Understanding your pregnancy: Week 39

Understanding your pregnancy: Week 39

A quick snapshot

Still pregnant? If this is your first baby, the chances are high that you will not deliver right on your due date and in fact, more likely to go a little overdue. Even if you are 100% sure of your dates, there is no guarantee that you will deliver when you've been advised. Try to be open-minded and confident that your baby will know when it is ready to be born.

Every little twinge is likely to make you sit up and take notice. You'll ask yourself if what you are feeling could possibly be contractions or early labour pains. Many women find it hard to tell if they are going into early labour and seek reassurance from their doctor. Don't feel as if you are being a nuisance if you need to contact them. You will be having weekly checks by now so this will be an ideal time to have your questions answered. Make a list if your brain isn't as retentive as you'd like it to be or ask your partner to remind you.

What’s changing in your body

  • As well as all the other changes you've undergone in the last nine months, you may have noticed that you're generally more hairy. Stray hairs may have erupted on your face, your back and even your nipples. Don't hesitate in removing them if you find them off-putting. Many pregnant women maintain their usual waxing appointments with their beautician. Having a bikini wax pre-labour is a common request for women who feel this is an essential part of their overall grooming. Don't worry, hair removal won't hurt the baby, only you.
  • Your eyes may feel dry and gritty because the shape of your eyeballs has changed in response to the extra fluid circulating around your body. The tears which normally lubricate the outer surface of your eye can't follow their usual route and slide down your cheek instead. Keep a tissue handy and some lubricating eye drops if they are really irritating you.
  • You may not gain weight from now on, but your baby is still laying down fat stores underneath their skin. Young babies have immature temperature regulating mechanisms in their brains so they need a reasonable buffer to insulate themselves and their vital organs.

How your emotions are affected

  • You may feel a little on edge this week, as if you are in a holding pattern just waiting for the signal to go ahead. You won't want to stray too far from home and will keep your outings short.
  • If you haven't had much to do with babies before, it can all seem a bit daunting. Look back over photos of yourself and your partner when you were both babies and have some fun picking out the characteristics you'd like to see in your own baby and those you'd prefer not to. For those who've had children before, look at early photos of your other children and familiarise yourself with just how small a newborn can be.

How your baby is growing

Third Trimester: Week 3938

  • More breathing practice and surfactant production this week. If your baby were to be born now their lungs would be mature enough to support them and they would not need medical assistance.
  • Your baby weighs close to 3.5kg and is about 53cm long this week. In terms of maturity and development, your baby has done all they need to survive independently.
  • Your baby's brain is still laying down nervous connections which they will continue to do throughout their early childhood. Try to read to your baby, play some music and sing to them. Encourage your partner to become involved in these fun early bonding opportunities. Your baby won't think you're being silly and will only be smarter as a result of this early stimulation.

Tips for the week

  • Head for the closest pool around now. You'll enjoy the feeling of weightlessness as the water supports your entire body. Swimming and floating around in the water is also an excellent way to reduce your core temperature.
  • Read lots of books, catch up on some movies, ring some friends and write some letters. Make use of your time and enjoy the things you haven't had time to do especially if you've been working. Look forward to your ante-natal appointments and know that they are coming to an end. Many women develop a very close relationship with their doctor and feel sad that this is not going to continue.
  • Toss your partner out of bed if you feel space is at a premium. Your insomnia is not likely to have improved much and your frequent overnight trips to the toilet may be disturbing his sleep anyway. If you manage to reclaim the bed as your own, spread the pillows around so they are working for you. Some white noise in the background such as a fan or radio can be useful. Try playing a relaxation CD before you go to sleep and do some progressive muscular relaxation.