Your developing baby
You will probably start having antenatal checks about once a week now until you give birth so you and your baby can be monitored for any problems such as pre-eclampsia.
Your baby’s fingernails are tiny but fully formed and very sharp. You may have to cut them as soon as your baby is born or invest in a pair of scratch gloves for him to wear.
You have probably realised your baby is no longer somersaulting and wriggling as much as space inside the uterus is getting cramped as your baby continues to grow and put on weight. Spare a thought for those mothers carrying twins! Your baby still sleeps for about 90 per cent of the day and this pattern will continue after he is born. Some new mums are surprised by how much sleep a newborn needs and find themselves twiddling their thumbs. You’d be better off stealing 40 winks whilst your baby sleeps to catch up on sleep missed during the night. Fat is deposited under your baby’s cheeks this week adding the final touches to that chubby baby grin you’ll soon see.
Your developing body
If your baby has started moving down the uterus or has moved into a headfirst position you may feel a little respite on your stomach and lungs. Breathing should be easier, and indigestion and heartburn should be less of a problem because your baby is no longer crammed up against your ribcage.
During your weekly antenatal checks you will be checked for signs of pre-eclampsia but it is worth knowing the warning signs before in case it happens. If you suddenly swell up, particularly on your face, see flashing lights or spots especially when you rest, have high blood pressure and protein is present in your wee, you may have pre-eclampsia. The only cure for pre-eclampsia is delivery of your baby and at this stage of pregnancy (unless your baby is breech and a C-section may be required) you will probably be induced to bring on labour.
Have you started to notice all the dust lurking around your house? Or suddenly decided to tackle the boxes in the attic? This could be the nesting instinct, an urge some women get just before their babies are due to clean, scrub and polish. Interestingly, mothers in the animal kingdom display the same instinct just before their babies are due and find themselves busy making nests or burrows.
Whether you are intending to use natural pain relief methods in labour or you want to know more about the drugs available, read up now so you are fully prepared for any eventuality. You won’t know what labour is going to feel like until it happens, so try to be as flexible as possible. There are as many women who opted for pain relief as there are who thought they would need it and didn’t.