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Week 39

How Big is the Baby at 39 Weeks Pregnant?

By pregnancy week 39 your baby now probably weighs between 7 and 7 and a half pounds, and is likely between 21 and 21 and a half inches long during pregnancy 39 weeks!

Your Baby's Growth and Development

During week 39 it is common to have early signs of labor. During labor and delivery your baby's heart rate may be monitored. Fetal heart rate monitoring helps your healthcare team evaluate your baby during labor to make sure that everything is going as planned. If any problems arise they can be detected and hopefully adjusted for early on in labor.

Typically when your uterus contracts the oxygenated blood flow to your placenta is restricted. Because this is a natural process it will not be a problem for most babies. However, in some cases this can result in fetal distress. Fortunately a fetal monitor will be able to assess whether or not your baby is stressed.

Your healthcare provider can monitor your baby's heartbeat either through external fetal monitoring or internal fetal monitoring. External fetal monitoring can be used any time during labor. A belt with a receiver can be strapped onto your abdomen. It works much like ultrasound does in detecting a fetal heart rate, providing a little feedback strip that tracks your baby's heart rate during and in between contractions.

An internal fetal monitor may be used to assess your baby's heart rate as well. To do this an electrode would be placed on your baby's scalp inside the body. You need to be dilated at least 1 cm and your membranes must have ruptured in order to use this type of monitoring.

Your Growth and Development

You are probably starting to wonder what your baby looks like during pregnancy at 39 weeks if you haven't already. Since your belly isn't changing much at 39 weeks pregnant why not dwell on your newborn baby's looks! Will he look like you or your partner? Perhaps your baby will take on traits of your ancestors, resembling neither of you too closely!

One thing you will notice when your baby is born is that newborns look strange! Some people might say that is being nice, but there are those of us that truly believe the site of all newborns is simply beautiful.

Newborn babies of all types share several common features and characteristics. They typically have big heads, short or no necks, and distended abdomens. Most are born with a misshapen head that resembles a cone head, particularly if you were in labor for an extended period of time. Your baby's head will have soft spots called fontanels, which are openings in the skull that allow your baby's bones to compress during delivery. This is necessary for your baby's head to fit through the birth canal. Cute huh?
When your baby is born you may notice his genitals and breasts are swollen. This is due to a higher than normal dose of female hormones transferred from you to the baby right before delivery. Fortunately these 'irregularities' will disappear in the days following delivery.

Your baby's skin may be smooth as a baby's bottom, or you may find that your baby is born with acne or other red spots. This is perfectly normal. Some babies are born with a condition called pustular melanosis, which is little pus filled bumps on the skin.

Other babies are born with birthmarks. There are several different types of birthmarks. The more common include angel kisses and stork bites. Birthmarks may not show up immediately, but sometimes grow during the first few weeks of life. Others get smaller as your baby gets older.
Some baby's are born with red and blond hair even when both parents are dark haired. Keep in mind that regardless of your newborns hair color, there is a relatively good chance your baby's hair will change colors once or twice as they are growing. It isn't uncommon for a baby born blond to turn into a brunette.

Fortunately your baby's skin will start to clear up in a few weeks. You probably won't have to worry about acne or pimples again until the teenage years!

Changes in You

It's almost time to deliver at pregnancy 39 weeks! You have continued your pregnancy week by week and now you feel ready! Or, at 39 weeks pregnancy you may be feeling worried, anxious, excited and tired! Many women experience a variety of emotions after delivery. The more you are informed the better equipped you will be to handle them.

Once you deliver your baby your hormones will drop suddenly. This typically results in some postpartum distress. More than 80 percent of women in fact will report feeling some form of the blues immediately after birth.

Remember that this is normal, and should subside in a short period of time. Earlier in our weeklies we mentioned postpartum depression. This is a more serious form of the blues that is worth mentioning again. If after the delivery of your baby you start noticing excessive anxiety, crying for no apparent reason, irritability, depression, low self esteem or lack of feelings or even harmful feelings toward your baby that don't go away, be sure to report them to your healthcare provider immediately. Postpartum depression is a serious issue, but it can usually be resolved with treatment. Feelings of anger, confusion, panic or hopelessness are more than just the blues.

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