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39 weeks pregnant - all you need to know

Your baby is now the size of mini watermelon - and you’re probably feeling a bit like a whale. Hang on in there - you’ll soon be meeting your baby.

39 weeks infographic.

What does my baby look like in week 39?

Meconium is the word for your baby’s first poo. It is sticky and very dark green. Your baby now has meconium in their gut.

If your baby poos during labour, there will be meconium in the amniotic fluid. If this happens your midwife will monitor you and your baby very closely.

If you’re expecting a boy, he may be born with rather larger, swollen testicles - this is just due to hormones in your body and they’ll soon settle down.

Your pregnancy symptoms in week 39

A ‘show’

During pregnancy your womb is protected from infection by a plug of mucus on the cervix. A ‘show’ is the word describing this when it comes away and you see it on your underpants. It looks like a small amount of mucus mixed with blood. This can happen in early labour or before your labour begins, and it is a sign that your body is getting ready for labour.

Read about 4 ways your body gets ready for labour.

Braxton Hicks contractions

Braxton Hicks contractions can be quite powerful towards the end of your pregnancy and it’s easy to mistake them for labour contractions.

You have them because the muscles of your womb tighten and you may notice that your tummy becomes hard for a short period, then softens again. These should not cause pain.

If your tummy remains constantly hard or the tightenings become regular and painful, contact your midwife or labour ward for advice.

Actions to take

Being healthy in the last weeks of pregnancy

Carry on eating a healthy diet. You may need around 200 extra calories a day during the last part of your pregnancy but you also might feel more comfortable if you eat little and often.

Keep up with your pelvic floor exercises, too. Toning up your pelvic floor muscles will benefit you during labour and birth as well as after your baby is born.

Sleeping safely for your baby

When you reach your third trimester, the advice is to go to sleep on your side because research has shown that going to sleep on your back is linked to an increased risk of stillbirth. This advice includes daytime napping and night sleeping. Read more about safe sleep positions in pregnancy.

Labour and birth: things to think about

  • Give your partner, family or friends a list of emergency contacts.
  • Keep the phone numbers of reliable taxi firms to hand or have someone on standby with a car (and petrol) to take you to the hospital when the time comes.
  • Take your hospital notes with you wherever you go, just in case - even to the supermarket!
  • Make sure your hospital bags are packed and easy to grab at short notice.

Can anything really help start labour?

Raspberry leaf tea. Sex. Nipple stimulation. You’ve probably heard them all before - but is there really any way to help bring on labour?

“I was very stressed towards the end of my pregnancy, so I decided to try acupuncture. I can't prove that it was this that set off labour, but it certainly helped me to de-stress.” Vicky, mum of two

Ask your midwife for more information about complementary therapies in pregnancy and labour.

Take a look at what you need for your newborn baby.

Sources

NHS Choices. You and your baby at 37–40 weeks pregnant. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-weeks-37-38-39-40.aspx (Page last reviewed: 31/03/2017 Next review due: 31/03/2020).

Macdonald S, Magill-Cuerden J (2012) Mayes’ Midwifery, 14th edition, London, Ballière Tindall

Heazell AEP, Li M et al (2017) Association between maternal sleep practices and late stillbirth – findings from a stillbirth case-control study. BJOG 2017; https://doi.org/10.1111/1471-0528.14967.

Stacey T, Thompson JM et al (2011) Association between maternal sleep practices and risk of late stillbirth: a case-control study. BMJ. 2011 Jun 14;342:d3403. doi: 10.1136/bmj.d3403.

Gordon A1, Raynes-Greenow C et al (2015) Sleep position, fetal growth restriction, and late-pregnancy stillbirth: the Sydney stillbirth study. Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Feb;125(2):347-55. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000000627.

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Last reviewed on June 28th, 2018. Next review date June 28th, 2021.

