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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.


NHS Choices. You and your baby at 37–40 weeks pregnant. (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;

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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  • 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
    All the best, Tommy's Midwife

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


    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


  • 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-

    Take care

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

    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-

    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-

    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!
    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 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 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

    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

  • By noor (not verified) on 6 Dec 2017 - 15:34

    i am 39 weeks pregnant but still no contractions today i visit my doctor and she said wait for 5 days .. if labor will not start then have an ceasarean on 12 december... my EDD is 13 december ... i am confused that what should i do ... wait for 2 to 3 weeks or ceasarean ????

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 6 Dec 2017 - 16:27

    Hi Noor, congratulations on your pregnancy!
    Your baby can arrive anytime from 37 weeks onwards.
    Unless there is a specific reason/medical condition that you have been booked for a ceasearean, then you do not need to have one. Most women are able to wait until they are 41+5 before they need an induction of labour- this can be booked at your 40 week appointment by your midwife.
    It is quite alot to explain via webpage msg, so please call us on 0800 0147800 if you wish to discuss this in more detail.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 7 Dec 2017 - 03:09

    is there any possibility to start on labor by external source ??? i never ever want to have an ceasarean ....

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 7 Dec 2017 - 13:47

    Hi, Thank you for your comment.

    Only around 5% of babies will be born on their due date. If you have a low risk pregnancy with no complications then there is no reason why you would expect to have a caesarean. If you are at the end of your pregnancy, it is good to keep as mobile as you can, maintain a healthy diet and rest well when you need too. Labour will start when it needs to, but sometimes you can go overdue and you may be offered an induction of labour but your midwife will speak to you about this. Please keep an eye on your baby's movements and if you do have any concerns then please contact your local maternity unit. Hope this helps, Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By mercy .40 weeks (not verified) on 16 Sep 2017 - 04:51

    I have woken up felt as if there something coming out my panti wet wat could it be ,not a lot .

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 18 Sep 2017 - 11:54

    Thank you for your comment. If you are worried about your waters leaking it is essential that you seek medical advice asap - please call your local maternity unit so that you can be seen by a doctor or midwife asap.

  • By Priya (not verified) on 12 Sep 2017 - 04:06

    Am now 39 weeks,but my baby Head not yet comeq down.please give me some suggestions

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Sep 2017 - 12:13

    Dear Priya,

    Thank you for your post. You don't mention if this is your first baby or if you have had babies before. Is the baby in a head down position or is your baby in a breech position- where his/her bottom is in the pelvis?
    Please get back in contact about this and I will answer your question as best as I can.
    Warmest regards
    Anna-Tommy's Midwives

  • By Jay (not verified) on 29 May 2017 - 14:07

    Feels like my tummy shrink at 38 weeks pregnant but baby still quite active

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 31 May 2017 - 10:55

    Hi Jay, if you are concerned about the growth of your baby, then it is vital that you urgently visit your local day assessment unit/triage/labour ward. Sometimes when your waters break, your tummy can really change shape, so it is certainly worth going in to be checked over, even a hindwater leak of fluid can cause a "shrinking" effect on your bump. Please take good care of yourself and get yourself seen by a midwife and obstetric doctor.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 2 May 2017 - 18:03

    My baby movement is so active than before hope my baby is not distress and i have pains on and off like period pain on my tummy. Am feeling really tired because I feel pains on my left hip.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 May 2017 - 09:23

    Hi there.
    If you are concerned about your baby's movements slowing down, then it is important that you take yourself into your local labour ward or triage unit to be reviewed by a midwife and obstetric doctor.
    Having on and off period like pains, could be a sign of the start of labour for you, your body getting ready with "practice contractions"
    It is common to feel tired in the third trimester of pregnancy - but please do also check with your midwife that your iron levels are within the normal range as extreme tiredness can be caused by low iron levels in your blood.
    Please take good care of yourself, it sounds like your baby will soon be here :)

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 26 Apr 2017 - 07:53

    Are there any tips or tricks to help ease this pelvic pressure and pain? Nothing seems to make it easier whether I'm walking, sitting or lying down.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 27 Apr 2017 - 10:34

    Hi, Sorry to hear you are uncomfortable with this pain. Have you talked to your midwife about it? If this is pelvic girdle pain we have some advice on our page:
    Your midwife may also be able to refer you to the physios for assessment and advice. Please don't suffer in silence. Best wishes.

  • By Zara (not verified) on 1 Apr 2017 - 21:08

    Hello I m 39 weeks pregnant n I have so much pain in my back sometime n front like periods pain I can't sleep all night coz of pain I don't know what's going on coz my other children born few days before their due date this time my feets lags hands r badly swelling n have pain I can't even walk or sit I don't know what to do ????

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Apr 2017 - 09:46

    Hi Zara, you are term from 37 weeks and your baby can be born anytime safely from then onwards. It sounds as if you could be going into labour and so you need to contact your local hospital labour ward/birth centre as a matter of urgency due to your abdominal pain as well as the swelling in your hands. Both of these need to be investigated by a midwife and possibly an obstetric doctor. Please don't forget to take your pregnancy notes in with you, as well as your bags in case they need to keep you in. Good luck! Take care of yourself and bump!

  • By Kate (not verified) on 24 Jan 2017 - 12:05

    I'm 39 week plus no contraction yet

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 24 Jan 2017 - 12:16

    Hi there.
    No contractions at 39+ weeks is normal, a term pregnancy is anytime between 37-42 weeks.
    If you notice any change or slowing of fetal movement they should be investigated by a midwife at your nearest maternity unit on the labour ward or triage. If you baby's movements are slowing down or have changed in their patterns, then this should be a reason to take yourself into hospital asap to be reviewed. Please take care of yourself.

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