39 weeks: Differences between boys and girls during pregnancy {pregnancy update}

Thanks to everyone who shared their guess about this baby’s specs in the last update!  For those who haven’t yet, I have a new piece of info to help you.  My midwife changed her own guess at my checkup on Thursday.  Just four days earlier she thought the baby was only about 5 lbs, but this time she chuckled and shook her head.  “No, I feel some meat on him!  I’d say he’s closer to 6 or 6 1/2 lbs.”  That was about 1 1/2 weeks before his due date.  If he’s a couple of days late, that would put him right in line with our other children at 7 – 8 1/2 lbs.

With just one week to D-Day, I’m obsessing about labor – and doing everything I can to think about anything but labor.  Did you watch the new PBS show, Call the Midwife?  The pilot episode is available for free streaming online until December, and the 2nd aired last night (Sunday) so it’s probably available now.  I watched the first and enjoyed it so much that I want to save the next one to watch while I’m in labor.

Of course watching that show doesn’t help me not to think about labor.  Neither does the fact that my sister-in-law who was due the week after me had her baby last weekend.  And sitting on an exercise ball while I type this post?  Not helping.  I have labor on the brain, which makes perfect sense and fits my own theory of Two Week Obsession since I’ll probably be in labor some time in the next two weeks.  Ugh.  Labor.  I like babies, and I like seeing my toes when I look down, but I don’t like pain.

I’m still having lots of false labor, especially every night from 2-6 AM – or maybe that’s just when I notice it most because I really have to use the bathroom but I am too lazy to get out  of bed.

I’m not exactly dying to get it over with, the way most people tend to assume. In spite of my burgeoning belly, I’m feeling pretty good.  Nothing hurts if I move carefully, and the heartburn isn’t bad if I drink plenty of milk.  My family is taking good care of me, so I get all the rest I need right now.  I feel awkward, but endlessly amazed at the miracle growing in my own body.  I’m happy to wait and see when and where labor happens.  But labor is always on my mind, and I can’t help but wonder about the when and where.

On a slightly different subject, I’m becoming convinced that there is a difference between girl and boy pregnancies.  I almost pinpointed it when I was expecting my fourth, but she fooled me and broke my confidence.  Now, with a little more experience under my belt and the chance to compare boys and girls in utero, I’m ready to say it: I think boy babies tend to be less wiggly, but stronger.  They don’t necessarily move as much, but when they do it’s more likely to hurt.  Girls roll and fidget; boys stretch, kick and punch.

The one daughter that I initially thought felt different, so different that I suspected she was a boy, has always been different from our other girls.  She is built with a sturdier frame, and is naturally very strong and muscular.  She has never been overweight, but builds muscle very easily and is stronger than her older sisters who exercise more than she does.  Her Krav Maga instructor is amazed at the natural force of her kicks and punches.

And now that I think about it, Bethany is like that too.  While she has a delicate personality, prone to emotional fragility, her physique is anything but fragile.  While I was pregnant with her, I couldn’t help but suspect she was a boy.  Of course I was wrong and afterwards I chalked it up to wishful thinking (since we finally had one boy, I thought it would be fun to have two in a row), but I think it may have more to do with her build than my own hopes.  In spite of her slow gain right at the start – she was mildly tongue tied and couldn’t latch on properly – she quickly caught up and has been a strong and sturdy little flower ever since.  She was strong in the womb, too, often hurting me when she kicked and stretched, just like our boys have been.

Maybe this is easier to apply in hindsight, but I think I would have had a good shot at guessing correctly for 9 of our 11 children.  I wonder too if the Drano test would have proven accurate for more of our children.  I wish I had learned about it sooner!

What do you think?  Agree or disagree?  Or have you noticed other differences that could help you make a good guess in the future?

