39 weeks 


Highlights this week


Your baby is full term. That means they're fully developed and ready to greet the world.

Staying active

Gentle exercise is okay now, as long as you don't have certain complications. Shoot for 20 minutes a day of walking, swimming, or stretching if you can.

Time to induce?

If you're having a healthy pregnancy, your provider may suggest inducing labor at 39 weeks. Talk to your doctor or midwife if you're interested – but avoid so-called natural ways to induce labor. These haven't been proven to work, and can cause unpleasant side effects.

Baby development at 39 weeks

Still plumping up

Your little one continues to build a layer of fat to help control their body temperature after birth. It's likely that your baby already measures about 20 inches and weighs just over 7 pounds. (Boys tend to be slightly heavier than girls.)

Ready to interact with you

Your baby has a firm grasp, which you'll soon be able to test when you hold their hand for the first time! Your baby also has coordinated reflexes, can turn their head, and will be able to see your face once they're born. Newborns can see about 6 to 10 inches away.

baby with growing fingernails
Your baby at 39 weeks
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Your baby is about the size of a mini-watermelon

mini-watermelon illustration
head to toe
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Pregnancy symptoms during week 39

Baby kicks

Keep paying attention to your baby's movements, and let your doctor or midwife know right away if they seem to decrease. Your baby should remain active right up to delivery, and a noticeable slowdown in activity could signal a problem.

Changes to your cervix

At a prenatal checkup, your provider might do an internal exam to see whether your cervix has started ripening: softening, effacing (thinning out), and dilating (opening). But even with this knowledge, there's still no way to predict exactly when your baby is coming. For some women, labor progresses quickly even if they haven't started dilating in advance. Others wait for days or weeks (after their cervix has started to open) for labor to start.

Leaking fluid

Call your provider if you think your water may have broken. When the amniotic sac that surrounds your baby ruptures, sometimes there's a big gush of fluid, but oftentimes there's only a small burst or a slow leak. Call even if you're not sure or only suspect you have a leak. If your water breaks but contractions don't start soon, you may be induced. That's because once your amniotic sac has ruptured, you and your baby are at increased risk of infection.

At 39 weeks, you may also notice that your breasts are leaking small drops of yellow fluid. Your body is producing colostrum, the highly nutritious "liquid gold" that will be your baby's first meal.


A less-than-pleasant symptom you might experience at 39 weeks: diarrhea. Some people think that having diarrhea can be a sign of early labor, and that it means labor will start in 24 to 48 hours.

The theory goes: As your body prepares for labor it releases hormones called prostaglandins. These chemical messengers tell your uterus to contract, but they can have the same effect on your digestive tract. Contractions cause stool to move through more quickly, leading to diarrhea. (This is the same reason some women experience diarrhea during their periods).

There's no proof that diarrhea means labor's approaching, though. If you have it, be sure to drink plenty of fluids and talk with your provider before taking any antidiarrheal medications. Call your doctor or midwife if you have accompanying symptoms, if your diarrhea lasts longer than a couple of days, or if you think you might have food poisoning.

Pelvic pain

At this point, you may be very familiar with pelvic pain, which one in four women experiences during pregnancy. Carrying around a baby who's now the size of a watermelon can make your symptoms much worse. Some women can even have trouble walking by 39 weeks.

Resting and avoiding painful activities can help. That's tough when you have a baby to prepare for, and possibly other children to look after, but it's important. Limit activities that cause discomfort, such as heavy lifting and carrying, standing or walking for too long, and strenuous exercise. Find new ways to do things that cause you pain (some women find it easier to get out of bed by slowly rolling to one side and pushing up). Take help when it's offered, and don't be afraid to ask for support.

Anytime you have pain during pregnancy, talk to your doctor or midwife. They'll want to make sure it isn't due to any other health problems, and they'll offer options for relief. Starting physical therapy, wearing a pregnancy girdle, taking acetaminophen, and doing some gentle exercise can help your body feel better.

Mood swings

The end of pregnancy can try the patience of even the most mellow mom-to-be. It's no surprise that mood swings might intensify by week 39. You're riding waves of hormones, which can wreak havoc on your emotions; you're likely uncomfortable; and you may be both excited and terrified for labor and motherhood.

Cut yourself some slack, and indulge in all the self-care you won't have time for after your baby arrives. Whether it's a slow walk, a date with your partner, a morning in bed, or a prenatal massage, do whatever feels right to you.

You might want to focus on mentally preparing for parenthood without outside distractions. It's alright to step back from social media or ignore those calls and texts asking if you've had your baby yet.

Mood swings can sometimes signal pregnancy depression – especially if you're feeling blue, sad, or empty every day. If you think you may be depressed, you're unable to handle your daily responsibilities, or you have thoughts of harming yourself, call your provider immediately. They can refer you to a mental health specialist.

