39 Weeks Pregnant
Congratulation, you are officially full-term! At this point, your doctor will still probably wait for labor to start naturally. Week 39 also means you only have one more week to go before your official due date. It may be hard to believe that any day now your baby may come. After all your preparation, aches and pains, your little one is almost here!
What’s happening with your body?
Your pelvis may be aching as your baby is in the proper position for birth. Some women also experience sharp pain radiating from their pelvic area down their legs. The pain is likely due to your baby pressing on a nerve.
Overall, you may be pretty uncomfortable and tired. But the end is in sight, and labor could start any day now. You might get an idea of how close you are to delivering at your weekly appointments.
At this point, during your doctor visits, you’ll be weighed (your weight may not change at this stage) blood pressure will be taken, your tummy may be measured, and your doctor may check your cervix to see if you have started to dilate.
Although you may be ready to get this show on the road, unless there is a medical reason to be induced, your doctor will likely let labor come on naturally. Use this quite time to relax before your baby comes. It’s probably only a matter of a week or so before you hear your baby’s first cries.
What’s happening with your baby?
Baby is considered full-term, and all systems should be a go for life on the outside. Your baby’s birth weight is about seven to eight pounds. Remember, some perfectly healthy babies may weigh a bit more or a bit less.
Your baby’s lungs have matured and are ready to take their first big breath. Since your little one has been swallowing some amniotic fluid and also inhaling a bit, she may need to be suctioned after she is born to remove fluid from her tummy or lungs.
Keep in mind, your baby’s world for the last nine months has been pretty quiet. She is in for quite a change once she is born. But these last few weeks, her central nervous system has continued to mature and is ready to handle all the stimulation that awaits.
At this stage, most of the vernix that protected your baby’s skin is gone. Without the vernix, his skin may start to get dry. It might seem odd that your baby is surrounded by amniotic fluid and can still develop dry skin, but it can happen.
Although your baby’s organs are all mature enough for life outside the womb, some of them continue to develop. For example, your baby’s brain is continuing to develop at a fast rate. In fact, his brain development will continue rapidly for several more years.
Thing to keep in mind:
You might have heard various stories about labor and the pain involved. It’s important to remember, all women have a different pain tolerance. What is unbearable to one woman may be tolerable to another.
Still, it’s a good idea to understand options for pain relief so you can make an informed choice when the time comes. Depending on your pain tolerance and wishes, you might choose to forgo pain relief medications and go the natural route.
Natural methods of pain relief may include relaxation techniques, Lamaze breathing and massage. If you decide natural pain relief options are something you want to try, it may be helpful to practice before you go into labor. It’s also a good idea to have a birth coach who can reinforce techniques.
Another option for pain relief during labor is medication. Different pain- relieving medications, such as Demerol, can be administered through an injection or intravenously to decrease pain. The medication does enter your bloodstream so you may have some side effects, such as sleepiness, and your baby may also feel some of the effects.
Anesthetics including an epidural or a spinal block can also be used during labor. Anesthetics cause a loss of sensation so you won’t feel pain. If you opt for an epidural, a catheter will be inserted into your back so numbing medication can be administered. Your entire lower body becomes numb with an epidural, so you will not be able to walk around once you receive it until the medication wears off.
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