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Being pregnant

Your pregnancy: 39 weeks

Your baby’s neck muscles have strengthened and he can hold his head away from the chest wall, but that buoyancy is helped greatly by the amniotic fluid. Once he is born, you will need to support his head when you’re holding him.

By Today's Parent
Your pregnancy: 39 weeks

PHOTO: MANDY MILKS, ERIK PUTZ, ANTHONY SWANEVELD. FELT: THEFELTSTORE.COM

Thirty-nine weeks pregnant: What's going on in there

When you’re at the grocery store this week, head over to the baking section and pick up a bag of flour. Practise rocking it to sleep and you’re essentially training for what’s to come in a few short weeks (minus the enormous baby bump currently hindering your cuddling abilities). By 39 weeks pregnant, your baby weighs about 3.2 kilograms (seven pounds) and is about 51 centimetres (20 inches) long. The bones in his skull haven’t fused together yet—rather, they’re separated by membranes, which allow for greater squeezability through the birth canal. His stomach is tiny—about the size of a large marble—so he won’t need much breast milk or formula to satisfy him for the first few days after birth. His brain and nervous system are well developed, meaning that he can suck, swallow and stay awake long enough to eat after he is born, which isn’t always the case with babies born earlier.

Pregnant young woman with diabetes at home feeling excited about her firstborn martin-dm / Getty Images

Thirty-nine weeks pregnant symptoms

Is this it?

Chances are, every weird feeling seems like it could be the start of labour. Aside from contractions (rhythmic, repeated cramps), some signs of labour include the baby dropping further into your pelvis and rhythmic back pain. Nausea and diarrhea are also possibilities as your muscles—including those in your intestines and rectum—loosen when labour approaches. Your water may break—either in a gush or a trickle—and kick off labour or your water could break after contractions have already started.

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What's on your mind?

Stretch and sweep

When your doctor or midwife examines you during a regular appointment, she will use her fingers to check and see if your cervix is dilated. She may ask if you want a “cervical sweep” or “membrane sweep,” where she puts a gloved finger into the cervical opening to separate the amniotic membrane from the cervical tissue. The sensation varies from woman to woman, but chances are, this will hurt at least a bit. However, it’s considered a low-risk way to encourage labour because the sweep tells the uterus to start producing prostaglandins, which soften the cervix. 

If you’re having a planned C-section, it may be scheduled for week 39 because that’s when your baby is officially full term. In some hospitals, there’s a trend toward “gentle C-sectionswhenever possible, where there isn’t a curtain or drape between you and the baby or the baby is laid on your chest for immediate skin-to-skin contact (if you’re both safe and healthy). Ask your doctor in advance if these adjustments are possible. Either way, familiarize yourself with what to expect with a C-section before the big day arrives.

C-section scar and newborn baby Jane Khomi / Getty Images

Just for kicks

Pick up some pointers from Beyoncé and Jessica Alba or, hey, just be a little bit nosy and see how the stars give birth. We won’t judge.  

jessica alba pregnant Jason Merritt / Getty Images

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Chrissy Teigen

As candid as Chrissy Teigen normally is on social media, we were surprised she hadn’t said anything about her postpartum sex life with her husband, John Legend. Well, in an interview for Women’s Health in September 2018, she finally spilled the deets. The model and cookbook author had just been cleared for exercise—and sex!—after giving birth to her second kid, Miles, earlier in the year, but the exhaustion of parenthood can get in the way. “It doesn’t matter who you are—even if you’re a sexy R&B crooner or an ex–swimsuit model, you’re just tired! We still have that passion for each other, but are we doing it randomly in a dressing room? No!” she said with a laugh. “We’ll get back into it again. But it is funny: If he performs somewhere, and I go, I’m like, ‘Oh, he’s sexy.’ We’ll probably have sex that night.”

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend on the red Carpet of the GQ Men of the Year awards Photo: Mike Marsland/Getty Images

Pink

As if there weren’t enough reasons to love Pink! The outspoken singer says that her marriage with Carey Hart takes a lot of work. “There are moments where I look at [Hart] and he is the most thoughtful, logical constant…,” she says. “He’s like a rock. He’s a good man. He’s a good dad. And then I’ll look at him and go, I’ve never liked you. There’s nothing I like about you. Then two weeks later, I’m like, things are going so good. Then you’ll go through times when you haven’t had sex in a year. Is this bed death? Is this the end of it? Do I want him? Does he want me?” She adds, “Monogamy is work! But you do the work and it’s good again.”

Read more: 20 celebrity moms reveal what it was really like to give birth

Carey Hart and Pink arrive at the 2017 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 19, 2017 in Los Angeles, California Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage

Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher took a different approach to his sex life after he and Mila Kunis had their daughter, Wyatt, in 2014. “I decided to stop having sex,” says Kutcher. “I took that out of my life. That was taking up so much time.” We guess that cutting sex out cold turkey is one way to do it—there just simply isn’t enough time in the day when you have a newborn! But clearly he changed his mind because he and Kunis welcomed their son, Dimitri, in November 2016.

