39 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.
39 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.
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. Why the cervix is so important during pregnancy
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-sections” whenever 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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