Your developing baby
Congratulations! You have reached full-term which means your baby can be born at any time. While you are considered as full-term at 37 weeks you may not actually deliver until week 41 or later if this is your first baby. Don’t worry; you’ll meet your baby very soon. If this is your second baby, you might want to discuss with your midwife, having a vaginal birth after a caesarean (VBAC).
If you could see your baby now he would look like a newborn and has a plumper appearance then a few weeks ago. Your baby’s lungs are now fully developed and he would need no help to breathe if he were to be born tonight.
Lanugo, the hair that covered and protected your baby in the womb has mostly shed now, but the creamy white substance know as vernix still covers your baby and may help him ease downwards through the birth canal. Some babies are born with a head of hair and some are bald or have bald patches. Whatever the state of the hair when it comes out isn’t likely to stay. Most babies’ hair falls out in the first few months, sometimes to be replaced by a different colour or texture.
Your developing body
You may have noticed that your bump has changed shape around this time as your baby drops lower down to prepare for its journey through the birth canal. People may remark that you have ‘dropped’, but you are probably glad, as the discomfort of feeling cramped and breathless may have eased slightly. At this stage your placenta weighs about 1.5lbs and adds to the extra weight you are carrying. The placenta’s job is nearly done.
As the joints and ligaments continue to loosen in preparation for labour, you will probably experience different aches and pains in your lower abdomen, pelvis and lower back. If you feel up to it, swimming can help because of the weightlessness and being able to take the pressure of your body off your back and legs. Rest as much as possible because very soon you will have a tiny newborn and resting won’t be quite the same…
Have you packed your labour bag yet? Your baby can come anytime now so make sure you visit our section on what to pack in your labour bag to prepare yourself. Twiddling your fingers and feeling frustrated waiting for your baby to arrive? Visit our Baby Namer for last minute inspiration to add to your list of baby names.