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39 weeks pregnant

You and your baby's development

What's happening in week 39 of your pregnancy

Week 39 and both you and your unborn baby are playing the waiting game!

At a glance

  • It is not long now until you get that first cuddle with your little one
  • Enjoy these last few days with your partner and try not to worry too much
  • Most women get plenty of warning signs before baby arrives!
39 Weeks pregnant

How big is my baby at 39 weeks?

Like you, your baby is just waiting for the signal to go now, and is ready to make their début! Fully grown at close to 50cm and weighing 7 to 8lbs, they’re head down and waiting for those first lovely moments of skin to skin contact and that first feed with mum!

If they haven’t already, they’ll be shedding the Vernix Caseosa which will be mixing into the remaining amniotic fluid, which is likely to be swallowed by the baby.

How odd that any day now they will go from being tucked up in your tummy to being properly in your life? And what an amazing journey they (and you!) have been on since week one!

Facts to know about your baby in week 39

  • Your baby continues to build a layer of fat to help control their body temperature after birth
  • Your baby is adding neural connections and growing hair and still gaining weight

You at 39 weeks pregnant

You might be finding it hard to think about - or concentrate - on anything much beyond your impending arrival now! As every little twinge, feeling of dampness, pain or movement will have you wondering 'is this it?'! 

Most women get plenty of warnings that things are about to start (a show, waters breaking, hours of mild contractions), and first babies often like to keep you on your toes with plenty of false starts and trips to the hospital only to be sent back home again! But rest assured, you are going to have your newborn son or daughter

in your arms very, very soon now, and that is really all you need to be thinking about!

Facts to know about you in week 39

  • The general consensus is that it's perfectly OK to have sex around 6 to 8 weeks after labour but it's OK if you don't feel like it too!
  • Waters can break as a trickle or a gush. Call your midwife when it happens.
  • Delayed cord clamping means waiting at least until the umbilical cord has stopped pulsating is also known as a physiological or natural third stage.
  • Labour is brought on by 3 hormones. Oxytocin, endorphin and adrenaline.
  • By the time you give birth, the placenta will weigh one sixth of your baby's weight.

What to think about in week 39

Bounty Portrait has been taking photos on maternity wards for over 20 years. Every newborn is important to us, and we pride ourselves on being able to offer every new parent we meet a free photo shoot, free gift and free announcement service.

Make sure you get the most out of your portrait session by packing a special outfit, blanket and a small cuddly toy.

week 39 portrait

Your birth is as close as a few days away now and all-consuming that your baby will be with you so soon. You may have read all the birthing books, be clued up on C-sections, assisted delivery and natural labours, but have you given much thought to what happens after you give birth?

As every birth is different, the amount of time you spend in the hospital after will depend on how straightforward or complicated your birth was.

If everything goes smoothly and your labour ails along textbook style, and your baby is born vaginally there’s no need for an extended hospital stay; you and your baby should be able to go home and rest in a familiar environment within a few hours of the birth.

The more complications you face, the more time you may need to stay in hospital, but rest assured, as soon as you and the baby have had all the clear, you will making your way home.

You probably have the car seat and pushchair sorted now, but have you considered a baby sling for those early months? They can be a great option for getting out and about with your baby will minimal stuff.

You’ll both enjoy the closeness of carrying your baby in a sling and newborns will be soothed and comforted by your proximity. Wearing a sling also helps you keep your hands free to get on with things around the house, and make heading out and about less of a faff than taking a pushchair.

Found this helpful? Read more on...

Signs and symptoms at 39 weeks pregnant

Waters breaking

It’s possible your waters could break before you even go into labour. If this does happen, it’s most likely go into labour within 24 hours. But if not, your midwife may recommend that your labour might need to be induced so as to reduce the risk of any infection. Amniotic fluid looks a bit like urine and is a pale straw colour. When your waters break, the colour may be a little blood stained to start with. It’s different for everyone, some say they experience a big ‘gush’ as their waters break whereas others describe a trickle. Your amniotic sac is a bit like a balloon full of water that eventually bursts due stretching and movement.
Read more

Back pain

Whether you’ve experienced much back pain during your pregnancy, chances are you will be suffering this close to the end. If you had no pre-existing back issues before your pregnancy, it’s likely that your back pain will disappear once you've given birth. If you still have back pain after the birth of your baby, you can continue to try massage and exercise or see a specialist to see if there’s any underlying issues.
Read more

Watch our videos below: 

Video 1: The Bounty Portrait hospital experience 

Video 2: Pain relief options 

Video 3: How to keep a sleeping baby safe 

Video 4: How to change a disposable nappy

Baby Names

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At a glance

  • It is not long now until you get that first cuddle with your little one
  • Enjoy these last few days with your partner and try not to worry too much
  • Most women get plenty of warning signs before baby arrives!

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