but also bringing some symptoms including loose stools. So, if you are experiencing diarrhea at this stage, blame the hormone prostaglandin for that. This also means the labor is in near future. You would also get confused between the earlier symptoms and signs of labor. These are:
- Pelvic pressure
- Braxton Hicks Contraction
- Sensation in pelvic region due to baby movements
- Heartburn or indigestion
- Mucus plug/Bloody show
Signs of labor
There are some other clear signs that indicate the baby’s arrival. And these would be the biggest in your mind at this point. And these will be strong enough to let you differentiate from the earlier symptoms you have been experiencing so far:
- Water breaking – A slow trickle of water (amniotic fluid) through the vagina.
- Frequent contractions – Tightening of the belly at regular intervals with timing in between getting shorter and shorter
For many women, the above symptoms may not occur at all. This does not mean something is going haywire. Many women deliver post 39 weeks also.
Complications at 39th week of pregnancy
In the last weeks of pregnancy many women have the fear of complications related to umbilical cord including nuchal cord and umbilical cord prolapse. Nuchal cord means wrapping up of the umbilical cord around baby’s neck. Though this is a common issue occurring in about 20-30 percent of pregnancies, yet this does not raises any alarms as it hardly obstructs baby’s delivery.
On the other hand, during umbilical cord prolapse, the cord appears at the cervical outlet before the baby as against normal delivery in which baby comes out first. In this situation, the baby has to be delivered without delay otherwise the pushing of the baby against the cord can hinder blood and oxygen flow to the baby. However, this situation rarely occurs.
|Pregnancy Calendar Week 40 – You Are Proud Mama and Daddy This Week|
Your baby this week
At 39th week, the baby is considered as fully developed and the organs are very much capable of functioning in this world. But this does not mean development isn’t occurring. Following changes can be seen this week:
Insulating fat layer
Under the baby’s skin lies an important fat layer which helps the baby to regulate his body temperature properly upon birth.
New skin cells
The matured body of the baby is now working on to produce new skin cells replacing the old ones.
While the body might not be growing at this moment, the brain is still sharpening and will go on until the initial 3 years of life. The brain is already 30 percent larger than it was 4-5 weeks back.
Size, weight and appearance
Your baby is done growing with the length reaching to 20 inches. This clearly indicates that the weight would be around 3.2 kgs or the size of a medium watermelon.
This week you have to keep certain things in mind. You might be helping your partner in triggering labor, but until and unless your wife is not ready for sexual intercourse and nipple stimulation, don’t do that. However, if both of you are ready and the doctor has given the green signal, you need to take certain precautions as mentioned below:
- If the water has broken, sex is not allowed
- Sex not recommended in case the wife is experiencing bleeding
- For triggering labor, ejaculation should be done inside the vagina
This week the doctor or the nurse may suggest you stripping the membranes or breaking the water in order to trigger labor. To perform this, the doctor will use a gloved finger and sweep them around your cervix and then gently separate your amniotic sac from the wall of the uterus.
While not all the doctors perform this procedure, those who do are of the opinion that it reduces any need for labor induction and prevents a woman from getting into post-term phase. Keep in mind that this procedure might cause discomfort similar to that of menstrual cramps. You may also experience spotting a couple of days after this procedure which is completely normal.
Next week events
Cross your fingers as the next meeting with your doctor will be in the delivery room if the labor didn’t begin at the last stripping of the membranes. So keep checking the labor signs and make sure you contact the doctor without delay. If the labor doesn’t start, the doctor will suggest you walking as they believe gravity may push the baby down into the cervix.
Tips of the week
This week your total focus would be on the timing of the labor. There are certain things you can actually try at home that can trigger baby’s exit. These are:
- Stimulate your nipples to release oxytocin which would trigger contractions. Use massage pump or ask your partner to do the job.
- Take walks as being upright and moving boosts chances of labor
- Use evening primrose oil, ask the doctor for dosage
FAQs at 39th week of pregnancy
I am feeling pain radiating from vagina to legs, what is it?
This is nothing to worry about. As the baby moves down into the pelvis, he or she presses your sensitive nerves.
Feeling uncomfortable and my tummy hurts but no sign of contraction yet
Abdominal pain, at any time of pregnancy needs to be reviewed at doctor’s clinic. You could be experiencing early onset of labor, but to be sure, you should get checked over by a doctor.
1. American Pregnancy Association. Pregnancy Week 39. read more
2. The Nemours Foundation. Kidshealth.org. Pregnancy Calendar, Week 39 read more
3. National Women's Health Resource Center. Healthywomen.org. Pregnancy & Parenting Second Trimester of Pregnancy: 39 Weeks read more