At week 39 of pregnancy, you just can’t wait to give birth. But there is still a lot more you’ll experience. Read on to know more about the final weeks of your third trimester.
Pregnancy Week 39: Baby
Congratulations on making it to week 39 of your pregnancy! You’re in the home stretch! Congratulations! You’re getting so close to meeting your little one. The baby has fully formed and will be ready to come out soon with all their organs and tissues working. The baby’s head is getting larger as it prepares for birth. The baby can open its mouth and suckle if born prematurely.
At 39 weeks, your little one is about the size of a baby watermelon, or roughly 50.7 cm, and weighs 3.25kg. No wonder you’re feeling heavy!
This week, your baby is getting ready to move into their final position. They’ll be facing head down so that they can make their way out as soon as possible! Suppose you’re feeling some discomfort in your abdomen. In that case, this may be why: your baby is getting heavier and exerting more pressure on your bladder (and possibly other organs), which can cause some mild discomfort for mamas-to-be.
Your baby’s lungs are fully developed and functioning, and the baby can breathe on its own. Their eyes are open and they hear sounds from the outside world such as mum’s voice. The baby’s skin is wrinkled and covered with a fine hair called lanugo, which will soon be shed.
The brain is still growing and developing, which accounts for the rapid increase in its size. At this point, your baby has started to develop some fat tissue, which will help them survive outside of the womb when they’re born.
At week 39 of pregnancy, your baby is considered full-term, meaning they’re more likely to be born healthy than babies born earlier. In this week-by-week pregnancy guide, you’ll learn that:
- Physical development aside (your baby can now flex their limbs!), your baby’s brain continues to develop, making them smarter by the week.
- Their nails may extend past the fingertips. Your baby can open their eyes, and is breathing well.
- Other than making your baby’s cheeks kissable and pinchable, the thicker layer of fat deposited over their blood vessels causes their skin to turn from pink to white. This is regardless of how dark-skinned they will be eventually; pigmentation occurs soon after birth.
You might not think about your baby’s hearing until it’s time to talk to them, but they’re actually listening to everything you say from the moment they’re born.
In week 39 of your pregnancy, your baby’s hearing develops, and you can help them develop their language skills by talking with them.
By 39 weeks pregnant, your baby has already developed all of the hearing-related structures in their body. However, they won’t be able to hear you until around three months after they’re born.
The ability to hear starts with picking up sounds and processing them. This process starts with nerve cells in your baby’s inner ear that send signals through a bundle of nerves called a cochlear nerve (the same one that transmits information from your eyes to your brain).
At this point in your pregnancy, your baby’s tiny teeth are beginning to form under their gums. Their taste buds are also developed
You’re probably starting to feel like you know your baby pretty well. You may even be able to predict when they will move because they are certainly active!
The average baby is considered full term at 37 weeks, so if you are this far along or beyond, your little one has been kicking and moving around for quite some time.
Your baby is in an active state. Your little one is probably moving around more than ever before, which means more kick counts and chances for you to feel them! Keep track of how many times per day your baby moves during pregnancy week 39, so that you know what activity level they were at when they arrived (and can compare it with future pregnancies).
Pregnancy Week 39: Your Body
This week, you’re getting ready for birth—but you might not know what that means yet.
Your body is preparing for labour and delivery by releasing hormones called prostaglandins. These hormones help your body make its own natural painkillers (called endorphins) and will help reduce the pain of contractions during labour.
In addition, your baby’s head is engaged in your pelvis now—meaning the cervix is fully closed off from the vagina and the baby’s head is pressing against it. This causes pressure on the cervix, which can cause contractions if you’re not already having them naturally.
While this does not mean that you’re going into labour anytime soon (even though some women do experience false labour), it does mean that you’ll want to stay active and be aware of any unusual sensations or pains in your abdomen. If they don’t go away within an hour or so after they begin, call your doctor or midwife right away!
- At week 39 of pregnancy, you may go through false labour every now and then. This pain usually starts in the front of your abdomen and goes away when you change positions. However, inform your doctor if the pain persists and comes frequently and regularly.
- The urge to nest (cleaning and tidying up your space) becomes stronger, though try not to stress yourself while cleaning. Do not be the one carrying or packing away heavy items.
- Your heartburn may be at its peak this week, but not to worry. Relief is coming soon.
- As your body prepares for childbirth, your rectal muscles may loosen, resulting in pregnancy diarrhoea. Be careful that you do not get dehydrated when it happens.
- On your next prenatal checkup, your doctor might perform an internal examination to see whether your cervix has started ripening: softening, effacing (thinning out), and dilating (opening).
Maternal Weight Gain
The best way to measure your baby’s growth is by using the ultrasound. This way, you can keep track of how much your baby has grown each week and compare it with the average weight gain of other pregnant women.
During pregnancy week 39, you should expect to gain approximately 1 pound (0.5kg) per week. If you do not gain enough weight during this time, it may be a sign that something is wrong with your health or the health of your baby.
As we enter the final weeks of pregnancy, it’s important to ensure that you take care of yourself. You’ve got a baby to think about now, which means ensuring your body is set up for success. Here are some tips for keeping yourself healthy and strong during these final weeks:
Eat a balanced diet. This means eating plenty of lean protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Avoid foods that are high in saturated fats or sugar—these can lead to weight gain and other health problems later on down the line.
Get enough sleep! Staying asleep through the night will help both you and your baby get the rest they need so that they’re ready for labour day morning!
Stay hydrated! You’ll need plenty of water (and maybe some herbal tea) to keep things running smoothly inside your body right now!
Image Source: iStock
Pregnancy Care: Your Checklist For Week 39 of Pregnancy
- It is important that you continue to eat a nutritious diet and get enough sleep. You will need all the strength that you can muster to go through what’s right around the corner: your delivery!
- Ensure your hospital bag has all that you need and is ready to go.
- Watch out for signs of low amniotic fluid in pregnancy and know when it’s time to call the doctor.
- Go through your action plan just in case you g0 into labour: Who do you call? What do you bring? Where should you go? What should you do when you’re in a certain situation? Since all you can do now is wait, use this time to ensure that you have every single detail in place.
- Don’t forget to update your pregnancy journal. And if you haven’t yet, now’s your cue to write a letter for your unborn baby, before they make their big entrance into the world.
Your next week: 40 weeks pregnant
Your previous week: 38 weeks pregnant
Updates from Pheona Ilagan
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.