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Pregnancy week 39

When you're 39 weeks pregnant, you may experience symptoms and signs of labour including contractions, a ‘show’ and discharge.

Week by week stages of pregnancy: week 39

Now you are 39 weeks pregnant you are almost at ‘term’.  They have no more developments to make, they won’t grow much more but they will put on a little bit of weight. 

Around 39 weeks into pregnancy, symptoms may begin which indicate that labour is not too far off. Some of the signs are as follows: as your cervix softens to prepare for the birth, you may experience increased clear vaginal discharge or the plug of mucus – also called a ‘show’ – is released from the cervix, perhaps with a streak of blood. You may also have frequent practice contractions which can be felt as a hardening of the abdomen or maybe as backache. 

Your baby could come anytime now. Because she could arrive any time it is important you carry the midwife or hospital numbers on you, your antenatal records and have your hospital bag prepared.  If you haven’t got your hospital bag ready yet, there’s still time to get the bits you need together. The basic things you should have are:

  • Dressing gown
  • Slippers
  • Water spray to cool you down in labour
  • Nursing bras if you are breastfeeding
  • Front-opening nightgowns if you are planning to breastfeed
  • About 24 sanitary towels to deal with the blood loss after labour
  • Changes of underwear
  • Washbag with toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush and so on
  • Sleepsuits and plenty of nappies for the baby.

And don’t forget the other things you and your partner may want such as a camera to take some photos, coins for the pay phone or enough credit on your mobiles to phone relatives with the news, and if you’re having a water birth even swimming trucks for your partner to be in the pool with you.

If you have any allergies to drugs, food or chemicals of any sort, it may be a good idea to remind the midwife and unit staff and take a written note with you when you have your baby, leaving it somewhere visible. 

Be aware of the security risk in hospital - take in a minimum of money, jewellery, phone/camera kit. If a Cesarean Section is needed, all jewellery including wedding rings may have to be removed. 

Further help and information

NCT's helpline offers practical and emotional support in all areas of pregnancy, birth and early parenthood: 0300 330 0700. We also offer antenatal courses which are a great way to find out more about birth, labour and life with a new baby.

Join in with NCT on Facebook and Twitter - it's a great way to make new friends and stay in touch with old ones. Or joint our community for new parents on Google+ where you can connect with other parents online who are experiencing similar things.