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Pregnancy 39 Weeks

By the 39th week of pregnancy, most expectant mothers are uncomfortable and anxious for their baby to arrive. Many OB/GYN’s will begin to think about induction at this point if the mother is interested and if there are any medical concerns for either the mother or unborn baby.

Fetal Development

During the 39th week of pregnancy, an unborn baby will lose most of it’s lanugo, or the fine hair that covers the body of an unborn baby. Babies born at 39 weeks are fully developed and generally healthy. A doctor would not prevent labor unless there were other medical concerns if it began at this point.

Fetal Growth

An average baby is about 7 pounds by the 39th week of pregnancy. The size of a baby can vary based on many factors including, genetics, fetal growth rate and having an accurate estimated due date. Many doctors will consider an induction if a baby appears to be too large or too small.

Considering Induction

39 weeks is the earliest most doctors will consider for an elective induction. Many expectant mothers like having their birth planned and controlled while others prefer to allow their body to go into labor on it’s own. Certain medical concerns may make an induction necessary for the health of both mother and baby including, preeclampsia, slow fetal growth, or fetal distress. In cases where the baby is breach, many doctors will try and rotate the baby and then perform an induction immediately afterward.

Signs of Labor

First time mothers are especially anxious at the end of pregnancy and look for any signs that labor is beginning. Labor often begins as mild cramping that gets stronger over time. Some expectant mothers experience the loss of their mucous plug, which looks like a thick piece of mucous, but this does not indicate that labor is imminent. Expectant mothers who experience their water breaking have a clear sign that labor is beginning, but many mothers do not have their water break until just before the baby’s birth. Call your doctor when contractions get stronger and closer together. Most OBGYN’s prefer that an expectant mother remains home until her contractions are about five minutes apart.

Maternal Changes

An expectant mother is often uncomfortable by the 39th week of pregnancy and may be experiencing difficulty sleeping, hemorrhoids, constipation and heartburn. At the end of pregnancy, many mothers receive some relief as the baby drops and allows more room for the lungs to expand and puts less pressure on the stomach.

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