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Track Your Baby's Development Week By Week
Track Your Baby's Development Week By Week
..where little means a lot

Note: The length, weight and size mentioned below are only a guideline, as these vary from baby to baby and from one pregnancy to another.

What is going on with your baby during week 39?

  • Your baby now weighs between 7-7½ pounds, although it is normal for babies to weight from 6-9 pounds.
  • Your growing baby sheds the outer layers of her skin as new skin forms underneath.
  • Baby's head is still its largest part and hence best that they are born headfirst.
  • The placenta continues to offer protection with antibodies against harmful bacteria and viruses.
  • Your baby's arms and legs are in a flexed position.

Week 39 Fetus

Changes in you at this stage Week 39

  • This week Braxton Hicks contractions get stronger and more forceful preparing your cervix for labor.
  • You may have a show but this doesn't mean you will go into labor tomorrow. It does mean that the cervix is effacing.
  • On the downside sleep is a problem and your mood swings is not help.
  • At your weekly visits your doctor will do an abdominal exam to check baby's growth and position; an internal exam to check the state of the cervix.
  • Treat yourself by visiting the spa for a brief session of manicure/pedicure.

Good to Know in Week 39


  • Your baby will swallow her lanugo along with other secretions and store them in her bowels.
  • At 51 cm or 20 inches long, the umbilical cord is as long as your baby from head to toe.
  • Pregnancy hormones produced by your body may cause the breasts in both newborn boys and girls to be swollen at birth and even produce tiny amount of milk.
  • The hardest phase of labor is the shortest.
  • A full bladder or bowel can stand in the way of baby's progress down the birth canal.

Wholesome Advice in Week 39

  • Bonding with your newborn can take several days, weeks and even months. You are just so relieved that labor or your c-section is over. Its okay - you will bond later.
  • An IV line should be inserted into the arm you use least as you will be left with a bruise for a while. If you are right handed ask for the left and vice versa.

Your actions can impact your baby's growth at this stage

If you must be Induced..

Here are the options used if induction becomes necessary:

  • Amniotomy is the process where your doctor will break the sac. This sac won't break until you are well into labor. With induction an instrument will go up into your vagina and through the cervix to make a hole in the membrane. Usually painless but a little uncomfortable, the rupture allows the water to flow out and labor pains to begin.
  • Stripping the membranes is a procedure usually done in the doctor's office where your doctor will insert a finger into the cervix and try to separate the membrane from where it is attached to the wall of the uterus. The discomfort comes more from the vaginal exam than anything else.
  • Synthetic hormones also trigger labor. The mother will be given oxytocin or pitocin via an IV line. Once these agents are in your bloodstream your uterus swings into action. These hormones work by mimicking normal labor.
Free baby Sample

Common Concerns in in Week 39

My concern is why women aren't induced as soon as they pass their due dates?

  • There is a good reason for this. If mother and baby are not ready for labor all the pitocin (the synthetic version of oxytocin given through IV) in the world will not start the labor. For induction to work smoothly the cervix has to be as ripe as possible and until that happens all a doctor will do is to monitor the mother closely.
  • Is it true that I won't be able to eat or drink anything during labor?
  • Laboring women are not supposed to ingest anything during labor because digestion shuts down during this time. Anything consumed at this point will just sit there and later cause you digestive problems or make you feel nauseas or have diarrhea. Another reason why foods and liquids are off limits is in the event of an emergency and when general anesthesia is used the stomach remnants will cause the mother to vomit and choke. All said and done, laboring for hours is a tedious process that is energy-consuming. Some countries allow light snacks and drinks to keep up the nourishment while others only ice chips and some others restrict everything but fluids via an IV line. Check your options with your doctor.

Weekly Nutrition advice in Week 39

A word on Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc

  • These three minerals are essential for your baby.
    1. Calcium significantly reduces your risk of developing preeclampsia, which is more prevalent in women pregnant for the first time
    2. Magnesium helps to prevent premature labor by minimizing uterine contractions. It also lowers your baby's risk of cerebral palsy or mental retardation after birth because it provides protection to the developing nervous system
    3. Zinc is vital for the healthy development of your baby's nervous system. It also reduces the incidence of infection during pregnancy
    4. These minerals also reduce the occurrences of heartburn, leg cramps and insomnia
  • Women lack calcium primarily because adults drink inadequate amounts of milk. If you avoid milk because of being lactose intolerant, then choose lactose free milk. 2 grams of calcium per day is sufficient; this can be obtained from dairy foods, calcium rich foods such as salmon, broccoli, and tofu.
  • If you choose to include calcium supplement then your best bet is either calcium carbonate or calcium citrate for best absorption. Calcium carbonate is the most concentrated and economical form of calcium. Finally calcium is best absorbed when taken with food.
  • Your target for magnesium should be 800mg. Dairy foods are a rich source; other food options are fruits and vegetables (bananas, beans, spinach, avocados) and grain foods (oatmeal and brown rice).
  • For zinc your goal is 30mg per day. Protein foods such as meat and eggs, dairy foods and grains provide you with zinc that you require.

Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.

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