Pregnancy Week 39: Your Baby Is Full Term, Labor Preperation & Baby's First Checkup by 30Seconds Pregnancy
Drum roll, please! Why? Because your baby is now full term! At around 7 to 8 pounds and 20 to 21 inches long, he’s about the size of one of those adorable mini watermelons. While his brain is continuing to grow at a fast rate (and will for his first three years of life), his weight and length will stay about the same now. Something else that isn’t quite developed is Baby’s tear ducts. So while you are about to hear a lot of newborn baby crying, you won’t see any tears until after the first month of life. Baby’s skin is now pink, smooth and ready for that special outfit you have picked out.
Photo: Baby at 39 weeks of development
You are full-term now, mama, which means you’ll see your doctor or midwife every week until delivery. At each appointment, your doctor will do an abdominal check on you to keep an eye on Baby and see if he’s in the right position for delivery. An internal exam may also be in order to see if your cervix has started ripening. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), ripening the cervix “is a process that helps the cervix soften and thin out in preparation for labor.” Ripening is necessary for dilation and for you to delivery your baby.
While waiting for your baby’s arrival, continue to do those kick counts. If you notice a decrease in your baby’s movements, be sure to let your doctor or midwife know. Keep an eye out for your water breaking, too. Remember, it’s not always a dramatic gush like in the movies, and unlike urine, it’s colorless and odorless.
Baby’s First Checkup
Any day now, you will have a newborn baby in your arms. The hospital will recommend that your newborn baby be seen by his pediatrician when he is three to five days old. A Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner shared some things you can expect at that first newborn doctor visit:
- We will ask you to fill out forms, including your family's health history, so that we will know what familial health conditions your baby may be at risk for as your she gets older. (Tip: Keep your baby's records all in one place in a medical records organizer.)
- We will get baby's naked weight. This is important for checking what percentage your baby has lost since his birth weight. We want that number 10 percent or less.
- We will do a complete head-to-toe exam of your newborn and tell you what we find.
- We will ask you where Baby sleeps. We will tell you the importance of "Back to Sleep."
- We will check Baby's length and head circumference. These we will plot on a graph and compare at each visit to make sure your baby is growing well. (This continues throughout your baby's first year and throughout childhood.)
But that’s not all! Here are five more things that you can expect at your newborn’s first doctor visit!
“Pregnancy seems designed to prepare you for life as a mother. You start making sacrifices nine months before the child is born, so by the time they put in an appearance you are used to giving things up for them.” – Brett Kiellerop, author
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