Fetal Development at Week 39 of Pregnancy
Submitted by Pregnancy and Baby Care team on January 17, 2012
Some women consider pregnancy and childbirth to be the most fulfilling and joyous time in their life. However, pregnancy also places huge demands on the woman’s body. As soon as conception occurs, right until the time of labor, there will be various stages of fetal development that take place. The early stages of pregnancy are generally the most uncomfortable due to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, cramps, indigestion, and back pain. However, the experience of pregnancy differs from woman to woman and hence the nature of the symptoms also varies in each case. Once conception...
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...occurs, the uterus begins its preparation for the baby. The uterine lining thickens so that the embryo can implant itself properly. Pregnancy is divided into three trimesters, each consisting of approximately three months. These three trimesters are a means by which the entire process of forty weeks is classified into distinct stages in which both the fetus and the mother experience considerable changes. During the first and the last trimesters, the pregnant woman needs to take extra care since the baby is most vulnerable at these stages. Fetal development in week 39 is not as rapid as it has been in the other weeks as the baby is now almost ready to be born.
Fetal development in week 39 will allow the baby to continue to put on weight and so the baby usually weighs approximately 5 pounds, 11 ounces to 8 pounds, 5 ounces. The umbilical cord is about 20 inches in length and half an inch in thickness. There are no nerve endings in the umbilical cords and hence no pain will be experienced by the baby or mother when it is cut. It is possible for the umbilical cord to become knotted at this stage since most of the space in the uterus is utilized. The baby also does not move about too much due to the lack of space. Fetal development in week 39 also includes the drastic reduction in lanugo which is the fine hair covering the baby. All the organs of the baby are developed and the baby is ready to be born. The baby’s immune system also becomes stronger. The mother is likely to experience discomfort during these last few days of pregnancy. She may experience clumsiness due to the large size of her abdomen. The baby also settles into the pelvis at this stage, leading to a shift in the center of gravity. This may cause the mother to experience slight imbalance. There may also be an increase in the urge to urinate due to pressure of the uterus on the bladder. Breathing will become much easier at this stage because the uterus no longer presses against the diaphragm. It is advisable for the pregnant mother to get adequate rest during this crucial stage.
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