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Comments

  • By Rachael (not verified) on 7 Feb 2019 - 13:49

    Hi I'm 39weeks today and av been experiencing lower abdominal pain like mensural cramp but more painful and each time it occurs my stomach gets hard.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 7 Feb 2019 - 15:52

    Hi - Lower abdominal pain can often be sign of early labour. Keep an eye on how often they are happening and contact your maternity unit if they become regular and painful.

  • By maurine wekesa (not verified) on 4 Feb 2019 - 10:12

    Iam 39 weeks pregnant iam having abdominal pain that comes and goes should I worry

  • By Agnes (not verified) on 20 Jan 2019 - 06:41

    I have pain like menstral at 39 weeks

  • By Joyce (not verified) on 14 Jan 2019 - 17:05

    I am 39 weeks pregnant and I find it very difficult to sleep at night..last night I had cramps like mestruration pains i don't no if I should be concerned

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Jan 2019 - 11:17

    Hi Joyce. We always advise, that any abdominal pain, at any gestation of pregnancy, needs to be reviewed. At 39 weeks, its possible that your body is warming up to get into labour, but you need to go to your local maternity unit with your pregnancy notes for this to be reviewed before this conclusion can be drawn. So please be seen as soon as you can. All the best, Tommy's Midwife

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 7 Jan 2019 - 01:35

    Hi, my feet have started to swell and I can feel the swelling going up to my legs. I had my baby at 39 weeks via C section due to baby being breech. All my reports are normal in terms of blood pressure etc and I’ve had a very normal pregnancy too and haven’t had any swelling throughout. Today is 4 days post delivery. Would this swelling be something serious or just a lack of circulation due to being on bed rest?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 7 Jan 2019 - 15:56

    Hi, Yes this may be linked to bed rest. We do advise women to be up and about and walk around the house during the day. Nothing energetic, but to keep the circulation moving. However, at day 4 you are under the care of the community midwife and if you have concerns you should be seen and examined. Please don't hesitate to give them a call.

  • By Sarah (not verified) on 31 Dec 2018 - 04:19

    Hi,
    Just over 39 weeks and discharge has become more frequent. Thought it may have been the mucus plug however it only looked like normal discharge.
    Is increasing amount of discharge normal?
    Am feeling more Braxton Hicks too and had a very slight period pain front left side last night but disappeared.
    Hoping all normal signs for preparing for labour

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 9 Jan 2019 - 15:41

    Hi Sarah
    You have probably had the baby by now. Yes, an increase in discharge is normal, as long as there is no itching, discomfort or unusual smell to it.
    If any of these are present and you have not yet had the baby, then please go in for review. All the best, Tommy's Midwife

  • By Veli (not verified) on 14 Dec 2018 - 13:28

    Hi
    I'm 39 weeks and my baby's head is still high.
    I haven't see and form of discharge as yet.
    I'm really confuse.
    This is my 3rd child.
    My first one was normal delivery
    2nd one I went though induction.
    Now the 3rd one I really want to have a normal delivery. I hate going through induction.
    I really don't want to go to CS also.
    Do I have any change of having a normal delivery?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 17 Dec 2018 - 16:53

    Hi Please don't worry. In a 3rd baby this is normal and the head will engage when you go into labour. As long as the baby is in a good position we do not worry about the decent. Best wishes to you from Tommy's midwives

  • By Richie (not verified) on 10 Dec 2018 - 16:50

    For couples of week now I have been having constant contractions which go on and off though not too painful sometimes it comes with mestrual pain like but I'm yet to see the mucus plug nor water break. Baby head is down and I feel the pressure on my pelvic. Secondly, i am having itching on my tummy which makes my belly to have stretch mark all over. Please is the itching normal?. My last scan fetal weight was 3702 pls I couldn't interpreted that. Could that mean 3.7 or what? Thanks

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Dec 2018 - 14:23

    Hi Richie, Thank you for your comment.

