39 Weeks Pregnant
By now, you are probably feeling quite large and uncomfortable. Your center of gravity has shifted, which means that you may be clumsier than ever toward the end of your pregnancy.
Other changes you may be noticing around the time you are 39 weeks pregnant include:
- Hemorrhoids (see Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy)
- Bladder pressure
- Increased urination
- Difficulty sleeping
- Varicose veins
- Itchy belly
- Heartburn or ingestion
- Swelling, especially of the ankles, fingers, and face
- Pelvic pain (due to baby pushing down through it)
- Leg cramps while sleeping
- Tender, swollen breasts
- Braxton Hicks contractions.
You should be watching for signs of labor during week 39 of pregnancy. Labor can happen soon, or it may still be weeks away. False labor contractions, which may be as painful and as strong as labor contractions, may begin this week. False labor contractions can get better if you change positions.
Depending on how dilated or effaced (cervical thinning) your healthcare provider says you are, you may have a better idea of how close you are to labor. However, when real labor contractions begin, you will find that you cannot walk or talk through them. Real labor contractions start at the top of your uterus and spread over the entire uterus, through your lower back, and into the pelvis. Real labor will become stronger and more painful and won't be alleviated by changing position.
(Click 38 Weeks Pregnant or Signs of Labor for more information about labor signs. You can also learn about signs of prelabor by clicking on Prelabor Signs.)
Another sign of prelabor (or labor) is the rupture of the amniotic sac, which could happen any day now. Some women experience a large gush of water; other women only feel a steady trickle when their water breaks. If you think your water has broken, or if you are experiencing regular contractions, you should call your healthcare provider immediately. Only 10 percent of women actually have their water break on its own.
As you progress toward the end of your pregnancy, you will have weekly checkups with your healthcare provider. If the healthcare provider finds that your body is not progressing toward labor, he or she may choose to "strip your membranes." This is a quick, in-office procedure that may help "get things going."
As the birth of your baby gets closer, you and your doctor will discuss what kind of delivery you will have. Some women need to have a cesarean section (C-section), in which a surgical incision is made in the abdomen and uterus to remove the baby. If you are able to plan on a non-surgical, vaginal birth, you may want to have your baby naturally, without medications