39 Weeks Pregnant and No Signs of Labor
Being incredibly close to your due date is both exciting and scary. You will meet your new baby, finally, in just a short time. Yet all of the unknowns about labor begin to creep up on you.
And then there are some women who have zero signs of labor at 39 weeks and beyond. Your cervix isn’t budging, the baby isn’t lowering, and you’re left wondering if baby will ever want to leave his cozy home.
Don’t worry, baby will come out eventually. But here are a few things to do while you wait.
What Can I Expect at 39 Weeks?
Since your baby now weighs somewhere between seven and eight pounds, he’s grown just about as much as he’s going to before he’s born. Now, your body is helping him finish getting his organs strong enough for the soon-to-be delivery.
Baby is heavy to be lugging around, so it’s normal to feel back, neck, and pelvic aches as your body strains to carry him. You’ll likely find it difficult to get into a comfortable sleeping or sitting position, which can lend to your fatigue and overall uncomfortable feeling.
One of the most common things you may feel in your 39th week of pregnancy is Braxton Hicks contractions. These false contractions, although somewhat painful and uncomfortable, help prepare your body for upcoming labor. They are usually very irregular and won’t be as intense as real contractions.
What If I Don’t Have Any Labor Symptoms?
First, stop worrying. Remember how awesome it is that baby is still in his safe spot inside you, where he should remain as close to his due date as possible. Even though it’s uncomfortable for you, it’s very healthy for baby. You officially now have a full-term baby.
Just as no two pregnancies are exactly the same, no two women will experience the same labor symptoms, in the same order, or at the same times. Some women have labor symptoms beginning at 36 weeks, but don’t deliver until week 40. Other women begin having labor symptoms very suddenly in their 39th week, and they deliver the next day.
Your doctor is likely checking your pregnancy every week now, so if you have any concerns, bring them up to him. He will also tell you if he has any concerns about the progression of your labor and will explain your options.
What Can I Do to Help Labor Along?
If you want to gently nudge baby along, there are a few safe, natural tactics that can help. However, do not do anything without consulting your doctor first. Some popular, natural ways to induce labor include:
- Light exercise. Walking can help gravity move the baby into the birth canal to prepare for labor.
- Drink red raspberry leaf tea mixed with a little bit of evening primrose oil (EPO). Together, this mixture helps soften the uterus and regulate irregular contractions.
- Eat spicy foods. Of course, if you already have intense heartburn, this may not be the best idea. But spicy foods help release prostaglandins, hormones that can help begin contractions.
- Have sex. Yes, it may seem like the last thing you want to do right now, but having sex can cause natural uterine contractions that may start labor sooner.
Use This Time to Prepare for Baby!
Since you may still have a few days before you go into labor, you should use this time to your advantage! Number one on the list should be to take a nap. Get well-rested to prepare for the big day.
You can also read up on information about labor and delivery to prepare yourself as much as possible. Learn about labor positions that can help ease the pain of contractions, and what to expect in the minutes to hours following the birth of your baby.
Make sure baby’s nursery is fully stocked and ready for her arrival. And, get your bags packed and loaded into the car. You could begin labor within hours from now, so being prepared can help ease your anxieties.
What Labor Signs Can I Expect Soon?
The most common first signs that labor will come soon are decreased fetal movement and the baby moving lower into the pelvis. Soon after these occur, you may lose your mucus plug and break your water. The end is near!
Once you begin having contractions in steady intervals that continuously increase in strength, it’s time to head to the hospital.
Now that you know that not having labor signs at 39 weeks doesn’t mean your baby will be stuck inside you forever, you can begin to relax and enjoy your last few days of pregnancy.
If you continue to have concerns about your labor progression, talk to your doctor. At the very least, he will help calm you and offer advice to get your labor moving.