Wow! It’s getting close now! Only two weeks left until you get to meet your beautiful little baby. There’s no doubt that you are quite anxious now. Your baby is certainly ready. She is running out of room in there and will soon make her grand entrance in the world.
Your Baby this Week
Your baby is now around the size of a watermelon.
At 39 weeks into your pregnancy, your baby is considered full-term. She probably weighs somewhere around 3.2 and 3.4kg (7 and 7.5 pounds) and measures from 48 to 53cm (19.5 to 21.5 inches) from the top of her head to the tips of her toes. (Of course, these weights and measurements are only averages. Some babies are much smaller or larger depending on many factors. Even the measurements that your doctor takes on your belly are not exact - only ultrasound measurements can come close to the real size and weight. But, for the most part, these weekly average measurements give you a good indication of your baby’s size.)
In week 39, your baby is probably not moving around as much as she did over the last several weeks. There is no room left for her to do so! However, you should still notice some movement. If you do not, contact your doctor right away.
As for development in week 39, your baby is fully developed. All internal organs are functioning and fine details like eyelashes, fingernails, and hair are all in place now. At this point, your baby is just sitting in your womb and gaining weight. Her fingernails and toenails are grown to the tip of her toes and fingers and at this point, your baby can even scratch herself inside the womb. Her hair pattern is complete and she may even be born with a full head of hair. Some babies only have a bit of fuzz while others are born needing a trim! It all depends on her genetics.
All the muscles in your baby’s body are getting stronger by the day. She is also continuing to practice breathing movements by inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid.
The lanugo (the find hair covering your baby) is still falling off and will do so up until deliver. The protective coating that covered your baby and protected her from the harshness of the amniotic fluid (vernix caseosa) is also shedding as she prepares for birth.
Your Body this Week
At 39 weeks into your pregnancy, you are more than likely ready to have a baby. You may be feeling clumsy and much more tired now. The weight gain is definitely slowing you down. And, you are probably still having some of the late pregnancy symptoms like constipation, bladder pressure, trouble sleeping, haemorrhoids, heartburn varicose veins, pelvic pain, leg cramps, Braxton Hicks contractions, and swelling.
Remember that some swelling is normal and is to be expected; however, if you notice swelling that appears rapidly (you wake up swollen), or swelling that is accompanied by a headache or blurred vision, contact your doctor immediately.
As you get closer and closer to your due date, you could notice that you lose your mucus plug. The mucus plug is the mucus structure that closed off your uterus, protecting your baby from infection in the womb. The mucus plug could come out at any time from now until right before you go into labour. When you lose the mucus plug, there could be a discharge that is slightly tinted with blood.
Many women wonder what will happen if they were to go past their due dates. Depending on the circumstances, your doctor could induce your labour. If there is any reason to believe that it would be risky to you or your baby if your pregnancy were to continue, labour induction is suggested.
Labour is induced by the doctor by either manually rupturing your membranes (which is equivalent to your water breaking) or by inserting a gel or suppository to stimulate contractions and soften the cervix for dilation. An intravenous drug is also given to progress the contractions. After that, it’s just a matter of time.