Belly pic


Baby at 39 weeks:

What is there to say?  Baby is fully developed and just puttin’ on the chub.  Of course the longer he stays put, the less likely he is to suffer from jaundice.  In our case, the longer he stays put the more likely he is to be the first baby born in our new house rather than the last baby born in our current house.
Your turn:
How are you and your little one this week?  What’s new?
Previous pregnancy updates:


  1. I’m 38 weeks and last friday (37 1/2 weeks) my midwife said she’s pretty sure this baby girl is already about eight (8!) pounds. Then as she was leaving the room she added, “I have a hunch this baby won’t be early, just a hunch, but I think it will still be a little while.” So now I keep thinking, what if this ends up being a 9 or 10 pound baby?! I’m praying for a VBAC, and the docs figured I have great chances of that happening especially if this baby is smaller than my son was, but he was 8# 1oz when he was born. So I’m feeling a little nervous and would appreciate prayers. 🙂

    I will say, regarding the boy/girl kicking topic, that my son never kicked as much or as hard as this little girl. She has been way more active, and much MUCH more painful. Like, wake me up during the night, take my breath away, OUCH!

  2. I havent commented on any of your posts in so long (been busy learning how to be a mum!) but I just wanted to say good luck for the next couple of weeks as you are going to have a busy time of it!

    The wedding pics were fab by the way and I cannot believe you managed to pull it all off in a matter of weeks. Maybe you and the girls could have a side job as wedding planners??

    Looking forward to all the updates regarding house moves and baby arriving over the next few weeks and as always you look ace. 🙂

  3. Stephanie says:

    I don’t want to spoil your fun labor plans, but I thought maybe you’d want to be forewarned that episode two is about a young prostitute and might not be as wonderful as you found the first. I read AND LOVED the book, but the two chapters about the prostitute basically just needed to be torn out because they were so graphic and so sad. I’m only halfway through the second episode, so I don’t know for sure that it will be awful, but you might want something happier for birthing. 🙂

  4. You look great! I think my belly is only a tiny bit smaller and I’m only 28weeks….

  5. So exciting!

    My girl was my craziest baby and my boys were much quieter.

    I really enjoyed the first couple of episodes of Call the Midwife. Episode’s 5 & 6 are progressively more upsetting (normalising depraved behaviour etc) and I’m sad I won’t be continuing to watch it. I really enjoyed the first few though and will probably go back to watch them again sometime.

  6. I can remember my boys hurting me as they kicked my ribs. With 7 boys and 2 girls I don’t remember if the girls were more wiggly or not. I do know I checked inside the first girls diaper as soon as the nurse left me alone with her. I was very out of it when she was born and I didn’t trust them, after three boys… You look beautiful! Prayers for your delivery and move, in whatever order God sees fit.

  7. HeatherHH says:

    I only had two babies that seemed to really be wiggly on a regular basis. My firstborn, when I could see my whole abdomen shifting about frequently and my seventh who felt like he somersaulted all the time. They’re both boys. My four girls and the other boy, I mostly just felt kicks with. I felt the most kicks (more in quantity but not any greater force) with that boy and one of the girls, and the girl is definitely my most energetic child. My child with the least kicks by far was a girl that was very laidback as a baby. So, I saw no pattern whatsoever between gender and movement (and actually saw the opposite of what you suggested with wiggling), but a very strong pattern between movement and activity level as a baby.

  8. My pregnancies with my 2 daughters were very similar to each other and very different than the one with my son. With my last pregnancy, 2 ultrasound predicted a boy, but the pregnancy was just like the one with my first daughter that I had a hard time accepting that I was having another boy. Surprise! I gave birth to my 2nd daughter 10 days ago!

  9. I have just 2 boys and 2 girls…butas of the end of this last boy pg I agree. With my third (2nd girl) I thought she was a boy Bc of the intense morning sickness like my first (boy)…. but no. Until this baby I had thought my babies just got progressively wigglier….but like you said I noticed this little guy mo ed less but HARDER..painfully hard…worse than laborious hard at times. I also noticed that both of my boy pg morning sickness feelings returned more strongly in the last weeks…ht maybe a coincidence. Anyhow…so far I feel like I can see the differences between my boy and girl pg…but no definitively until the last few weeks anyhow 😀

  10. Can I just say that, for some odd reason, your dreading labor is reassuring to me? Maybe it helps me feel less like a wimp, that someone who’s a grand multipara still hates labor pain. I guess I’ve heard too many stories of women who “loved” labor, who sweetly floated their way through, etc. Thanks for being honest! 😉

  11. We’ve correctly predicted each of our 8 children. My husband says he can just “tell”, but I know that each of my boy pregnancies is harder and I just have more difficulties during them. My girl ones are so easy, I hardly remember them!

