39th Week of Pregnancy: Explore Your Body and Baby

It’s the 39th Week! Wow! Congratulations! You’ve made it! 

You’ve finally made it through your pregnancy journey. And this is the last leg of your pregnancy. 

Your little one inside you isn’t little anymore. He or she has taken the prime child birthing position with the head down and is engaged in the pelvis region. He or she’s completely ready to step into your world. 

Now, you’ve got only a month or so left before you hold your little one in your arms. 

Or, who knows you might be in labour anytime now. 

Feeling crazy, achy, and uncomfortable? You will! That’s quite normal. After all, you’re prepping up for the delivery of your baby.

How is Your Baby Developing Inside You?

At this stage, your pregnancy is officially full-term. Your visit to the healthcare practitioner would give you better clarity on how your little one is getting ready to meet you. With ultrasound scans, you’ll see that the baby inside almost looks like a mini watermelon, which is around 45 to 52 cm long from head to toe and weighs around 2.9 to 3.6 kg. (Even when a baby is born at full term, she is classified as a “low birth weight” baby when he or she weighs less than 2.5 kg).

You needn’t worry! If you happen to give birth to your baby at this stage, your little one’s size won’t vary a lot, except for a few organs and physical features. 

Your Little One’s Changing Skin

Just a week back, the foetal skin was transparent. This week, you’ll notice the skin becoming thicker. While the older skin sheds, a new layer of skin is formed by replacing the older skin cells. This new layer of skin of your little one inside helps keep the inner organs of the baby protected and the baby’s body temperature under control. That makes your little one cute, cuddly, and adorable. In addition to this, your baby’s skin colour is changing inside you.  No matter what colour your little one’s skin was in the previous months since a thick layer of fat has been deposited over the blood vessels of the baby’s body, your baby’s skin has now changed into white or whitish–greyish. 

Your Baby’s Brain and Lungs are Developing

Your little one’s body may not be developing much at this stage. But their brain and lungs are. How? While your little one’s brain is growing at a pace of 30% higher than it was in the previous months, the baby’s lungs are fully developed by now. Having said that, the lungs keep the air sacs open by producing more surfactant, making the baby prepared for breathing before he or she greets the outside world.   

Your Baby’s Immune System is Becoming Stronger

Since the 13th week of your pregnancy, the placenta helps in foetal development by passing the nutrition and antibodies from you to the baby inside. Having said that, most of the antibodies are passed down to your baby in the last few weeks of your pregnancy, thus building up the baby’s immune system and fighting infection and diseases.  

As far as the development of the other physical features of the baby is concerned, he or she has developed cute little fingers and toes, has a head full of hair, and can see and hear. 

The development of your baby from the inside can change a lot in you inside – out during this phase of your pregnancy. 

Do You Want to Know How You’ve Changed This Week?

Since you can see the horizon, this last stretch of your pregnancy may seem very exciting for you as well as discomforting.  Along with the baby bump comes a few other signs that you won’t be able to ignore: 

Cervix Effacement or Ripening and Dilation

By the time you step into the 39th week of pregnancy, you can expect your little one to shift towards the pelvis region, and slowly make a move to the outside world with the head down position. As your little one gradually gets close to the cervix, that pressure softens, shortens, and thins the cervix. This is also known as cervix effacement or cervix ripening. The cervix not only ripens, but it also opens or dilates as the baby makes a move outside the womb. This process of cervix effacement and dilation may take place quickly, during labour. But it can also occur gradually over weeks. 

The Pelvis and Back Might Feel Achier

Since your little one’s living quarters have become more cramped you might feel those involuntary kicks and jabs quite often near the pelvis and the back. The baby’s head is down the pelvis, exerting a lot of pressure on it. So, feeling the menstrual–like -cramps near the pelvis is not uncommon at this stage. You may also feel the sharp sensations more like a lightning bolt in the pelvic region. The back pain can also get worse, as a result.

The practice Contractions or Braxton Hicks Contractions will be Stronger

As a result of the cramping or crowding of the uterus, by the 39th week of pregnancy, false labour alarms or Braxton Hicks contractions are quite common. False labour signs, during this stage, tend to tighten the abdomen and be more focused on just one area.  They ease up when you walk or change your position while lying down or sitting. 

Check If Your Water Has Broken

The activity inside your womb can make the amniotic sac rupture and water trickle down your legs, making you feel you need to go to the labour room very soon.

Bloody Show or Mucus Plug

The sign of the cervix dilating or opening up is a piece of good news. Isn’t it? But, this might result in making you just slightly uncomfortable as a thick discharge of mucus plug may have some blood with it. The blood may be pinkish or brownish.

Due to these 39th-week unavoidable pregnancy symptoms, your belly would be stretched out with stretch marks and a sense of itching around it. Your hands, face, ankles, and feet may be swollen. You might also feel feverish at times and moody.

Do You Know How to Deal With This Situation?

Utilise this time by doing some gentle exercises that will tone up and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. You can spend time walking along with your partner for only 15 or 20 minutes. Include prenatal yoga in your regime to keep yourself emotionally calm. 

The Tips to Deal With 39th Week Pregnancy Symptoms

  • Hit the antenatal classes and learn everything about labour, and childbirth at this stage from trained experts.
  • Have a balanced diet. Add 200 calories extra to your daily diet, don’t forget your prenatal vitamins, and stay hydrated. Take rest whenever you can.
  • Be a part of would-be-mummy support groups – physical or online and share each other’s experiences. Maybe you will get to hear some funny to make you laugh and feel relaxed.
  • Talk to your partner, friends, and relatives as you’re coming close to your due date. They will be able to stay close to you during your childbirth, trying to help you out with anything that you need.
  • Keep your hospital bags packed.
  • Doctor visits are necessary before childbirth for ultrasound scans and electronic foetal monitoring to check the baby’s health. Moreover, a thorough medical check-up is a must! The healthcare practitioner must ensure that pregnancy-induced health conditions like preeclampsia or gestational diabetes are under control.
  • Hope you’ve already decided on cord blood banking. Your baby’s Cord blood is rich in blood-forming stem cells, banking the precious stem cells at the time of birth can save you as well as your family from 80 + life-threatening diseases

We know that it is just a little bit challenging, but you have to remain positive and relaxed before you meet and greet your baby into your world. 

Hope you’ve enjoyed the pregnancy journey! 

Happy giving birth!