Baby Growth at 39 Weeks Pregnant
Ready, Set, Go….Congrats! So close to the finish line. Your baby is getting ready to meet you and is now considered full term. They will continue to grow during this last week of pregnancy. Their head is very pliable right now, so it may appear slightly pointed or misshapen after delivery due to the passage through the birth canal but it will return to its normal shape after a few hours or days. Your baby is around 19.5 inches long and weighs about 7.5 pounds which is the equivalent size of a honeydew melon.
Baby will continue to pack on fat the last 1-2 weeks of gestation. Hello delicious chunky legs! The circulatory system is still developing and the skin is becoming thicker and much more protective for the life your baby will have outside the space of your womb.
Although pigmentation is genetically determined, the color comes later. Universally at birth, regardless of ethnicity, babies emerge from the womb in a blueish purplish color due to the underdeveloped circulatory system. Skin pigmentation will occur after birth.
In addition, an astonishing two-thirds of the baby’s weight is in their head. Humans are ranked on top as far as mental performance for all living creatures on earth goes. It is no wonder why our heads are larger at birth in comparison to the rest of our bodies. The extra fat babies carry helps protect babies to survive and thrive for the long haul that is life. That extra fat will help feed their brain as a priority. So, this is why your baby’s weight is so closely monitored the first weeks, months and years of their life.
You and Your Body at Pregnancy 39 Weeks
Your baby should continue to move throughout your pregnancy. Pay attention to last minute changes. If you notice any movements lessening in an unusual way during this phase of your pregnancy, please let your care provider know immediately.
Your cervix will continue to dilate and ripen for labor day. This includes your cervix getting thinner to allow the opening to stretch, this process is called effacement which is accompanied by dilation. Your last visit to the OBGYN can estimate how far along you are to starting active labor based on a physical exam. Dilation starts from 1 cm and goes to 10 cm in the active late stage of labor.
If at any time you experience any vaginal fluid leakage that does not stop, please contact your provider. You may need to get your overnight bag and make a quick exit plan if your water has broken. Amniotic fluid is typically clear and watery but at this point in pregnancy, be sure to let your doctor know about any discharge or fluid leakage you are experiencing.
Typical Symptoms at 39 Weeks Pregnant
Knowing that your labor day is near, pay attention to any signs of labor such as:
- Thick mucus, possibly with a tinge of blood (mucus plug released)
- Water breaking (clear fluid leakage)
- More frequent and more intense contractions
- Back pain.
Other symptoms to look out for week 39:
- Braxton Hicks contractions
- Leg cramps
- Sharp vaginal or leg pains
- Trouble sleeping
- A desire to organize your home (nesting)
Nesting will continue during this time. Be mindful that your energy may be lessened, but there are still many options to organize, and complete last minute projects to prepare for the space needed for baby to join their home.
Time out any contractions that occur using a contraction timer phone application. False labor is very common, but should be monitored. It’s normal for Braxton Hicks contractions to increase as your body prepares for delivery.
Pregnancy Week 39 Tips and Advice
Get your nap time in. Try napping whenever you can. Every bit of energy will count on labor day and we know you’re probably not sleeping well at night with your big belly pushing on your bladder.
Take it easy. Watch a movie, read a book or simply kick back with your feet up. Getting your mind off any anxious thoughts or feelings can help reduce stress. Meditation is one great way to connect with yourself and provide self-love. Consider taking a walk, doing some light stretches or yoga.
Do some last minute shopping. Buy some things you may need like breast pads, nursing bras, lotion, pillows, etc. Prepping is a needed part of the nesting process.
Do a dry run. If you have not actually done a dry run to the hospital, make sure all your checklists for your birth plan are together: Bag, keys, baby bag, baby car seat, food (snacks or drinks), and any other things that may enhance your labor experience and keep your partner comfortable while supporting you.
Have a timer ready. Time those contractions and keep your doctor notified as labor progresses, they’ll help you determine when you need to go to the hospital.
Safety first: be open to needed changes for the birth plan. The safety of your baby and yourself are a priority, your medical team and/or your birth coach can help you – to stay on track and reduce your anxiety due to a last-minute change in how your baby enters the world. Remember, it’s a great idea to have a birth plan but no matter how your baby enters the world, it’s sure to be a beautiful and powerful experience.
Get ready, mama. Your baby is nearly ready to meet you and start their journey with you. Lean on others if you need to and be mindful of your needs for rest and relaxation.
Thank you for allowing Premom to take this journey with you!