39 Weeks Pregnant
Your Pregnancy Week by Week
Your Baby at 39 WeeksSize: 19.96 inches (50.7 cm) - crown to heel
Weight: 7.25 pounds (3288 grams)
Your baby may be about the size of a small watermelon, but you probably feel more like you're packing around a bowling ball. Right now, your baby's watery home is getting pretty tight - and he isn't able to move as freely as before. There's still plenty of stretching, pushing and prodding going on though - and most of it is probably under your ribs.
These final weeks are all about weight gain as your baby adds an extra ½ pound every seven days. Not only does this make your baby looks sweet, but body fat is essential for keeping your baby warm after birth and for the regulation of baby's blood sugar.
Your baby is gradually becoming more aware of the world around him as he opens his eyes, breathes, and startles at loud noises. All organs are in place and the majority of development is completed - your baby's brain is one of the few places that is still developing - continuing to make essential connections for milestones in the days to come.
Mom at 39 Weeks PregnantEven though the staff in your physician's office may be feeling like family by now, you will soon be done with weekly office visits. With each appointment you should be weighed, your urine checked and your blood pressure monitored. Starting around the 37th week, some doctors may begin checking your cervix to watch for signs that you are in labor.
Occasionally, if you are dilated a bit, your doctor may strip your membranes. Not always shown to be effective, stripping your membranes occurs when the doctor inserts a gloved finger into the space between the bag of waters and the uterus and separates them a bit. In some women, this triggers labor within hours or days - for other women it doesn't do anything.
You may be ready to get this delivery show on the road. If so, try taking a walk every day to help get the ball rolling. Avoid the old wives tale of castor oil - this potent laxative only makes you dehydrated by causing diarrhea and subsequent uterine contractions that aren't effective for labor.
Symptoms of labor will be on the increase. (Hopefully.) Some women report a loss of their mucus plug in the days before delivery. The mucus plug is just that - a collection of mucus that has been covering the entrance to the cervix as a barrier against bacteria and other invaders that could harm your baby or your pregnancy. As the cervix begins to soften and open, this plug can be lost a bit at a time or all at once. Varying in color between brown, blood streaked, to even purple, try not to panic if it should happen. There's nothing you will need to do - don't pick up the phone and call your doctor. Just look at it as being one step closer to meeting your baby.
Other symptoms that you have had for the last several months will still be present as hemorrhoids, swelling, fatigue, diarrhea or constipation, and leaking breasts continue.
Here's hoping you have done what you can to keep your weight under control. By now, you should be right at your ideal weight as it was determined by your doctor. If you were very underweight, you may have been instructed to gain more than someone who was heavier at the time of conception. Women who gain much more than recommended tend to have a more difficult labor and higher C-section rates, while women who gain too little are more likely to deliver a preterm or low birth weight baby.
Planning to breast feed? If so, don't forget to pack a few nursing essentials. Your breast feeding pillow will save you backaches and positioning problems after delivery, and a good supportive nursing bra is a must have. Pack along a tube of lanolin cream for those sore nipples that may be on the horizon as well.