39 Weeks Pregnant
At 39 weeks, it’s time to try and take it easy. If you are overcome by the nesting instinct and suddenly decide to paint baby’s room, take it easy. You certainly shouldn’t be climbing ladders at this stage in your pregnancy.
Now that you have reached 39 weeks pregnant, your baby is a better prepared to be born. When awake, your baby’s eyes are open and he/she can see light. Your newborn’s appearance is less wrinkled and there will be almost no vernix or lanugo left – although some babies still have traces of the waxy, white vernix in their skin folds when they’re born, particularly in folds around the neck, armpits and groin. Don’t be surprised by how long baby’s nails are – the nails may need to be cut soon after birth to prevent scratching.
With increased numbers of Caesarean sections taking place in Ireland, in excess of WHO recommendations, eumom pregnancy and birth expert Tracy Donegan looks at the studies into the impact of a C-section birth and how friendly bacteria in birth can protect your baby’s health. When a baby is born vaginally, it is exposed to mom’s vaginal and intestinal flora, which is the start of your baby’s colonisation (also known as seeding). In a planned Caesarean, this doesn’t happen. The types of bacteria in the guts of babies born by Caesarean tend to differ from those born vaginally.
Pain relief in labour
You’ll probably have discussed pain relief in your antenatal classes and with other moms-to-be and your birth partner. There are a number of types of labour pain relief available. Natural pain relief for labour includes massage, breathing or relaxation exercises, acupuncture, movement, water, hypnotherapy and more. Many women also find the TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machine very helpful in labour as it transmits small, painless electrical signals to nerves via pads which are attached to the base of your spine.
If you’re looking for something more, there are several options, ranging from entonox, known as ‘gas and air’ to a pethidine injection or an epidural, which is an anaesthetic injected into the base of your spine to numb you from the waist down.