• Nutrition

39th Week of Pregnancy

Embryo Development

Are These Contractions the Real Deal?

Baby's Growth and Development When You're 39 Weeks Pregnant

When you’re 39 weeks pregnant, your baby is making preparations for her arrival. Changes include:

  • The waxy vernix covering their skin and the fine hair called lanugo start to go away when you’re 39 weeks pregnant. Some vernix and lanugo might remain at birth.
  • Your baby gets antibodies from the placenta to protect against illness.
  • Your baby will also get more antibodies when you breastfeed them at birth.
  • Your baby probably weighs between 3.17 kilograms and 3.40 kilograms. But it’s normal for them to weigh anywhere from 2.72 to 4.08 kilograms.

Your Changing Body When You're 39 Weeks Pregnant

A pregnant couple sitting on a bed touching the stomach

When you’re 39 weeks pregnant, your body makes final preparations for your baby’s first meal.

  • Your breasts reach their full size. They might enlarge again after delivery until your milk comes in.
  • Your breasts might begin to leak a thick, yellowish milk. This is colostrum. It is packed with nutrients and antibodies to help give your baby a great start.
  • You might want to speak with a lactation consultant or attend a breastfeeding class before your baby arrives to prepare for their first meal.
  • You might gain little or no weight or even lose half or a full kilogram toward the end of your pregnancy.

You might begin contractions that stop and start. Contractions that continue signal labour. Learn more about contractions.

Wellness and Nutrition When You're 39 Weeks Pregnant

Three pregnant ladies sitting on yoga balls

In the final weeks of pregnancy, you can anticipate contractions. They might stop and start or continue at this point in your pregnancy. Either way, they signal your baby’s upcoming arrival!

Experiencing Contractions?

When you’re 39 weeks pregnant, these could be the real thing! Learn more about contractions so you can distinguish the real ones from the false ones.

  • Contractions occur when the uterus tightens and relaxes.
  • Some contractions are called Braxton-Hicks. These contractions are called false labour. They help your body practice for the real thing.
  • In most women, uterine contractions get closer together, become more intense, and last longer as you approach childbirth.
  • Sometimes contractions stop altogether.
  • You can time the contractions when they start. Call your Healthcare Professional when they occur closer together, intensify, or last longer.
  • During a contraction, you feel pressure and pain in your lower back and abdomen.
  • Your abdomen will tighten.
  • Between contractions, your abdomen and uterus will relax.
  • Contractions help your baby travel through the vagina.
  • Use a stopwatch or clock to time your contractions.

Exercises to Prepare for the Workout of Labour

A squatting position during labour efficiently can open your pelvic area, allowing your baby to descend and progress more quickly. But squatting can be especially tiring for muscles in your thighs. Here are a few simple exercises that can help you get ready:


  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Slowly lower into a squat position, keeping your back straight and heels flat on the floor. If heels tend to rise, widen your leg position.
  • Hold for 10 to 30 seconds with hands resting on your knees.
  • Slowly stand by pushing up from your knees with your arms.
  • Repeat five times.

Wall Sit:

  • Stand with your back against the wall and feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Carefully slide your back down the wall with your knees bent until you're in the sitting position (as if there were an invisible chair beneath you).
  • Rest hands on your thighs for balance.
  • Keep your knees/toes pointing forward.
  • Hold for a few seconds and slide back up.
  • Work up to 10 repetitions.

Plan Ahead for Mealtime

Before your baby arrives, try to plan ahead for nutritious meals after they arrive home.

  • If you can, cook and freeze a few simple meals that you quickly can reheat in the oven or microwave.
  • Stock up on nutritious foods and snacks to make mealtime easier with a newborn in the house.

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