At a glance
Your waters will usually break, though this can happen before or after contractions start
Contractions have a steady, regular rhythm and get progressively stronger
Blood or mucus spots are a sign that your cervix is getting ready or has already opened
Why breastfeeding is good for you and your baby’s health
Baby's development at 39 weeks
There’s still a little fat developing under the skin, preparing baby to face the world after being all lovely and cosy inside you for so long. Almost at birth weight, your not-so-little one should still move regularly despite having almost no room to do so. If baby’s movements are reduced, you should contact hospital right away. Everything is pretty much in perfect working order, and if your baby were to be born now, it would be just fine.
You might be feeling a bit unsure about how to recognise when labour has started. Let us reassure you, you will definitely know! Very few babies are born so quickly that their mothers can’t get to the hospital in time, but lots of mums-to-be are sent back home because they’ve come in too soon (however it’s always best to get in touch with the hospital if you’re unsure).
You might feel a bit nauseous, have a headache or experience a sense of almost heavy tiredness just before the birth. Some blood or mucus often shows too, a sign that the cervix has opened. And when the contractions start, labour has begun!
Contractions have a steady, regular rhythm and get progressively stronger without easing when you move around.
Your waters usually break at this stage too, although this can happen before your contractions start. Some women go into labour without their waters breaking too. Call the hospital straightaway and explain your symptoms, they will help you decide when to go in to hospital. If you’re having a home birth, call your midwife instead.
Breastfeeding is good for you
The hormones released will cut down your recovery time by helping your uterus contract. These hormones will also improve blood clotting, reducing the amount of bleeding after birth.
Breastfeeding also helps you bond with your little one, that skin on skin contact provides a unique connection and triggers hormones that will help you to relax and feel less stressed. It has also been linked to decreased risks of postnatal depression too.
All babies are different, so length and weight changes a lot. But a healthy new born delivered at full term should be around 52 cm long and weigh between 3.3 and 3.4 kilos. There can be large variations in those numbers, but if you were having a particularly large or tall baby, your doctor would have seen that in your last ultrasound and told you already.