Your baby is considered full term now that month 9 is drawing to a close! His birth weight is almost final now. Keep up with your pelvic floor exercises, too. Toning up your pelvic floor muscles will benefit you during labour so keep doing your prenatal yoga: butterfly pose, child’s pose and cat-and-cow sequence. You may be getting back pain as your baby moves down your pelvis and starts head butting your spine. You'll probably feel increased pressure at the bottom of your bump now. Here is an interesting piece of trivia: babies don't usually come out wailing. In fact, it could take a few seconds before they cry to clear their airways.
तस्मिन्नेकदिवसातिक्रान्तेऽपि नवमं मासमुपादाय प्रसवकालमित्याहुरादशमान्मासात। एतवान प्रसवकालः, वैकारिकमतः परं कुक्षाववस्थानं गर्भस्य ॥ (चरक शारीरस्थान)
Ayurveda says the intrauterine stay of the foetus after the end of 10th month is not normal.
Your Baby's Development
While your baby’s body isn’t growing this week, his brain is. It’s already 30 percent bigger than it was just four weeks ago. By week 39, your baby’s organs are fully formed and capable of functioning normally outside the womb. But, that doesn’t make these final days of pregnancy any less important. Along with the brain, the lungs are growing, too.
This final lap is important for the immune system to strengthen. During pregnancy, you pass antibodies to your baby to build their immune system and help them fight off illness and infection. While the baby has been receiving your antibodies from the placenta since week 13, the majority of the antibodies you pass to them during pregnancy transfer during the last few weeks.
Layer of fat
Don’t give up on a good diet and exercise to help the baby to form a layer of fat to help control his body temperature after birth, but it's likely that your baby already measures about 20 inches and weighs a bit over 7 pounds. (Boys tend to be slightly heavier than girls.)
While the movement for the baby is more restricted now, it is important to be continually attentive to your baby's movements. Let your doctor know right away if they seem to decrease. Your baby should remain active right up to delivery, and a noticeable slowdown in activity could be a sign of a problem.
Twists and Wriggles
A jab here and a poke there! Your baby’s coordination has improved and he’s less likely to make involuntary jabs and kicks. Sometimes, it may feel like he is doing it on purpose to annoy mamma!
Your Pregnancy Symptoms
Braxton Hicks contractions
Some women experience strong ones, some quite weak. It’s just your womb practicing. 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 doctor.
This is the thinning of the cervix. At 39 weeks, your baby moves further down. As the baby's head gradually inches closer and closer to your cervix, the pressure should help prepare your cervix to begin softening, shortening, and thinning out. This process is also called ripening or effacement.
While effacement is ‘thinning’, dilation is opening of the cervix. Your cervix must dilate from zero to 10 centimeters before your baby can be born. At 1 cm dilated, the cervical opening is approximately the width of your index finger. When it gets to 10 cm, with the help of contractions during active labor, it will be about the width of a burger bun. For some women, effacement and dilation come on slowly and steadily over weeks. For others, it all happens rather quickly during labour.
Heartburn or indigestion
That burning feeling in your oesophagus may intensify. For now, limit triggers like spicy foods and caffeine and don't eat too much in one sitting. You will notice immediate relief after delivery.
In week 39, you might notice that your vaginal discharge is tinged with either pinkish or brownish blood as the blood vessels in the cervix rupture. It’s a sign that your cervix is dilating or opening up, and that’s a good thing.
It is possible that in this week your amniotic sac breaks and fluid trickles out. The important thing to note is that this doesn’t mean that labour will start immediately. Don’t panic or rush.
The baby’s head resting on the pelvis causes it. Other symptoms of discomfort could include menstrual-like cramps and indigestion, which can also be early signs of labour.
Hemorrhoids, also called piles, are swollen veins in your anus and lower rectum, similar to varicose veins. Try sitting in a tub of warm water. Add a pinch of turmeric and alum powder to that water. Practice contracting and releasing of the anal spinchter while sitting in the water. This will help to relax the local muscles and reduce pain and bleeding at the same time.
Your back aches could be worse now as you count down the final weeks. You can soothe a sore back by getting into the shower and allowing a gush of nicely warm water on your back. A warm oil (sesame oil) massage in a circular manner will help to reduce stiffness (vata dosha) and the pain. A hot water bag fomentation on the bag will also give you relief.
iMumz Wellness Tip
Managing pelvic pain
Here are some soothing Ayurveda suggestions!
