At 37 weeks, your pregnancy is officially classed as full term- well done! There could, however, still be up to five more weeks to go, so it's important to continue sticking to a healthy diet and to get plenty of rest. Your baby is still busy in there!
Your Baby's Growth:
This week, your baby weighs around 2.8kg and measures up to 48.6cm in length. It's most likely that your baby's head is now firmly positioned in the pelvis, ready for delivery. This position is also optimum for the essential leg and buttock growth that is now taking place.
Your baby is likely to have a full head of hair by now and general growth is beginning to slow down. Now, your baby is beginning to practise for 'life on the outside' with new techniques such as breathing, sucking and sleeping being perfected.
When you see your care provider this week, they may do an internal exam to see how you are progressing as labour can begin anytime now. This exam is not comfortable but your practitioner will check three things: dilation (how open your cervix is), ripeness (how soft your cervix is) and effacement (how thin your cervix is). For baby to come on out, the cervix must be open to 10 centimeters, as soft as the skin on the inside of your mouth and 100 percent effaced.
After the exam, you may have a brownish spotting which is normal but if you notice any bright red discharge or consistent spotting, call your care provider immediately. Also, as you get closer to giving birth, you may find an increase in gooey discharge in the last few weeks.
You may find that you are feeling more tired this week- and it's no surprise considering the extra weight and low position of the baby! Make the most of your free time- get plenty of gentle exercise (walking or swimming) but make sure you get lots of rest too. You may also experience Braxton Hicks contractions. These are the body's natural way of preparing for the real thing and should not be too painful. Try taking a warm bath to ease any discomfort. If you're concerned about whether or not they are the real thing, Braxton Hicks tend to ease away in warm water.
Now is also the time when you may be going through a cleaning mode as you are preparing for the baby by nesting. You may find the urge to clean the house, organize closets and prepare last minute details before your baby comes. These are all natural but be weary of tiring yourself out too much.
From the Eyes of a TBS Mama...
This week, I am feeling very tired, which doesn't help when the toddler decides to get up extra early! I'm feeling the strain of lifting and carrying him in my back now so am I trying to limit the number of times I give in! My bump definitely feels a lot lower this week and a visit with my consultant has confirmed that the baby is finally head down- so this explains a lot!
Emotionally, I am beginning to worry about small things, such as will I find a suitable double buggy and will my co-sleeping cot be delivered in time? I'm also trying to prepare the toddler for the new baby as much as I can but I think it will still be a bit of a shock for him. My husband and I are taking about the baby a lot and he got to hear the heartbeat at the hospital this week, which is good.
In the meantime, I will leave you with a line from one of my favourite songs by Bob Dylan. This is something that I have been thinking about a lot lately, for both my children and the precious baby I am soon to meet!
May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
Go ahead to Week 38