39 Weeks Pregnant
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Your baby at 39 weeks
While your baby's systems are continuing to develop at this late stage in pregnancy, particularly the brain, their overall growth rate may now slow, or stop all together until after delivery. On average, most babies weigh between 3.2 and 3.6kg at 39 weeks, and their length will probably be in the region of 48-52cm. The amniotic fluid that surrounds your baby has changed in colour from clear to milky as your baby sheds the substance vernix caseosa. This substance has been protecting their skin from the amniotic fluid, which otherwise would have made their skin very wrinkly. Also, while they aren't making any noise, your baby is already practicing crying! Research has shown that in the last trimester of pregnancy, babies have been shown to demonstrate behaviours that accompany the crying sound, such as the wide open mouth, quivering chin, and deep chest movements. These were shown to occur when a loud and sudden noise or vibration occurred near the mother's tummy. This research actually makes sense when you consider how powerfully babies are able to cry straight from birth, even when born prematurely.
How you are feeling
You have probably heard countless comments in the past about pregnant women spending half the night up going to the toilet, and in these last few weeks of pregnancy you may be starting to see that it isn't all exaggeration! Now that your uterus has moved back down into your pelvis it is putting quite a lot of weight directly onto your bladder. Whatever you do, don't reduce your fluid intake or try to 'train' your bladder by forcing yourself to wait until the urge to urinate is uncomfortable. If you need to go, then go! Remember that if you are experiencing any surprise leaking of urine (possibly when you sneeze, cough or laugh) then you can always wear panty liners or sanitary towels to save you from any red-faced moments. In addition, tightening the muscles around the vagina and anus as you do in your pelvic floor exercises will help to lessen, or prevent these leaks.
What you need to do
It is likely that by now you have done lots of reading and research into labour, child birth and childcare, packed your hospital bag, prepared the nursery, prepared the house and (hopefully) started your maternity leave from work. Now, you need to relax! You have probably been told on countless occasions to make sure that you get plenty of rest and relaxation in this final stage of pregnancy. Don't ignore this advice as within a few weeks you may well find that sleep is even harder to come by. Get your feet up and enjoy the peace and quiet. Generally, most mums agree that life is never again the same once you have children (but not in a negative way), and that they could have made more of the quiet time to relax in the weeks before birth.
It is natural that labour is going to be on your mind, but worrying isn't going to make it come sooner or prevent it from happening at all. All it can serve to do is make you upset and tense in these final days or weeks. As with all pregnancy worries, talk them through with your partner, but don't dwell on them too much.
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