  12. Beautiful belly!! My boys absolutely hurt. I thought they were going to kick all the way through my belly. (Hey, there’s a first time for everything.) And my girls did move more! My husband and I joke that our last little girl was ALWAYS moving. She’s 18 months old and it still seems like she is! Short version, your observations ring true with me as well.

  13. I can never tell on myself if I am having a boy or a girl. However I am usually always right when I guess what someone else is having. Weird huh? This time that I am pregnant I am expecting twins. And I have no idea on what I am having. I keep thinking maybe I should find out. But I just love the surprise at the end. However I keep thinking it might be good to find out with twins on the way…just to prepare myself. I thought before I had the ultrasound that I was having twins. And I was right. Then I keep thinking that there is a boy and girl….so I guess we’ll see. Oh and I found out I was having twins shortly after you found out you were not. 🙂

  14. Sara Cave says:

    Totally agree with your boy/girl theory! I’m due to have my 2nd, a boy, the first week of January. While I was pregnant with our first, a girl, I was convinced I was carrying a monkey! She squirmed and fidgeted, jumped and bounced all day long; however, none of her movements were painful, just playful. This time around, I’m noticing exactly what you have: baby’s movements are stronger and sometimes even make me wince, but he seems far more deliberate in them than our daughter’s. My MIL is the mother of 11 (7 girls, 4 boys), and I’ll definitely be asking her if this theory applies to her pregnancies, as well! 🙂

  15. I have 2 boys and 2 girls. I was really, really sick with the girl pregnancies. I vomited a lot. I was nauseous with the boys, but not as long, with a lot less vomiting. The girls arrived closer to their due dates, and the boys cooked 2 weeks past their due dates. The girls were 2 inches shorter in length at birth, so I always measured huge with the boys at every prenatal! The girl labors started with my water breaking, with some mucous/bloody show having showed up several hours prior to water breaking. The boys water didn’t break and no mucous/bloody show until right before pushing. Weird, huh?!!! I am currently due with #5 in 6 weeks, and really curious what gender this baby is!!!

  16. According to movement, I don’t know that I could have told the difference, but then when I had a girl first, it was twins. 😉 But I was definitely sicker with my girls than with any of my three boys. Of course, that could have been the twin thing again. Maybe one of these days I’ll get an opportunity to see what differences a singleton girly is like in utero. My babies have all been very strong in the womb. My last baby, though, who is a boy was still so much I often worried that something was wrong with him. Then he would move, and whoa! It was a huge movement. He didn’t wiggle or squirm, he rolled. At six months, he’s still very laid back and slow moving most of them time. The others (boys and girls alike) are very active and energetic and strong all the time. Good luck with baby. I’m the same way about obsessing about the labor. Labor is so hard, but soon your sweet little boy will be out and soaking up your love. God bless!

  17. Well. I’ve got one girl and one boy (The boy came first) and neither one hurt me when moving in the womb. I did get more cramps and stuff with the girl, but I took that to be me being 4 years older (38 vs 34)

    It could be I’ve just got enough chub on ME that I don’t feel movement as much with babies in general though.

  18. My experience has been the opposite, My wiggliest in utero, aka “the preborn gymnast” with 2 true knots in the cord was my youngest son. 🙂 He was incredibly active, and at times is was a little too much like the alien movies. He stayed breech till 36 weeks, and did turn on his
    However, I only have 3 babies, 2 boys, 1 girl, so maybe that’s not enough of a sample for a comparison. They were all very close in size, with the first 2 only 1/2 oz difference (Boy & girl) and the last (boy) was only 7 oz more.

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