What are the signs of labor at 39 weeks ?

What are the signs of labor at 39 weeks?

Some women experience early signs of labor while others do not. No one can predict that when will labor starts and what causes it to start. But there are some signs which generally indicate the beginning of labor. 

Labor signs at 39 weeks

Signs of labor at 39 weeks

A full-term pregnancy lasts between 39 weeks to 40 weeks 6 days. It means your pregnancy lasts between 1 week before your due date or 1 week after your due date. You might deliver your baby any time at 39 weeks pregnant. Babies who born full-term are healthy in comparison to those who born earlier or later. Call your doctor or midwife if you notice any of these labor signs:


Your baby is surrounded and cushioned by a fluid-filled membrane sac which is called Amniotic Sac during pregnancy. Your membranes will be ruptured at the beginning of labor or during labor which is known as Water-Breaking. If your amniotic sac ruptured then you'll notice a watery discharge from your vagina. It means that you will likely go into labor within a few hours. 

Preterm PROM

If water breaks before the 37th weeks of pregnancy then it is called the Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes (Preterm PROM). In this case, delivery is generally recommended by the doctor to avoid an infection. But if you're between 24 to 34 weeks pregnant and your water breaks then the doctor will try to delay delivery until the baby is more developed. In this condition, antibiotics will be given to you to avoid an infection. Your doctor will also give you an injection of potent steroids to speed the baby's lung maturity. If you're less than 24 weeks pregnant and your water breaks then your doctor will tell you about the risks of having a very preterm baby and the benefits and risks of trying to delay labor. 


When the baby settles or drops lower into the mother's pelvis. This process is called Lightening or Dropping.  It can happen a few hours or a few weeks before labor. After the process of Lightening the uterus rests on the bladder which causes frequent urination. It is a sign that the baby is almost ready to be born. 

Increased Vaginal discharge / Passing of the Mucus Plug

If you notice a mucus-like thick discharge from your vagina then call your midwife or doctor as it is also a sign that labor has begun. Increased vaginal discharge is also known as Mucus Plug. It signifies that the cervix is dilating or thinning.

Regular and Strong Labor Contractions

Your uterus tightens at this stage and the abdomen becomes hard. Some women also experience false labor contractions which are known as Braxton Hicks contractions. These contractions don't signify labor. If your contractions are coming at regular intervals and these contractions are last longer with increased strength then it might be possible that you're in true labor. The true labor contractions do not stop when you change your body position or relax. Labor contractions cause discomfort and an ache in your lower abdomen and back along with pelvic pressure. 

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Bloody Show 

The discharge from the vagina might be tinged with blood which is red or brownish or pink in color as the blood vessels in the cervix rupture. Bloody show signifies that your cervix is dilating or opening up for delivery. If you're close to your due date then the bloody show is a good and normal pre-labor sign. Once you've seen the bloody show then it means that you'll likely go into labor just in one or two days but it's not definite. But do make sure that your bag is packed. 

Effacement of the Cervix

The process of thinning of the cervix (lower part of the uterus) is known as Effacement. It is measured in percentages from 0% to 100%. The cervix is usually 3.5 cm to 4 cm long. When labor begins the cervix softens, shortens, and thinned out. Some women feel irregular, painful, and uncomfortable contractions during effacement while others do not. During a pelvic exam, your doctor will tell you if there are any changes in the cervix. When there are no changes in the cervix it is described as 0% effaced. When the cervix is completely thinned out then it is described as 100% effaced. Your cervix must be completely thinned out or 100% effaced before a vaginal delivery

Dilation of the Cervix

The process of stretching and opening of the cervix is known as Dilation. It is measured in centimeters from 0 to 10.  At 10 cm the cervix is completely dilated. 

Effacement and Dilation are the processes of thinning and opening the cervix which allows your baby to pass through your vagina. 

Hope this article helped you to gather some more information about the exciting journey of pregnancy. All the best to you for a happy delivery and congratulations in advance. May God bless you and your baby with good health. 

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Disclaimer: This content is intended for general information only and should not be used as the basis of patient treatment. The given content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, treatment, or any diagnosis. Always consult a doctor for more information. Our website doesn't claim responsibility for this information.

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