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39 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby’s Development

Hormone helpers. Your baby's endocrine system will secrete more stress hormones during birth than at any other time in her life. Once she's out of the uterus, those hormones will help manage her bodily systems without the help of your placenta. These tremendous changes demand lots of effort and energy, but she'll be ready.

First baby breaths. Your baby's lungs continue to develop right up until she's born. Her lungs carry on manufacturing surfactant to keep the air sacs from sticking together when she takes her first breath.

Cry baby. Right after that initial deep breath comes a wail worthy of an opera diva. The sound of your baby crying is a bittersweet experience; while no one likes to hear a child expressing fear or discomfort, a loud cry means she's breathing well. Don't expect to see tears yet; her tear glands won't produce tears when crying until she's a few weeks old. And if your baby doesn't let out that hallmark howl, don't fret: Some infants don't cry at birth. The important thing is that breathing gets started.

embryo week 39

39 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms

True or false. If the contractions are irregular and go away when you change position or walk around, you are probably experiencing false labor. However, false labor can turn into real labor in a matter of minutes. Time your contractions carefully; once they're at regular intervals and occurring five minutes apart for at least an hour, call your doctor, midwife, or nurse. If your water breaks, it's go time.

The pain domain. You have many options when it comes to pain medications. Some take the edge off, while others aim to block as much discomfort as possible. You don't have to make any final decisions right now, but plan on discussing the different choices with your healthcare provider before the big day.

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