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Pregnancy Symptoms Week 39: You Can Give Birth Anytime Now!
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  • You just can't wait to give birth, right? Well, at 39 weeks, your pregnancy has finally reached full-term. It means your baby in your womb is just about done maturing and is ready for the real world. That doesn't mean you will definitely give birth this week though. Your baby might let you wait a tad bit more.

    Pregnancy signs Week 39

    You are eight months and three weeks pregnant on Week 39 of your pregnancy. Your doctor may give the go signal to naturally encourage labor. He may suggest lots of walking and even sex or prescribe evening primrose oil to help ripen your cervix.

    Keep in mind, however, that labor starts naturally even without doing any of the above. Experts recommend to let labor progress on its own. But if there is a medical need to intervene and induce your labor due to pregnancy complications, your doctor will try to do it no earlier than this week.

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    At 39 weeks, it's vital to acquaint yourself with labor signs. Here's what you need to know:

    Bloody show

    If you notice a pinkish or red-tinged, gelatin-like substance on your undies, it's your mucus plug detaching from your cervix, a sign that it's thinning, and you're about to go into labor. You can have this as early as two weeks before experiencing contractions.

    Contractions

    Real labor contractions are those that become more regular, stronger, and longer over time. Other labor signs are you're out of breath after each contraction, and you feel discomfort on your back and abdomen. Rush to the hospital if your contractions are occurring every 10 minutes and lasts about 50 seconds or longer.

    False labor contractions or Braxton Hicks are mild, irregular, and don't increase in intensity or frequency. The belly tightening usually go away when you shift positions. You may have more Braxton Hicks at 39 weeks. If you're unsure about your contractions, call your doctor.

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    Watery discharge

    If you notice clear, watery discharge, even when it's not a big gush of water, head to the hospital immediately. Your water bag may have ruptured, and you need to deliver your baby as soon as possible.

    Alert your doctor and get to the hospital emergency room immediately if you experience any of the following:

    • bleeding
    • your baby isn't moving as much
    • elevated blood pressure
    • severe headache
    • blurred vision
    • sudden swelling
    • nausea
    • vomiting

    These are warning signs that indicate pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia and placenta problems, and they warrant immediate medical attention.

    Pregnancy symptoms Week 39

    Hopefully, you're not gaining any more weight, and if you are gaining pounds, it should be minimal, and it goes to your baby. You will continue to experience pregnancy symptoms in your third trimester like the following:

    Shooting pain

    Your baby should be in a head-down position, and he's low in your pelvis. His movements inside your womb may hit some sensitive nerves in your vagina, giving you sharp, tingling-like sensations. Sometimes, it feels like a mild electric shock shooting from your vagina down your legs.

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    Abdominal pressure, pain, and discomfort

    Your baby is heading down to your birth canal, and that will put pressure on your pelvic area. Your ligaments are loosening up to help your baby make his way into this world. These are the reasons why you feel abdominal pressure and pain in your pelvic area, lower abdomen and back, and hip.

    Breast changes and breast milk leaks

    Apart for your areola and your nipple darkening, your milk glands are also expanding as they fill with colostrum, which may make your breast feel a bit lumpy. Your breasts may also leak a few drops of the yellowish, watery, or milky fluid.

    Diarrhea and other digestive issues

    As your body gets ready for childbirth, it's not just your ligaments that are loosening up but also your digestive muscles and your rectum, resulting in loose bowel movements. Drink lots of water and eat fiber-rich food. Also, try not to strain too much when you poop to avoid developing hemorrhoids.

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    The relaxed muscle valve between the stomach and esophagus and your enlarged uterus pressing on your stomach may be to blame for heartburn and indigestion as well. Eat slowly and drink after you've finished your meal. 

    Your baby's development on Week 39

    At 39 weeks, your baby isn't growing as much anymore — he's already reached his birth weight, measuring about 19 to 21 inches long and weighing anywhere between six to nine pounds. Your little one may not be putting on a lot of weight, but his brain continues to grow.

    Your baby has enough baby fat now to keep him warm once he's born. Your placenta is not just supplying your baby with the nutrient he needs but also passing on antibodies that will help fend off illnesses once he's out. He's busy practicing his reflexes and doing his little tricks in your womb and also just waiting for the right time to meet you.

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    Even if your baby is snug in your womb now, his movements should not lessen during his waking hours. Continue to monitor your baby's movements during his waking hours, and call your doctor if you notice any changes. As soon as your baby's lungs are mature enough, your body will start the labor process, but you may not feel it right away.

    Your to-do list on Week 39 of your pregnancy

    At 39 weeks pregnant, there's really nothing left to do except go to your weekly prenatal checkups religiously, take it easy, and wait for labor to begin. Try to keep your mind calm, happy, and free of anxieties. You might want to busy yourself with little tasks, too, to help ease your worries.

    Practice delivery day

    Make sure your three hospital bags are ready, your car has gas (or you've arranged other modes of transportation), you've installed your car seat. Double check your birth, nursing, and baby essentials, and continue nesting! Review your postpartum care arrangements as well.

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    Take it easy!

    Enjoy the moments you have now with your partner and your family. Cherish your pregnant body and time you have with each other now. In a few days or weeks, a baby will shake things up. The advice that many parents tell expecting couples to sleep now (sleep on your side!) before the baby arrives has a reasonable basis, so do that, too.

    Review your labor and childbirth class notes

    Information is your number one defense against the fear of giving birth. When you understand what your body is going through and what causes the pain, you'll be more in the zone. Review your labor positions to help ease the pain and focus on what keeps you calm.

    Prep for the unexpected

    Check your birth plan, and try not to worry too much it. Many things can happen during labor, some of them the least you expect — and yes, maybe they don't figure in your birth plan. But trust that your birth team has you and your baby's health and safety as a top priority.

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    More on your week-by-week pregnancy:

    Pregnancy Symptoms Week 38: Your Baby 'Drops' Lower Into Your Pelvis

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