Different discharge

As you get closer to your baby's birthday, you might notice changes to your vaginal discharge – more discharge, mucus-like discharge, and brown discharge, for example.

If you see brown discharge, the brown color comes from dried blood, and it's likely nothing to worry about. Same goes for bright-red or pink discharge called "bloody show," which means labor is coming soon. Mucousy discharge is a sign that your mucus plug is coming loose – and it's another normal sign that labor's approaching.

Don't see your symptom?

Wondering about a symptom you have? Find it on our pregnancy symptoms page.

labor is the only blind date where you know you will meet the love of your life
full term baby in womb at 39 weeks with cervix thinning and dilating
Your body at 39 weeks
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Pregnancy checklist at 39 weeks

Learn about your body after birth

It's normal to still look pregnant after you deliver. (It took nine months to get here, after all!) Learn what to expect from your body during the postpartum recovery period.

Stock up on light entertainment

Make a list of shows to stream, buy or borrow magazines and books, or subscribe to some new podcasts. You may need distraction during the long hours of early labor.

Shop for after-birth necessities

From peri bottles to donut-shaped cushions and hemorrhoid pads, there's a whole host of things you may use after birth that you've never encountered before. If you haven't already, stock up on postpartum must-haves. Note: If you give birth at a hospital, the nurses will send you home with many helpful postpartum care items, like squirt bottles and disposable underwear. But you'll need your own:

  • Maxi pads. You'll have postpartum bleeding (lochia) for several weeks after delivery. The hospital will give you extra-large pads to use in the first few days and some to take with you, but you'll want a stock of pads at home with varying levels of absorbency. (The flow tapers off over time.)
  • Postpartum underwear. When you're no longer bleeding enough to need large maxi pads and disposable underwear from the hospital, you'll need something more like your regular underwear. But you'll want it to be big and comfy (think "granny panties").
  • Nursing bras. Bring them to the hospital – you'll want them for comfort and support.

Write down your pregnancy memories

The end of pregnancy is an emotional time for many expecting parents. If you're dealing with big feelings, or just want to capture this unique moment, journaling is a great way to do it. Whether you write to your baby or just for yourself, you'll enjoy looking back on these memories later.

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39 weeks pregnant bellies

With each passing day, you're probably more eager to hold your baby in your arms. That's entirely understandable. Yet it's important to remember that many moms, especially first-time moms, go past their due date.

That can seem unfair, since so much of pregnancy is a countdown to 40 weeks. But your baby didn't get the memo. Pregnancy can last until 42 weeks, although most babies are born before then.

Your doctor may recommend inducing your labor soon. If so, don't panic – inductions are routinely done safely and comfortably. Some providers recommend inducing at 39 weeks to avoid certain complications, while others wait longer.

After 40 weeks, your doctor or midwife will keep an even closer eye on your pregnancy. You may have twice-weekly visits and testing (such as a non-stress test) to check on your baby.

39 weeks pregnant bellies

This week's video



BabyCenter's editorial team is committed to providing the most helpful and trustworthy pregnancy and parenting information in the world. When creating and updating content, we rely on credible sources: respected health organizations, professional groups of doctors and other experts, and published studies in peer-reviewed journals. We believe you should always know the source of the information you're seeing. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies.

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ACOG. 2022. Induction of Labor at 39 Weeks. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. a new window [Accessed December 2022]

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Mayo Clinic. 2021. Fetal development: The 3rd trimester. a new window [Accessed December 2022]

MedlinePlus (ADAM). 2019. Fetal development. a new window [Accessed December 2022]

Hadlock FP et al. 1991. In utero analysis of fetal growth: A sonographic weight standard. Radiology 181 (1). a new window [Accessed December 2022]

Hadlock FP et al. 1992. Fetal cross-rump length: Reevaluation of relation to menstrual age (5-18 weeks) with high-resolution real-time US. Radiology 182: 5-1-505. a new window [Accessed December 2022]

Vintzileos AM et al. 1984. The ultrasound femur length as a predictor of fetal length. Obstetrics & Gynecology 64(6): 779-82. a new window [Accessed December 2022]

Hadlock FP 1984. Estimating fetal age: Computer-assisted analysis of multiple fetal growth parameters. Radiology 152: 497-501. a new window [Accessed December 2022]

Kelly Burch

Kelly Burch is a freelance journalist covering health, entrepreneurship, family, and more. She's passionate about bringing complex topics to life through stories that are easy to read and informative. Burch lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two young daughters. When she's not at her desk, you'll find her kayaking or hiking in the wilderness around her home. Burch is currently writing a book about traveling around the United States in an RV with her family for seven months.

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