39 Weeks Pregnant - Symptoms Signaling the Finish Line Is in Sight
Your Little One Is on Their Way
You’ve done the preparing. You’ve experienced the ups and downs. You’re excited to meet your new addition. Labor is coming any day now, and there are still some important things you can do before giving birth.
Braxton Hicks vs True Labor Contraction
Braxton Hicks contractions (also called false labor contractions) are a tightening of the uterus muscles that can last anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Many women confuse them with true labor contractions, which can be concerning if a woman experiences them in the second trimester or early in the third trimester. It’s believed that Braxton Hicks contractions are preparing your body for real labor contractions, but it’s important to know the difference.
Braxton Hicks vs true labor contraction
Braxton Hicks (False Labor) Contractions
True Labor Contractions
Irregular and remain irregular
Regular intervals or regular pattern
Don’t get closer together as time passes
Grow closer together over time
Often are weak and stay that way (might have stronger contractions followed by weaker ones)
Increase in strength/intensity over time
Stop when you rest, walk, or change positions
Keep coming no matter what you do
Vary in length and intensity
Usually last 30 to 90 seconds (shorter when they begin and get progressively longer and stronger)
Don’t affect your cervix
Cause cervix to dilate (open)
Pain usually felt only in the front
Pain begins in back and moves to front
Braxton Hicks contractions are normal and may increase in frequency as you come closer to your delivery date. It’s important to remember that they ARE NOT a sign that your body is going into labor.
If you believe that you are going into labor, contact your physician immediately.
Signs of Labor While 38 Weeks Pregnant
Unfortunately, the signs of labor aren’t all pleasant. So, while it may be uncomfortable, it may also be a sign that your big day is just around the corner. Many women experience nausea, indigestion, vomiting, and diarrhea or flu-like symptoms without fever. If you experience these symptoms, be sure to let your doctor know. Excessive symptoms could lead to dehydration, which isn’t ideal leading up to labor.
When to Induce Labor?
Labor induction is the artificial start of the birth process through medical interventions or other methods. Despite growing in popularity, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), labor should be induced only when it is riskier for the baby to remain inside the mother’s uterus than to be born. There are many reasons women elect to be induced, such as convenience and scheduling. But, generally, it’s best to let the body do its own thing. Your doctor will let you know if they think a labor induction is appropriate for your specific pregnancy and situation.
In addition to offering your baby nutrients needed for growth, other components in breast milk offer benefits for your baby. Breastfeeding can also be an incredible bonding experience. Breastfeeding isn't always easy or intuitive for everyone. Check out our resources on breastfeeding. If you would like support with breastfeeding, ask your healthcare professional for help.
If You Choose Formula
If you decide you want to incorporate formula into your feeding plan, there are some important things you’ll want to know–like, what’s in formula? How do you make a bottle? How much formula does your baby need? The answers may vary depending on your specific situation and the unique nutrition needs of your baby. Don't worry—you can do this! If you have questions, we have a guide to formula feeding to give you the information you need to get started.