    It can be very common for you to experience practice contractions throughout and towards the end of pregnancy. It will be your body getting ready for labour. With regards to the itching, if you feel that this is getting worse or it has started on your hands and feet as well then please call your antenatal day unit so that you can be seen. Itching in pregnancy can be linked to the condition Cholestasis that causes itching in pregnancy and other medical issues. If you have any concerns about your baby's movements then again please call the hospital. With regards to the fetal weight 3702g is interpreted at 3.702 Kg. Hope this helps, Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Sasha (not verified) on 31 Oct 2018 - 10:15

    I’m 39+2. With my first child, yesterday my mucus plug showed but without blood or any brown. It was just yellow and jelly like thick.
    Tightening in stomach on and off, no lower back pains. Just back pains from the top. Leg muscles hurt I’m my thighs and arms and hands are aching and very warm. I just want my baby here now. What can I do to bring on labour?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 5 Nov 2018 - 11:40

    Hi Sasha
    It sounds like your body is warming up to go into labour. Try visiting our page on this - see below
    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/labour-birth/labour-and-birth-faqs/can-anything-bring-labour
    All the best, Tommy's Midwife

  • By Cate (not verified) on 26 Nov 2018 - 11:36

    I have diarrhoea and my due date is 5 december what can i do for diarrhoea to stop

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 26 Nov 2018 - 11:54

    Hi, Just make sure that you are drinking plenty of water and washing your hands after using the toilet. If it goes on for more than 48 hours or if you are becoming increasingly dehydrated or unwell please call your GP orl your DAU (Day Assessment Unit) for advice. This link may help https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/symptom-checker/diarrhoea-and-vomiting-pregnancy

  • By Laura Hughes (not verified) on 15 Sep 2018 - 08:48

    Hi

    I'm 38 weeks 5 day i've had a little show, back ache and twinges that suddenly stopped. I've woke up this morning to feel the baby seems to have moved position and not feeling a lot of movement at all. If anyone has any advice or the same in previous pregnancy

    Thanks

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 17 Sep 2018 - 10:50

    Hi Laura, If you have concerns about the movements please don't hesitate. Your hospital is open 24 hours a day and they will see you at any time. It is likely that all is well but it is worth that extra reassurance if you have any worries. Take care x

  • By Jessica (not verified) on 8 Sep 2018 - 20:19

    I feel like menstrual cramp and my back is slightly painful.. and im having discharge. Is it normal?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Sep 2018 - 10:43

    Hi Jessica
    It's very normal to start to feel some period type pains and back ache at this stage-you may be going into early labour. Your discharge can increase as well. Please contact your maternity unit if you think your waters have broken, you notice bleeding, regular painful contractions, the baby's movements are less than normal, you have headaches, blurred vision,severe abdominal pain,itching or any other concerns.
    The attached link has more information for you-

    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/labour-birth/symptoms-labour

    Take care

  • By Nishat Moazzama (not verified) on 8 Sep 2018 - 18:42

    Hi!
    I am 39 weeks of pregnant.
    Dr.said my delivery date accordingly scan 18th September.
    My lmp date is 16th December 2017.
    I felt little bit of pressure and pain at night.
    These pressure was not continues its randomly changes its speed.
    I eagerly waiting for my labour pain.
    And do pray everyday to give birth in normal baby.
    Plz tell me..
    Is is normal?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Sep 2018 - 10:35

    Hi Nishat
    It sounds like your body is preparing to go into labour-it's very common and normal to feel pressure and pains at night. However if you start to have regular painful contractions which do not go away, if your waters break, you have bleeding, the baby is moving less or you have other concerns such as headaches,blurred vision, severe stomach pains or itching then you should contact your maternity unit straight away for advice.
    The following link has more information for you about signs of labour-
    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/labour-birth/symptoms-labour

