At 39 weeks your baby is about the size of a small watermelon! Measuring around 20 inches long, your little baby is quickly running out of space inside your womb. This week, your baby will weigh around 7.5-9.2 pounds but growing isn’t over yet.
Of that 7.5-9.2 pounds, about one-third of your child’s weight is thanks to that growing brain. The brain is an incredible 30 percent larger than it was just four weeks ago. Baby’s brain is still developing at incredible rates, as it will continue to do for years to come. The first three years of life will be packed with learning as your baby absorbs everything around at astonishing rates, which you’ll come to see every day you spend with them.
Over those three years, plenty of tears will be shed, but don’t expect any right away. That’s because your baby’s tear ducts haven’t developed yet. You’ll likely experience plenty of wails – even within the first few days – but none of those will include a single tear. You can expect plenty tears to be shed (including those crocodile tears) after the first month.
Now that baby has developed plenty of fat, you can expect your little one to be born with a white tone instead of a pinkish tone. The thick fat layer is separating the skin from the blood vessels, making baby’s cheeks soft and plump at birth. That fat layer is also responsible for the whitened skin tone. Many babies – no matter their ethnicity – are born with a light skin tone until pigmentation occurs shortly after birth, but may take several weeks to fully develop. Darker pigment areas will occur around the fingernail beds and on baby’s ears.
At 39 weeks, you’re probably pretty excited to meet your little one. Who are we kidding? You’re probably pretty excited to be almost done with pregnancy too! If your baby hasn’t been born yet, have no fear because the day is quickly approaching. Most doctors recommend waiting until at least 40 weeks before considering induction, although a little extra time in the womb certainly won’t do any harm. Your baby will be born when they are ready so don’t fret.
You’ll have weekly checkups with your practitioner these days, to ensure you and baby are healthy and progressing. Your caretaker will examine your cervix to see if it is preparing for delivery. You can expect it to soften, efface (thin out), and dilate (open) in preparation for baby’s big welcome. Your caretaker will also check to make sure baby is still active, which should continue up until the delivery date. If activity decreases, it could be a sign of problems, at which point your practitioner will induce labor.
Any day now, your water will break. If you think it has happened, contact your practitioner. Sometimes leaking can occur when membranes leak, so it’s important to contact your caretaker just in case. You may feel false labor pains as well, but you’ll certainly know you’re ready when you feel the pains at the top of your uterus. The contractions will become increasingly frequent as the big moment arrives, so keep track of how often they’re occurring.
Other signs of labor include what is called the bloody show, an increase in vaginal mucus tinged with blood. You will also lose your mucus plug just before delivery. This is a mucus “cork” of sorts that covers the opening to the uterus. When this comes out, you’re ready to go!
Have no fear if your baby isn’t ready yet. It’s common for babies to last one or two weeks in the womb past their expected due date. Until then, you can expect some of the same symptoms you’ve been experiencing over the past few weeks as your body prepares for delivery.
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