In the last weeks of pregnancy, lots of important things happen to your baby. These changes help your baby have a healthy start. If your pregnancy is healthy, it is best to stay pregnant for at least 39 weeks, and wait for labor to begin on its own. If you choose to induce labor, talk to your provider about waiting until you’re at least 39 weeks pregnant. Inducing labor or scheduling a c-section should only be for medical reason.
In the last week of pregnancy:
- Your baby’s brain is still growing and developing. At 35 weeks, your baby’s brain weighs just two-thirds of what it does at 39 weeks.
- Important organs like the lungs and liver need this time to develop and function properly. Babies born too early may have breathing problems and jaundice after birth.
- Your baby is gaining weight. Babies born at a healthy weight have an easier time staying warm than babies born too small.
- Your baby is still learning how to suck and swallow. Learning these skills will help your baby feed better and avoid certain feeding problems.
- Your baby’s eyes and ears are going through important changes. Babies born too early are more likely to have vision and hearing problems.
Your due date may not be correct
It’s hard to know exactly how many weeks of pregnancy you are. An ultrasound can help estimate your due date, but it can still be off by as much as 2 weeks. This means you may not be as far along in your pregnancy as you might have thought. This is why, if your pregnancy is healthy, it’s best if your baby is born at least at 39 weeks. This gives your baby the time he needs to grow.
However, in some instances, you may not have a choice about when to have your baby. If there are problems with your pregnancy or your baby’s health, you may need to have your baby early. If this happens, here are some questions you can you ask your provider about scheduling your baby’s birth before 39 weeks?
- Is there a problem with my health or the health of my baby that may make me need to have my baby early?
- Can I wait to have my baby until I’m closer to 39 weeks?
About inducing you labor:
- Why do you need to induce labor?
- How will you induce my labor?
- Will inducing labor increase the chance that I’ll need to have a c-section?
- Why do I need to have a c-section?
- Can a c-section cause any problems for me and my baby?
- Can I have a vaginal birth in future pregnancies?