39 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist
- Time any contractions carefully to make sure you’re not in false labor
- Come up with your final baby name choices
- Talk to other moms about their happy birth experiences
Your Baby’s Development
Umbilical cords usually are about 22 inches (55 cm) long and half an inch (1–2 cm) thick. Sometimes, the cord can get wrapped around a baby’s neck. This usually won’t be a problem unless it puts pressure on the cord during labor or delivery. In that case, a woman might need a C-section. A true knot in the umbilical cord happens much less often (in about 1% of pregnancies).
Most of the vernix that covered your baby’s skin has disappeared, as has the lanugo. Your body has been supplying the baby with antibodies through the placenta that will help your little one’s immune system fight infection for the first 6–12 months of life.
Braxton Hicks contractions may become more pronounced. Also called “false labor,” these contractions may be as painful and strong as true labor contractions, but don’t become regular or increase in frequency as true contractions do.
Another sign of labor, the rupture of the amniotic sac’s membranes (when your “water breaks”), could happen any day now. Some women have a large gush of water, while others feel a steady trickle. Often, a woman’s water doesn’t break until she’s well into labor. To start or speed up their labor, some women will need to have the membranes ruptured by their health care provider.
If you think your water has broken or you’re having regular contractions, call your health care provider.
Pregnancy symptoms at 39 weeks
The last few weeks of pregnancy can be tough if you suffer from heartburn. Skip rich foods and follow our tips for eating well in the last week or so.
Do you feel that time has flown since the beginning of your pregnancy? If so, then get ready for a change of pace. These final few days will probably feel longer than the past nine months.
You may be feeling anxious about the birth, or worried that your pregnancy will outlast your due date. Most doctors and midwives will wait 10 days to 14 days after your due date before considering your baby overdue and offering to induce your labour.
In the meantime, you and your partner may try relieving the tension with a little love-making. Sex is thought to be helpful in getting labour started. Even if it doesn’t work, at least you’ll have fun trying!
How your life is changing
- Your midwife or doctor may offer a membrane sweep to try to get labour started naturally. If this is your first baby, your labour may be long and slow, but there are ways to speed things up both naturally and by intervention from your midwife or doctor.
- If your mum’s coming to stay when your baby arrives, let her make a fuss of you. And leave any chores for someone else to do or just to pile up.
- Having lots of visitors when you are getting to know your newborn can be overwhelming. So don’t feel bad about putting some people off for a week or two. Or for suggesting that they just come over for quick a cup of tea and don’t outstay their welcome!
- Your first priority is yourself and your baby. You’ll need time to rest and recover. It’s also a good idea to restrict who can hold your baby to close friends and family in the early weeks.