    Take care
    Tommy's Midwife

  • By MO (not verified) on 6 Sep 2018 - 22:36

    Hello there. I am 38weeks and 5 days. And I am already tired of being pregnant, can't wait to meet her. I feel pains almost every night when her movements become so intense. I feel the sensation in my vagina. Braxton hicks are frequent as well. How do I ease the pain or discomfort when her movements get intense?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 11 Sep 2018 - 16:19

    The last few weeks of pregnancy can be very uncomfortable but you will meet your baby very soon! Try to keep active and moving around as this can help with discomfort-you may have to experiment to try and find a comfortable position when she is moving. perhaps a warm shower or bath may help too
    I have attached some links with more information to help you-
    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/labour-birth/4-ways-your-body-gets-ready-labour
    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/labour-signs-what-happens/

    Please contact your maternity unit immediately if you are worried about her movements, your waters break, there is bleeding, labour starts, you have severe headaches, blurred vision, severe abdominal pain, itching or any other concerns

    Take care
    Tommy's Midwife

  • By Nancy (not verified) on 28 Aug 2018 - 09:34

    Am 39 weeks and I have not experienced any changes yet, am so tired of the stress, not able to sleep, feeling tired and week, baby is still active but most times I feel pains close to my vagina when the baby is kicking. What can I do to make labor start?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 29 Aug 2018 - 16:35

    Hi Nancy
    Baby will soon be here. I have posted a link below for you to have a look at ways to try to naturally induce labour - they are all worth a go! https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/labour-birth/labour-and-birth-faqs/can-anything-bring-labour
    But if the pains in your vagina have continued, then i would like you to go into hospital asap to be reviewed by a midwife and obstetric doctor.
    All the best- Tommy's Midwife

  • By Enra (not verified) on 11 Aug 2018 - 13:22

    Im 39/2 days, my OB observe something from my discharge when she check f how much was i dilated...And she gave me antibiotic.. just the day after i took the antibiotic, i had boil in my labia majora now it's kinda big, painful and itchy.
    I wonder, wat is this? im s scared will be taking another antibiotic again.. pls help ma

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 14 Aug 2018 - 12:30

    Hi Enra,
    sorry to hear this it must be sore. The boil may be related to the discharge but you need to complete the course of antibiotics and contact your OB for advice.
    Best of luck with your birth
    Anna-Tommy's Midwife

  • By Joyce (not verified) on 5 Jul 2018 - 07:01

    Hi i am 39 weeks but nothing has happened should I be worried as this is my first born, i am so tired and I can't wait to meet the baby, i am going to deliver normal

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 5 Jul 2018 - 15:02

    Hi Joyce, Thank you for your comment.
    It can be challenging in the later stages of pregnancy, especially as it has been so warm recently. Please feel reassured that it is very normal for baby's to be born at anytime and it is not uncommon for them to show no signs of being born at 39 weeks. If you have had a normal, low risk pregnancy then there is nothing to suggest that you wont have a normal birth. As you are so near to the end of your pregnancy, keep an eye on your babies movements, if you are concerned at all then please contact your local maternity unit for further advice and reassurance. We hope that everything goes well with your labour and that you meet your baby very soon. Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Nuwo (not verified) on 13 Dec 2018 - 11:51

    I am 39weeks and nothing has happened yet,should I worried or not

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 14 Dec 2018 - 15:43

    Hi Nuwo,
    Not at all, it is very normal to go to and beyond your due date. Induction of labour is usually offered about 10-14 days after your due date. In the meantime keep an eye on your baby's movements, if they reduced at all then go straight to the maternity unit.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Nesha08 (not verified) on 21 Jun 2018 - 15:27

    I'm 39 weeks today and 3 centimeters dilated, what's the hold up lol...

