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39 weeks pregnant

Katie de Klee
All you need to know at this pregnancy stage, what changes to expect, and some great tips for the week ahead.
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5 things to look forward to at 39 weeks pregnant:
1.     Feeling impatient. Really impatient.
2.     Your water could break.
3.     More false labour (and maybe real labour!)
4.     The urge to prepare your home for your baby.
5.     The last few days and weeks of pregnancy.
How your life will change this week:
Babies often avoid their due date, so even though you’re supposed to be a week away from the big day, your baby could arrive any day now or not for another two or three weeks. Most women start feeling deeply impatient around their 39th week because they’re so tired of being pregnant. You’re nearly there. You’ll soon be meeting your baby for the first time. You have done such a good job.

There are some signs that you can look for to indicate you’re going into labour. These include small spots of blood in your discharge, pains high up in your uterus, and nausea and diarrhoea (caused by the muscles in the intestines and rectum loosening in preparation for childbirth). Staying hydrated can help if you’re feeling queasy. You may still be feeling Braxton Hicks contractions this week, and you might also feel real contractions (which will be longer and stronger, and increase in intensity). Another sign of labour is the loss of the mucous plug that seals the opening of the uterus – this usually appears as a pink or brown-tinged mucous discharge. If your water breaks, your amniotic sac will rupture and the fluid will flush out. Most women are already in labour when this happens, but if you notice that your waters break, it’s time to head to the hospital!

If none of these signs are present and you’re feeling madly impatient, try doing the things you won’t have time for soon: catching up with your girlfriends, watching movies, finishing a book or writing emails to friends.

Your baby’s development this week:
By now your baby could weigh around 3kg. That’s quite a weight for you to be carrying around! The bones in your baby’s head still haven’t fused, and they won’t until after birth. This is to help your baby move through your birth canal and it can mean your baby looks slightly cone-headed when they are born. Your baby has little fingernails that reach the end of their fingers by now, and may even have a full head of hair. Your baby’s brain is still rapidly developing and will continue to do so for the first few years of their life.

This week’s To Do list:
  • Watch for signs of labour.
  • Give yourself small tasks to combat impatience – tidy your bathroom cabinet or bake some bran muffins (good for digestion) – anything that can be achieved in a short space of time and will give you a small feeling of satsifaction.
  • Make sure your freezer and fridge are well stocked.
If you have 5 minutes… Pregnancy top tip.
Chat to your partner about how you want to handle visitors once your baby is born – do you want visitors at the hospital or do you want to wait till you get home? Do you want a few days to yourselves before people start popping in? If you’re both on the same page it will make the first week or two a lot easier for all of you.

Curious about next week?  
Click here to find out what happens next week… And the week after.

Share your thoughts and concerns
Chat with other Moms-to-be in your area or at the same developmental stage as you in BabyGroup Forums.

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