Actors Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis attend the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada Photo: Todd Williamson/Getty Images

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Eva Amurri Martino

Celebrity blogger (and Susan Sarandon’s daughter) Eva Amurri Martino was very open about what postpartum sex is really like in a post on her Happily Eva After blog. “By the time the famous ‘six-week mark’ came around [postpartum], I was totally not ready to hop back into the saddle,” she says. “So we waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, it was nine weeks postpartum and I thought my husband was going to spontaneously combust, so we had sex…and it was terrible. In my opinion, having sex for the first time after birthing a baby feels like having sex for the first time ever. It’s awkward, emotional and extremely painful.”

Read more: Postpartum sex—why it sometimes hurts

Actress Eva Amurri Martino, wearing Max Mara, and and former soccer player Kyle Martino attend The Max Mara 2015 Women In Film Face Of The Future event at Chateau Marmont on June 15, 2015 in West Hollywood, California Photo: Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Max Mara

Kristen Bell

Hilarious actress Kristen Bell and her equally funny husband, Dax Shepard, have two kids together: Delta and Lincoln. In an appearance on The Talk, Bell admitted that sometimes she and Shepard make time for nookie while the kids are home, which means that coitus interruptus sometimes happens. “Oh, they’ve walked in on us having sex,” she told the hosts. “That’s how they were made. It’s OK. We sort of just went like, ‘Hey, what’s up? What do you need?’ And then we just said, ‘Mommy and Daddy are just going to take a nap for a couple of minutes.’” Great cover-up, guys!

Read more: Kristen Bell smells like urine—and has to schedule time for sex

Dax Shepard (L) and Kristen Bell attend The 2017 Baby2Baby Gala presented by Paul Mitchell on November 11, 2017 in Los Angeles, California Photo: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images

Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham and her soccer star husband, David Beckham, have been married for nearly 20 years and have four beautiful kids to show for it: Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz and Harper. With all of those kiddies, one would only assume that their sex life would take a hit. Back in 2013, she told the Daily Star that then-19-month-old Harper liked to snuggle with Daddy. “David and I are lucky to get down to business at all because Harper still won’t sleep on her own,” she says. “David is so mad about her, he can’t resist letting her snuggle in and sleep between us. She’s a real daddy’s girl. But Mummy needs some Daddy time, too!” Can’t say we blame you, Victoria!

Victoria and David Beckham attend the Kent & Curwen SS18 LFWM Presentation on June 11, 2017 in London, England Photo: Darren Gerrish/Getty Images

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Kelly Rowland

Former Destiny’s Child member Kelly Rowland sat down with ET to talk about how her marriage to Tim Witherspoon has changed since welcoming their son, Titan, in November 2014. “It actually brought us closer,” she said. She later admitted that she couldn’t wait to get their intimacy “rocking again.” “You know, that six-week period [after] feels like forever. And as a gentleman, [Tim] very gentle, so he wanted to give me a little more space. I’m like, ‘No, let’s go!’ I’m still a mom and it doesn’t matter. I’m a woman and I have physical needs.”

Kelly Rowland with her husband, Tim Weatherspoon and their son, Titan Photo @kellyrowland via Instagram

Jada Pinkett Smith

Relating to her character in Girls Trip, actress Jada Pinkett Smith opened up about how, after 20 years of marriage and two kids with her husband, Will Smith, it’s only normal that she has lost her mojo at times. “I think every woman who’s had kids has definitely lost her groove at some point because, naturally, all of our focus goes into raising our child or our children. And then you just kind of wake up one day and you go ‘Oh my gosh, where did I go?’ And then it takes us a minute to regain ourselves.”

Actor Will Smith and actress Jada Pinkett Smith arrive to the 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 10, 2016 Photo: Alberto Rodriguez/Getty Images

Whitney Port

The Hills alum Whitney Port and her hubby, Tim Rosenman, welcomed their first son, Sonny, last July. In a video posted to her YouTube channel, she and her husband were really open about their post-baby sex life and how it has changed. She thought about how she pushed “an eight-pound baby out of a tiny little hole.” To her husband, she said, “I thought a lot about if you were attracted to me and that was hard because I was never insecure before,” which is when he reassured her by saying “I was, and I am.” She isn’t so sure that she would feel the same if the roles were reversed. “Sometimes I’d put myself in your position and be like, ‘I wonder if Timmy gained 40 pounds and had, like, a huge basketball sticking out of his stomach if I’d still be attracted…and I don’t know!”

