At 39 weeks pregnant you are probably more than ready to go give birth…
At 39 weeks pregnant you’re tired, anxious and most of all, ready to finally meet your baby. You are probably starting to experience some early signs of labor, and still be experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions. It is important to pay attention to what your body, and your baby, are trying to tell you. In this article we will discuss what you can expect during your thirty-ninth week of pregnancy.
Your baby at 39 weeks
At 39 weeks pregnant your baby is now considered “full term” and has pretty much stopped growing. He/she weighs anywhere between 8 and 9 pounds and is approximately 19-21 inches long. He/she has enough body fat to stay cozy and warm after birth. Your baby is continuing to practice suclking movements as he/she is preparing to nurse after delivery, although now he/she is still receiving the necessary nutrients through the placenta. Some studies say that when babies are “ready” to be born, they will send out a “signal” of androgens to the placenta, thus causing a rapid increase in production which will trigger labor.
Your body at 39 weeks pregnant
As less than 5% of women actually go into labor on their anticipated due date, you could go into labor any time now as your baby is now officially considered “full term”. You are probably feeling a great deal of discomfort now and moving around might be tiring. You should try to get some light exercise as walking, unless your doctor has instructed otherwise. Your breasts are becomingly increasingly sore and tender as they are increasing the colostrum production. You may experience a little leakage, but this is normal. Wearing a nursing bra for added support and comfort would be a good idea now, especially at night. If you are finding it difficult to get comfortable enough to sleep at night, you might want to try sleeping in a recliner, or utilize your body pillow.
At 39 weeks pregnant may start to be experiencing what is referred to as effacement. This occurs when your cervix begins to prepare for the labor process. Your cervix will start to become thinner, softer and even shorter as your baby descends closer to the cervix. This is also referred to as “cervical thinning” or “cervical ripening”. Your doctor will conduct both abdominal and internal exams to see how your baby is growing and how your body is progressing as it prepares for delivery. If your baby is breech, your doctor will discuss the possibility of a cesarean section.
You will still be experiencing symptoms such as vaginal discharge, swelling, difficulty walking, brain fog, fatigue, frequent urination, hemorrhoids, diarrhea, pelvic pain and backaches. If any of these become increasingly intense, you might be experiencing early labor symptoms and you should contact your doctor or midwife immediately. It is also important to keep track of your baby’s movement. Slight decrease in movement is expected at this time, as your baby is running out of room, but if you notice a major decrease in movement, you should seek immediate medical attention.
You will continue to experience Braxton Hicks contractions as these are helping prepare your body for labor. It is important to be able to distinguish between true labor and Braxton Hicks. True labor contractions will increase in both frequency and intensity, while Braxton Hicks contractions will subside in time. A helpful hint would be to try walking around. If the contractions decrease, they are mostly likely Braxton Hicks, but if they increase, they are true contractions and you should contact your doctor or midwife.
Other actual labor signs include an increase in vaginal discharge which will be thicker and more like a slightly bloody mucus, intense belly cramps and lower back pain, water breakage, crowning, diarrhea and an increase in contractions. True contractions will occur fewer than every ten minutes. Get in touch with your doctor once you start to experience any of the aforementioned symptoms. If you start to have severe dizzy or fainting spells, heavy vomiting or diarrhea, severe cramping and blurred vision, seek immediate medical attention as these could be signs of pregnancy complications.
Tips to ease your pregnancy anxiety and fears
It’s normal to have anxiety, especially toward the end of your pregnancy. Every expectant mother has fears about the future. Here are some tips to help ease your worries.
- Figure out what is triggering your anxiety: Try to determine the source of your fears. Figuring out the root of the problem is the first step in eliminating the anxiety.
- Relaxation Exercises: Yoga, deep breathing, meditation and other forms of relaxing are a great way to ease anxiety.
- Talk to someone: Discussing your fears is an excellent way of easing anxiety. If you are feeling extremely anxious or depressed you might want to consider therapy.
- Avoid negativity: Stay away from tv shows, articles and negative stories of childbirth experiences as this will only add to your anxiety. Stay focused and positive. Your baby can sense your moods.
- Research: If you are worried about certain procedures or any other issues, conduct some research or talk to a professional. Again, avoid negativity and make sure your sources are 100% credible.
- Journal: Keeping a journal is a great way to vent your fears, worries and frustrations. Also making lists and preparing a birth plan are also therapeutic.
- Go for a walk: Exercise is always a good way to release stress. Walking will help calm your nerves.
- Talk to your baby: Bonding with your baby is important as he/she can hear everything you say and can distinguish your voice from others. Tell your baby how much you love him/her and how you can’t wait to finally hold them in your arms. Read and sing to your baby, and remember to keep it positive!