Pregnancy week by week

Baby

Toddler

Week 39 of Pregnancy


You are just a week away from your due date. From now on you can go into labour any day. Listen to your body and watch out for signs of labour. You will probably be feeling huge, clumsy and uncomfortable.  It’s natural to be worried about what is to come. You must be feeling restless to meet your baby and probably thinking what he or she will look like. However, there is not much you can do in these last few weeks but to wait. Discuss your feelings and anxiety with your family. Prepare yourself for the coming days by reading as much about signs of labour, breastfeeding and first few weeks with the baby. Make sure you do not start to panic each time you feel a twitch. Remember the differences between false and real labour discussed earlier. False labour causes pain in the lower abdomen, while true labour most often starts with pain in lower back and radiates around the abdomen. False contractions are irregular and subside when changing positions, while real contractions persist no matter what you are doing. However, watch the time if experiencing contractions because if they start to occur at regular intervals and getting more intense, they most likely signal real labour.  Also, pay attention to your water breaking and vaginal passage of mucus plug.



Your body



You will most probably be seeing your doctor every week from now on. Your doctor will examine you to determine baby’s position and heart rate. Around this week, your cervix will start preparing for labour. It will begin to soften and dilate.  You may notice more and more vaginal discharge as you get closer to your due date. You will continue to be bugged with the pregnancy discomforts like heartburn, Braxton Hicks contractions, breast tenderness, cramps in the legs, swelling of ankles and fingers, constipation, haemorrhoids, fatigue, insomnia, frequent urination and decreased appetite. You may feel a bit clumsy, so you need to be careful while moving around, so you don’t trip or fall. If you feel the baby’s movements have reduced, it is normal as there is not much space to move around. However, in case you do not feel any movement for about an hour or so, it is important to see your doctor. Good news is that you won’t be putting on much weight from here on! Get your hospital bag ready. See our hospital checklist to see if you have everything ready. Watch out for signs of labour.

As soon as you start experiencing contractions, you should start timing them and if the pains do not increase in strength and are irregular then they should be considered false labour pains. Actual labour pains are when the contractions come at regular intervals and tend to increase in strength as the labour progresses. If you start having contractions that are five minutes apart, speak to your doctor.



Your baby

Your baby is now full term. Your baby will continue to put on weight and accumulate fat stores that are necessary to regulate body temperature after birth. Your baby will now start moving into the birth position. The head points down towards the birth canal while the arms and legs are pulled close to the chest. Your baby will be spending most of its time sleeping but its body responses, reflexes, and activity patterns are established by now. His toenails and finger nails now cover the tips of the toes and the fingers.


Remember

Are you fed with being pregnant? There are lots of things you can do to keep yourself busy rather than sit around twiddling your thumbs.

You can sort your baby’s clothes, for instance, like what your baby will need in the first few days after coming home. Make a shortlist of baby names. Reorganise your wardrobe into different size clothes, as you won’t be getting much time once your baby arrives. Go out for dinner or a movie! Get your hair done or get a facial, as again, you won’t be getting any time later. Or you can chat with other mums about how they knew labour was starting by visiting our new moms forum.



FAQs


1) What will happen when my waters break?

Breaking waters are widely associated with the start of labour and giving birth. It is one of the key signs that the labour is on its way. Your unborn baby is protected inside your uterus by the amniotic sac. When the membranes break, the amniotic fluid gushes out and this is referred to as waters breaking. For some women, this may be the first sign that labour is starting. For others, this doesn’t happen until they are fully dilated. Some women may find that their amniotic fluid doesn’t not gush out, but instead trickle out. In such cases, it can easily be confused with leakage of urine which is a common symptom during late pregnancy.

Once your waters break, it is important that you see your doctor as soon as possible, even if no contractions have started. Your labour may start soon or you may find yourself waiting another 48 hours before contractions begin. Your doctor may ask you to describe the colour of the fluid. Usually, amniotic fluid is clear with the hint of yellow or pink, but sometimes the fluid may have hints of brown and green. This indicates that your baby may be in distress and needs to be monitored closely or delivered urgently. If in doubt, use a sanitary pad so that your doctor can analyse the look and clour of the fluid and decide the next course of action.


2) Can I eat and drink during labour?

If you have a low risk pregnancy and a normal labour, you can eat and drink anything. Try to eat healthy snacks like banana or a light sandwich. However, labour can bring unpleasant side effects like nausea and vomiting, so eat something light. And if you are getting an epidural then you will have to stick to liquids.



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