Week Thirty Nine: Very close now
You are 39 weeks pregnant. (fetal age 37 weeks)
- The average baby is about 20 inches (51 cm) and weighs about 7.5 pounds (3400 grams).
- The baby has reached its final birth position.
- It will be cramped inside your uterus for much movement.
- Your baby will continue to punch and kick but lower in your abdomen, under your pelvis.
- The head is about 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter.
- Most of the baby’s downy coating of lanugo has now disappeared.
You are very close now to the end of your pregnancy, just a week or so left. Keeping track of your little one’s activity level may be a good idea at this time. As space in your uterus becomes more cramped, your baby’s kicks and other movements may seem less forceful. You may want to check on your baby’s movements from time to time and do a kick count. If movement drops off considerably, call your doctor or caregiver.
The average baby weighs in at over seven pounds (3kg), but can be as much as one or two pounds (1kg) heavier or lighter. It can vary with each baby, and there is no cause for concern. Your pregnancy is considered full term now (between 37 and 42 weeks is full-term). At birth the umbilical cord will stop working when the child takes her first breaths of air outside of uterus. The child’s breathing will trigger changes in the heart that will force all blood to go through the lungs.
Most Caucasian babies are born with blue eyes and their true eye color may not reveal itself for weeks or months. Baby is restricted in movement as there is no space left in the womb. You should be finding it easier to breathe now that the uterus is dropping away from the diaphragm.
You may be experiencing the nesting syndrome by attempting to clean, cook, shop and prepare for the new arrival. This is very common, just be careful that you do not wear yourself out. You need to conserve your energy for the hard work ahead in labor and birth.
Your body still makes amniotic fluid, but absorption may outpace the amount you make and so levels may decrease a bit. Contact your caregiver immediately if you have any leaking of fluid. The lanugo has mostly disappeared, but you will probably find a bit on their shoulders, arms and legs and in those little bodily creases. It will vanish completely on its own in time.
In the final couple of weeks, your baby has another growth spurt, and new skin is already forming underneath her outer layers, which will already be sloughing off. If she’s born now then you will see that her breasts may be slightly swollen and her labia may be enlarged, and she may also have a tiny bit of blood in her diaper. This is all normal, and is the effect of the high levels of pregnancy hormones that have been circulating around you.
Your baby’s waiting to greet the world! She continues to build a layer of fat to help control her body temperature after birth, but it’s likely she already measures about 20 inches and weighs a bit over 7 pounds, a mini watermelon. (Boys tend to be slightly heavier than girls.) The outer layers of her skin are sloughing off as new skin forms underneath.
Baby’s now the size of a watermelon!
Baby’s brain is still developing rapidly, and her skin has taken on a paler shade thanks to a thicker layer of fat around the blood vessels. (Don’t worry; she’ll change color again soon after birth.) She’s now able to flex her limbs, and her nails might extend past her fingertips.