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Jun 2018 - 15:23

    Hi Nesha08,
    Oh goodness! Nearly there! Little one will come when good and ready, good luck and fingers crossed it will be soon!
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By An on (not verified) on 31 May 2018 - 20:05

    I'm 39 weeks pregnant n my due date has passed I'm worried pliz help me

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 1 Jun 2018 - 12:01

    Hi An,
    Your due date will be at 40 weeks of pregnancy, but please do not worry if your due day has passed. You should have an appointment with your midwife to discuss your options and booking in for an induction. If you do not have anything booked then just call to arrange this. In the meantime if you have any concerns then do contact your maternity unit. It is also important to monitor your baby's movements, again if you notice any changes then call your maternity unit straight away.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Lisa (not verified) on 9 May 2018 - 14:38

    I am 39 weeks gone and am feeling uncomfortable my tummy hurts no sign of contraction yet wat now?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 10 May 2018 - 15:38

    Hi Lisa
    Abdominal pain, at any gestation needs to be reviewed at your local maternity units labour ward/pregnancy triage. You could be experiencing early onset labour, but to be sure, you should get checked over by a midwife/doctor.
    Please take yourself in if you have not already done so - and don't forget your notes.
    All the best
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • By Zoe Daly (not verified) on 29 Apr 2018 - 19:40

    I'm 39+2 and I keep getting tightenings, and weeing all the time. She's moving around as normal though, but Im very uncomfortable now. Just want her in my arms now.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 30 Apr 2018 - 16:33

    You are nearly there Zoe. Tightenings at this stage is normal. Are you completely sure that you are weeing and your waters haven't broken? Just check by putting a pad on and if concerned talk to your midwife.

  • By Keeley (not verified) on 8 Apr 2018 - 18:16

    I have no signs yet... but i keep getting alot if musus stuff coming out everyday... i do get pains on n of .. n back pain is very painful ..am fed up now feel like he will late... :/

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 10 Apr 2018 - 10:10

    Hi Keeley
    It sounds like your mucous plus has gone, which is a sign that your body is trying to prepare you for labour and birth. Getting pains (Braxton hicks contractions) come and go is also very common and your body's way of practicing for the "big event". If you have not already seen a midwife in the last couple of days since sending this message, then please do call your maternity unit to let them know that you are going into the early phases of labour so they can advise you about where to go/what to do etc. Feel free to call us on 0800 0147800 if you wish to discuss your symptoms in more detail.
    All the best
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • By Lawry (not verified) on 25 Jan 2018 - 23:26

    I am pregnant but always have my EDD changed after every ultrasound scan. my first scan say 8th of February and my second 28th if January. am confused about which one to believe

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 26 Jan 2018 - 11:33

    Hi,
    The EDD that should be used throughout your pregnancy will be the one from your original dating scan which you should have had when you were between 11 and 14 weeks of pregnancy, as this is the most accurate time to date a pregnancy. If you did not have a scan at this time for any reason, then it will be the scan nearest to this time. I hope this helps, and good luck you are nearly there! Take care, Tommy's midwives.

  • By Iram (not verified) on 25 Jan 2018 - 05:44

    I am 38 week pregnant now. Had a biophysical profile 2 days ago and got a score of 10/10. It's my first baby and in Cephalic position. my iron levels are low and I am on fefolvit. Problem is very less fetal movements even now and the whole pregnancy. Everytime the ultrasound for baby was Okey. I don't know what to do as less fetal movement make me scared. Please guide me

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 25 Jan 2018 - 11:40

    Hi, Thank you for your comment.

    If you feel that your baby's movements have changed or decreased then you need to call your local maternity unit where you are going to have your baby as soon as you can. They will check you over and monitor baby to make sure all is well. We would advise that you do this as soon as you can as you didn't say how long you have been experiencing reduced movements. The number for the hospital should be on the front of your maternity notes.
    Hope this helps, take care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By tshidi (not verified) on 23 Dec 2017 - 18:28

    hi I'm 39 weeks my baby movement is slowly an I start panicking coz he usually kicks so much bt these days its bt happening

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Jan 2018 - 10:52

    Hi Tshidi, I am sure that you have had your baby by now, but any reduction in movements need to be reviewed at your local hospital, urgently.
    Please take good care of yourself!
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

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