39 Weeks Pregnant: Symptoms, Tips, Baby Development

When you’re 39 weeks pregnant, you are on the last stretch of your pregnancy. Your baby is full term, meaning that it is fully developed and is only waiting for the right time to make an entrance into the world.

There are plenty of changes still occurring inside your body and you’ve prepared everything that is needed to welcome your baby. Read on to find out exactly what happens to you and your baby at this stage. 

39 weeks pregnant in months

After 39 weeks of pregnancy, you have completed full 8 months and are 3 weeks into the ninth. You are, therefore, about a week away from your due date.

Your baby at week 39 of pregnancy

In this last stretch of the pregnancy, your baby is full term. They have grown to what will be their birth weight and the size will not change much till they come out into the outside world.

Despite seemingly reaching a peak in growth, there are still some internal developments taking place to ensure that the baby is well-equipped to handle life on the outside.

How big is your baby at 39 weeks pregnant?

At 39 weeks pregnant, your baby is akin to a small watermelon. That is to say, they can range from 18 to 20.5 inches which is roughly half a meter in length. 

The baby has also put on some weight, tipping the scales at around 6.5 to 8 pounds. In metric, that translates to 2.9 to 3.6 kilograms. This weight will not change much and is probably what might register on the scale after you have delivered the bawling tot.

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Pregnancy week 39 fetal development

Even though your baby is referred to as full term at this stage of your pregnancy, there’s still some development taking place within your uterus. 

The most significant development is in the fetal head. Your baby’s brain is developing at a very fast pace. It is about 30 percent bigger than it was the previous month and will continue to grow at an incredible pace throughout the first three years of life. It is no wonder, therefore, that the head accounts for a third of total weight we mentioned above.

At this stage in the pregnancy, your baby’s skin turns white regardless of what their complexion will be when they are finally born. This is because there’s now a thick layer of fat under the skin that has been deposited over the blood vessels which have been providing the pink hue.

Your baby now also has the ability to form new skin cells. This results in the old layers of skin sloughing off, making way for new skin.

Your body at week 39 of pregnancy

In this last stage of your pregnancy, your body is preparing for the D-day. You will feel and notice some changes moving forward.

39 weeks pregnant belly

With the baby at full term, your belly is now stretched out to the fullest. The baby has filled out all the space in the uterus which in turn displaces many of the internal organs surrounding it to make space for your offspring.

Your stretch marks are very visible as the skin expands to contain the extended womb. In these last stages of the pregnancy, you might also notice an itchy rash known as pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP).

39 weeks pregnant symptoms

Apart from the visibly extended abdomen, you will also feel some other symptoms. 

These include:

  • Fatigue. The load you’re carrying in this late stage of pregnancy makes you tired and you might feel fatigued most of the time. With the uterus pushing up on your stomach, you might be eating little amounts of food. This can reduce your blood sugar, compounding your fatigue and also leading to dizziness. You should, therefore, read up on some nutrition tips for expectant moms so that you know how to get the nutrition you need.
  • Braxton Hicks contractions. These are light contractions that last for a short time, ranging from half a minute to 2 minutes. Braxton Hicks does not mean you’re in labor; it’s just your body’s way of practicing for the day that’s just around the corner.
  • Pressure in the pelvic area. The baby is also preparing to come out into the world. It, therefore, sits quite low in the uterus, pushing up towards the cervix. This shift in positioning makes you feel quite a bit of pressure in your pelvis.
  • Clumsiness. When your tummy is fully extended due to the new life you're carrying, your center of gravity will shift. You might, therefore, find that you are a bit clumsier than usual. The clumsiness can increase due to the discomfort resulting from your breasts. These have been increasing in size throughout the pregnancy and are now bigger. You can ease the discomfort by wearing a comfortable pregnancy bra
  • Constipation. When the uterus pushes up on the surrounding organs including your rectum, you are likely to have constipation. Add some roughages and fruits to your diet so that you have some much-needed fiber to ease constipation.

39 weeks pregnant ultrasound

When you do your ultrasound in the 39th week, you might notice that your baby is probably in the cephalic presentation. This means that they are in the head-down position, ready to come out into the world. 

You might also notice that the fingernails and hair are properly visible; as well as the genitals. Now you can know if it’s a boy or girl.

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39 weeks pregnant lifestyle and diet

At this stage, you cannot wait to give birth. You are not as mobile as before because of the sheer volume of the pregnancy and resultant fatigue.

With your mind on the impending arrival, you can easily forget to take care of yourself. You, therefore, need to watch what you eat during the last stages of pregnancy.

You probably cannot have large meals in a single go. You might want to consider having healthy snacks at various intervals throughout the day. Incorporate fruits and vegetables, perhaps as salads. You should also drink a lot of water so that you don’t become dehydrated.

Don’t forget to engage in some light exercise to prepare you for the rigors of childbirth.

Sex at week 39 of pregnancy

Having sex when you are 39 weeks pregnant is fine as long as your doctor hasn’t pointed out any complications with the pregnancy. However, you should take care to use protection so that you don’t contract any sexually transmitted infections that can affect the baby.

Sometimes, the mood might not be right. You might not feel sexy at all with the protruding belly and your breasts are quite tender as well.

39 weeks pregnant checklist

During this week, there are some things you should do to ensure that you are ready for your baby when it arrives.

39 weeks 1 day pregnant

Wrap up your duties at work and let update whoever is taking over.

39 weeks 2 days pregnant

Go for your week 39 prenatal visit and schedule one for week 40 for any last screening tests.

39 weeks 3 days pregnant

Do some light exercise in preparation for the big day. Birthing classes are a great place for this.

39 weeks 4 days pregnant

Plan for the meals you will have in the days or weeks after you give birth.

39 weeks 5 days pregnant

Make a list of contacts of friends who you should alert when you’re going in to deliver the baby.

39 weeks 6 days pregnant

Make sure your go-bag has all the things you will need.

39 weeks 7 days pregnant

With your partner, go through the plan for the big day.

What to ask your doctor

Now that you are close to the big day, you can ask your doctor what to expect when they wheel you in. Whatever kind of birth you are planning, you should ask the doctor how it will be performed and what they expect from you.

Ask the doctor about any pains, discharge, and bleeding you might be having. They can allay your fears if it's something expected and normal or save your baby if it's something worse.