Pregnancy Information Center

Information, Symptoms, Treatments and Resources


Your Third Trimester - Week 39


Week 39


What's Happening To Your Body

Braxton Hicks contractions may become more pronounced during this time. These contractions are often painful but do not become regular, which differentiates them from labor contractions.

You may lose the mucous plug at any time now. Losing your mucous plug, also called bloody show, can happen a few weeks, days or even hours before labor starts. The plug, which is thick, yellowish and may be tinged with blood, has sealed off your uterus to outside germs and objects, protecting your baby from infection. As the cervix dilates in preparation for the labor, the plug is discharged from the body.

A sign of labor is when your amniotic sac ruptures. This is referred to as your “water breaking.” This can be a large gush of water or a steady trickle. For many women, their water doesn’t break until they're well into labor; others need to have their water broken by their healthcare provider to start or speed up labor. Call your doctor if you think your water has broken. He or she will tell you if you should head to the hospital now.


What's Happening To Your Baby

Your baby is the size of a mini watermelon. Your baby now measures approximately 20 inches long (50.8 cm) long from head to heel and weighs about 7.25 pounds (3.3 kg).

Most of the vernix and the lanugo that has covered your baby has disappeared. Your baby will swallow its lanugo, along with shed dead skin cells and shed intestinal cells, and store them in its bowels. These will be part of your baby’s first bowel movement, which may have already happened in utero..

Your baby has a steady supply of antibodies from the placenta that will help it fight off infections for the first few months after birth. Your colostrum (early breastmilk) is also rich in antibodies and breastfeeding will continue to boost your baby’s immunity as well as provide it with essential nutrients.

Your baby will also continue to gain weight, although at a slower pace. Movements will begin to slow as it doesn’t have much room to move around.

Pregnancy hormones produced by your body may cause your baby’s genitalia to appear enlarged after birth. This will return to normal shortly after birth when your baby is no longer attached to your blood supply. These same hormones may even cause your baby — whether it is a girl or boy — to excrete milk through its nipples. This is also completely normal and will go away within a few days of birth.

Read This Next: Week 40

In Case You Missed It: Week 38

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