Snehan - A warm oil massage (sesame oil) in a circular motion with gentle pressure. Sesame oil (til taila) is the ‘superior’ (shrestha) oil as per Ayurveda as it is nourishing and reduces vata dosha in the body. Other oils like Narayan taila, Mahanarayan taila, Dhanvantaram tailam are also very effective oils.
Swedan- Hot fomentation either with the drip of herbal decoction (parishek) or with a bundle of herb tied in a cotton cloth (pottali sweda). This will release the stiffness and reduce pain and inflammation in the pelvic region.
Your Pregnancy check-ups
You will have the usual measurements, checks, and discussions at this weekly visit, including:
- Weight check
- Blood pressure check
- Urine test
- Swelling check
- Fundal height measurement
- Listening to baby's heartbeat
- Checking the position of the baby
- Discussion of symptoms
- Cervical examination
Stripping the Membranes
At 39 weeks, your physician or midwife may offer to strip or sweep your membranes. They can do this procedure during the internal exam if the cervix has begun to dilate.
To strip the membranes, your doctor will use a gloved finger to gently separate the membranes that attach the amniotic sac to your uterine wall. This procedure can stimulate natural prostaglandins and get contractions started.
Your doctor might only consider this post-term (going past 40 weeks and your expected due date). You might experience some menstrual-kind of cramps and spotting after this, but it's normal.
Many mothers fear that the umbilical cord might wrap around the baby's neck, which is known as a nuchal cord. While it’s true that this is a common occurrence (present in 20% to 30% of births), it is not a threat in most cases.
Here are some questions that you can ask your doctor in your Week 39 visit:
- What should be my baby’s movement pattern per hour?
- If my baby is in a breech position, will an attempt be made to turn him into a head-down position?
- In what circumstances would labour need to be induced?
- What is an operative vaginal delivery?
- If you give birth vaginally, will labour and childbirth be in different rooms?
- Will my husband be allowed in the delivery room when you give birth?
- Is photography or videography allowed in the delivery room?
- What should you expect to happen in the first few hours after you give birth?
- Will skin-to-skin contact be allowed immediately after your baby is born?
- What are the visiting hours should people want to visit you and your newborn?
What should you eat in this week of pregnancy?
In this countdown to birth, constipation may be bothering you. In addition to staying hydrated, it helps to eat the right foods. Chia seeds are nutritious, and they are safe to consume while pregnant or breastfeeding and really helpful for bowel movement. Chia seeds is a superfood dense in nutrition and is a powerhouse for pregnant women. They are one of the richest plant based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which help in the development of the brain and nervous system of the baby and boost her immunity. Chia seeds are also rich in protein, with 2 tbsp seeds containing almost 6g of protein, which is needed for growing and repairing cells and tissues. Chia seeds are also a good source of Iron, which supports development of extra red blood cells which carry oxygen to other cells. During pregnancy the blood volume in the body increases by almost 50%, and Iron is one of the key nutrients required to support the healthy build up. Chia seeds also contain a good amount of Calcium (16% RDA in 2 tbsp) which helps in growth of baby's bones and also helps protect moms from osteoporosis later in life. With 20% of your daily requirement of magnesium in one serving, Chia seeds also help protect against cramping and muscular tension. Additionally, 2 tbsp chia seeds contain 40% RDA of dietary fiber which helps in maintaining a healthy digestive system.
- Coconut oil, melted (50 g)
- Quick oats (165 g)
- Chia seeds (50 g)
- Shredded coconut (60 g)
- Cocoa powder (25 g)
- Salt (1/2 tsp)
- Maple syrup (80 g)
- Peanut butter (75 g)
- Mix the quick oats, shredded coconut, cocoa powder, chia seeds and salt together.
- Mix the coconut oil, peanut butter and maple syrup together until smooth.
- Mix the wet and dry ingredients well together.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the mixture on it and press it firmly on it to make it even.
- Place the baking sheet in the freezer to set fr at least 30 minutes.
- After it sets, take it out and cut into 8 bars.
- Serve or store in the freezer in a zip-lock bag.