37-40 weeks pregnant
Your baby now completely fills your womb, and there’s less space for movement.
Things to do
|The number of movements tends to increase until 32 weeks of pregnancy, and then stay about the same, although the type of movement may change as you get nearer to your due date. Often, if you are busy, you may not notice all of these movements. Importantly, you should continue to feel your baby move right up to the time you go into labour. Your baby should move during labour too. If you notice your baby is moving less than usual or if you have noticed a change in the pattern of movements, it may be the first sign that your baby is unwell, and therefore it is essential that you contact your midwife or local maternity unit immediately so that your baby’s wellbeing can be assessed.Physically, you’re probably feeling uncomfortable. Your back and pelvis may ache, and you feel heavy, ungainly and weary. This is the ‘beached whale’ stage at its worst.|
Emotionally, you may feel calm and focused, or fed up and impatient, or excited, or nervous, or maybe all of these.Some women experience a nesting instinct – an urge to get their home ready for the arrival of their baby.
If you have the energy, get on with household tasks that you won’t have time for after your baby’s born.
You may be experiencing
The likelihood of your baby arriving on its due date is about 1 in 20, though 8 out of 10 babies arrive within 10 days of when they’re due.
Even so, don’t be surprised if you go one, two or even more weeks beyond your due date (remember it’s only anEstimated Date of Delivery!) Although this waiting time can be very difficult, it will pass. One thing is sure: sooner – or later – your baby will be born.
|In the last month of pregnancy, your baby is gaining about 200gm a week.All systems are now functioning and he is ready to begin life as a separate being. Most of the fine hair that was covering his body has rubbed off, though some babies are born with a little of this remaining, especially across the top of the back.|
Much of the vernix (see 17-20 weeks) has gone too, though there’s often still some in the creases of the skin.
During this time your baby will be getting into position ready for labour to start. It may help him get into a favourable position if you spend some time each day in a forward-leaning position - kneeling on the floor, leaning on a stool, maybe, or sitting at a table, legs apart and resting your arms on the table top.
Swimming on your front is also good. When resting try to avoid sitting slumped backwards, feet up. Instead lie well over on your side, knees bent.
|Finalise your preparations for labour. Make sure your birth plan is ready.Keep a list of important phone numbers near the phone so that you can contact your midwife or the hospital quickly if you need to.|
If you have your medical notes yourself, put them where you can find them easily and carry them with you when you go out.
Make sure that you know how to contact your birth partner at all times.
If you’re having your baby in hospital, get your transport
Get your hair cut – you’ll be too busy for hair appointments in the first few weeks after your baby’s born.
You’ll probably be having weekly antenatal appointments.
All pregnancies are different, so don’t worry if you’re not experiencing everything exactly as it says here.
Reviewed babyworld midwife Hannah Hulme Hunter