Pregnant mothers become very uncomfortable by pregnancy week 39. The baby’s immune system continues to develop. Some of the antibodies that are passed from the placenta to the baby will help the baby to fight against infections. Breast-feeding also will boost this protection for the baby. The baby’s body has a healthy covering of fat at pregnancy week 39. The skin of the baby is smooth and still has some vernix on it. Toenails reach the end of the toes now. Some patterns of the baby like waking, sleeping or being active at a particular time will continue after the birth of the baby.
At pregnancy week 39 the baby is around 21 inches long and 7.5 pounds in weight. The heart rate of the baby might undergo some changes at the time of labor and delivery. Hence fetal heart rate monitoring is important during pregnancy and delivery. Newborn babies have a soft spot on the top of the head called fontanel. The skull of the baby remains slightly open in this spot so that the baby’s head is compressed during delivery. The genitals and the breasts of the baby might also be swollen. As the baby grows older the spots harden and close. The toenails and fingernails grow to the tips of the fingers and toes. The muscles of the baby’s arms and legs are strong now. The baby continues to shed lanugo hair.
Many women experience moods swings mixed with elation and anxiety. There is a drop in hormones after delivery. Most women experience blues after birth which goes away within a short span of time. Women might go in labor anytime from pregnancy week 39. The placenta continues to supply the baby with antibodies during pregnancy week 39 which help the baby to fight infection for first six months after birth.
Some common symptoms during pregnancy week 39 are: hemorrhoids, constipation, increased urination, itchiness in belly, swelling of the ankles, fingers and face, leg cramps and pelvic pain. Mothers should also keep a watch on any abnormal discharge or bleeding. Some women before getting into labor might experience amniotic fluid leaking, water breaking, loss of mucus plug or some spotting. Visit to the bathroom becomes more frequent with an increased pressure on the bladder. Mothers now should be ready to leave home any time. The bags should be packed and kept ready with all the things that the mother and the new born will need.
Labor progresses quickly once the cervix dilates to four or five centimeters. Contractions are more frequent, longer and strong. In most normal conditions the oxygenated blood flow to the placenta is restricted by the uterus which does not cause any harm to the baby. The external fetal monitoring is done any time during labor. Women at this stage should try to cope with contractions. For doing this the most comfortable position could be found and needs to focus on breathing. Shoulders could be dropped and relaxed.