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39 Weeks Pregnant: Week by Week Pregnancy

Symptoms, Tips and Fetal Development


Hello, 39 weeks pregnant! You are solidly full term at this point and your baby will be arriving any day now, hooray! You just have to get through that pesky labor and delivery thing. Learn what you may experience during these last weeks in pregnancy.

Baby at 39 weeks pregnant

At 39 weeks, your baby’s growth is slowing way down, and might even have stopped. The average baby at 39 weeks is between seven and eight pounds, with enough fat to maintain their body temperature (with some snuggles from mama) outside of the womb. 

Because pigment doesn’t occur until soon after birth, at this stage all babies are pink (a nice change from the whitish or whitish-gray look they previously had). If your baby were born today, you might see traces of vernix and lanugo, but they’re mostly gone.

Your baby’s eyes at 39 weeks are completely formed, but they won't be able to focus until the baby is a few weeks old. His or her head is still the largest part of the body, which is why you want your little to be born headfirst. Inside that head, your baby’s brain is continuing to grow and develop at a rapid pace, as it will for the first three years of life. 

Your body at 39 weeks pregnant

The last weeks of pregnancy can leave you feeling anxious and excited. Many women suffer from a number of pregnancy symptoms when they're 39 weeks pregnant, including stomach distress, backaches, cramping, and mucousy vaginal discharge. This discharge can include a little blood and is common. If you notice any symptoms, such as diarrhea, that last more than a day, talk to your healthcare provider.

pregnancy week 39 embryo
Weekly development of a human fetus at 39 weeks pregnant.

Braxton-Hicks contractions are probably happening with more frequency when you're 39 weeks pregnant. These can feel like a tightening in your belly or be similar to period cramps. If you notice that the cramping is happening on a regular basis, you might be having actual labor contractions. These can occur every 15 minutes and will increase in intensity when labor is starting.

39 weeks is how many months pregnant? 

At this stage in your pregnancy, you're nine months three weeks (9m3w) pregnant. 

How big is my baby at 39 weeks pregnant?

a pumpkin which is roughly the size of a week 39 human embryo

At 39 weeks pregnant, your baby is the size of a pumpkin and measures about 20 inches in length. 

Common symptoms at 39 weeks pregnant

These are some of the most common symptoms that women report at 39 weeks pregnant.

  • Increased vaginal discharge: You may notice more vaginal discharge than normal. Thick discharge or stringy mucus that’s clear, pink, and tinged with blood is common in the weeks before labor.
  • Loss of the mucus plug: As the cervix thins and relaxes in preparation for labor, you may lose the mucus plug that’s been in place at the cervical opening to help keep bacteria from getting into your uterus. If this happens you could notice a jelly-like plug and/or heavy discharge come from your vagina. Surprisingly, the loss of mucus plug and the beginning of labor aren’t directly related; it doesn’t mean that labor is imminent. You can lose the plug two weeks before labor starts, immediately before, or anytime in-between.
  • Heartburn and constipation: Your poor digestive system is under literal pressure from the weight of your belly. This can cause heartburn and constipation, although it may lessen if the baby drops and takes some of the pressure off of your stomach. 
  • Leaking breasts and inverted nipples: Your boobs may be leaking colostrum, the thick and creamy milk that nourishes babies in their first days. During pregnancy, your nipples might have inverted. This is not a big deal and breastfeeding is still possible; speak to a lactaction consultant for guidance.
  • Waddling when you walk: Doing a duck walk? Blame the seven-pound baby that’s taken up in your pelvis.
  • Need to pee frequently: Your uterus’ pressure on your bladder means you might need to get up a lot in the night. You might also notice some leaking when you laugh, cough, or sneeze.
  • Clumsiness: Your body’s preparations for labor are overruling your body’s need for balance, as the hormone relaxin works on loosening the ligaments that are holding your three pelvic bones together. This ligament relaxing will allow your pelvis to open wider during childbirth, but it may cause some clumsiness, back, and pelvic pain, and loose-feeling limbs in the meantime.
  • Dilating cervix: Your cervix may have begun to open or dilate a little in anticipation of labor, when it needs to reach 10 centimeters before you begin pushing. Not all women’s cervixes dilate ahead of labor, however. Your doctor may check you at your weekly visit and declare you’re not dilated even one centimeter, and you could go into labor that day. Other women walk around dilated to as much as a five for a couple of weeks before labor begins for them.
  • Pain “down there:” Occasional twinges or sharp pains in your vagina are normal at this point, as are aches and feelings of pressure in your perineal area (between your vaginal opening and anus) as your baby’s head presses on the pelvic floor. 
  • Ruptured membranes: In about 10% of women, their amniotic sac (their “water”) breaks or leaks, signaling the start of labor. The fluid may come out as a trickle or a gush. If your water breaks, contact your care provider because s/he will want to evaluate you right away.
  • Slowing weight gain: Your baby is putting the brakes on rapid weight gain, and your body might have too. Allegedly some women even lose a pound or so at the end of pregnancy (we don’t know these women!).
  • Feeling tired of being pregnant: At this point, you might be really quite over being pregnant. Some factors contributing to this feeling probably include having trouble sleeping, always needing to pee, and feeling huge.

Pregnancy checklist at 39 weeks pregnant 

Here are a few things you should think about checking off your list at 39 weeks pregnant.

  • Pack your hospital bag: If you haven't packed your hospital bag when you're 39 weeks pregnant you definitely need to do this! Don't forget these hospital bag essentials.
  • Finalize your baby name: What’s your baby name list look like, have you whittled it down to just one? Or is it still any name’s game? Check out these baby naming tips if you’re in need of inspiration.
  • Practice your relaxation techniques: Now is also a good time to review your birth plan with your birthing partner. Also, practice any relaxation techniques that you learned in your prenatal classes to make sure you're as prepared as possible for the big day.

What To Expect at 40 Weeks Pregnant

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