Whitney Port and Tim Rosenman attend Fete Harriett - A Fundraiser Benefiting The Harriett Buhai Center For Family Law at Austere on June 29, 2016 in Los Angeles, California Photo: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images

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Jessica Simpson

After giving birth to her daughter, Maxwell, by C-section in 2012, Jessica said she “ignored her doctor’s advice” and had sex three weeks postpartum because she just couldn’t keep her hands off her husband, Eric Johnson. “I’ve kind of broken one rule,” she told People. “I think I have the sexiest man in the world, so that’s the rule I break.”

Singer Jessica Simpson and her husband Eric Johnson attend a special preview of 'The Gleason Project' at ZEFR Warehouse on April 23, 2015 in Venice, California Photo: Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

Kate Hudson

In her book, Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways to Love Your Body, Kate Hudson discusses “rediscovering pleasure” in sex after childbirth. “All women are so different,” she told E! News. “For some, their sex drive is just gone. For some, it amplifies and men are like, ‘Hey, you’re terrifying me.’ Hormonally, you just never know how you’re going to react.” As the actress and mom of Ryder and Bingham explained, “There’s sort of this great little bubble that you go into after you have a baby that both Mom and Dad sort of experience—and I don’t mean this in a negative way but in a very positive way—where [kids] shift the balance of the home. Some things [like] do kind of get put to the side.”

Actress Kate Hadson attends the Michael Kors And Vogue Japan Celebrate Kate Hudson's Work With Watch Hunger Stop In Support Of The World Food Programme on November 13, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan Photo: Matt Roberts/Getty Images

Kourtney Kardashian

The eldest Kardashian, Kourtney, has had three kids with her ex-partner, Scott Disick: Mason, Penelope and Reign. After Mason’s birth back in December 2009, she told Kim that she was planning to have a second baby. Kim was curious about whether it was true that she had to wait six months after birth to have sex. “Most people can have sex six weeks after, but the doctor told me to wait two months,” she told Kim. When she asked why, she said, “I don’t know, but once the doctor gave us the OK, we were excited to try it, but it was very painful. It felt like a metal pole is literally ramming you in the crotch.”

elevision personalities Scott Disick (L) and Kourtney Kardashian arrive at his birthday celebration at 1 OAK Nightclub at The Mirage Hotel & Casino on May 23, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada Photo: David Becker/WireImage

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JWoww and Snooki

In a HuffPost Live chat back in 2014, Jersey Shore alum Jenni “JWoww” Farley and Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi were, not surprisingly, straight up about their post-pregnancy sex lives. “It’s, like, worse than being a virgin,” said JWoww. “It’s like a black hole.” Apparently, she waited about seven weeks after her first baby, Meilani, to have sex with then-fiancé Roger Mathews. Snooki agreed, saying that she is “scarred after looking down there” and that she is only getting intimate with her husband, Jionni LaValle, under one condition: “The only time I’m going to have sex is if I want to have a baby again,” she says.

Jenni Photo: Steve Zak Photography/FilmMagic

Coco Austin

According to actress and model Coco Austin, “Sex is nonexistent for the first couple of months” after baby. She and her husband, rapper Ice-T, had their daughter, Chanel, in November 2015. In a People’s Mom Talk chat with other famous moms, she explains that it’s not something you really think about in those early post-baby months. “It definitely changes,” she said. “You don’t get the OK to even have sex or go to the gym until 16 [weeks]. But you don’t even want sex, that’s the thing. Everything is about the child, and nothing is sexual in your world. I never thought about it!” We feel you on that one, Coco.

Ice-T and Coco Austin host The Pool After Dark at Harrah's Resort on Saturday July 1, 2017 in Atlantic City, New Jersey Photo: Tom Briglia/Getty Images

Baby names

Understandably, some parents want to wait until they meet their baby to decide on the name. But if you don’t have your list of final contenders yet, you’re running out of time! Here’s how to name your baby without the stress

alphabet letter names blocks artisteer / Getty Images

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Pregnancy to-do list: 39 weeks

Look at a cheat sheet of different labour positions to try. While TV and movies tend to show a labouring woman on her back in bed, there are actually lots of different moves that allow you to stay a little more comfortable and keep things moving. For example, you can lean into a wall, lean over the hospital bed, sit on an exercise ball, slow-dance with your partner with your head leaning against his chest or shoulder (music not required), do a lunge or lie on your side with your upper knee bent. There are also a lot of labour props, such as birthing stools, squatting bars and tubs.

For C-section moms, research what’s needed while you’re recovering from a C-section. For example, know that it’s OK to take pain meds if you’re breastfeeding.

Read more: Final weeks of pregnancy: The waiting game What to expect when your water breaks Next up: 40 weeks pregnant

Your pregnancy: 39 weeks

This article was originally published on Jul 30, 2017

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