Pregnancy Week 3746 Comments
Your Baby's Development This Week
Congratulations! Your baby is officially full term this week! That means while every day baby stays in the womb is good, if your baby were to be born this week, everything should go smoothly. The baby is likely over 19" and around 6 1/2 pounds, but now is the time for considerable variation depending on your family genes, the individual pregnancy, and gender. Yep, baby boys tend to be heavier. While baby doesn't have the room for the gymnastics of just weeks ago, the baby is staying quite busy practicing for being a newborn, "breathing" by inhaling/exhaling amniotic fluid, sucking on thumb or fingers, blinking and playing an intrauterine version of flashlight tag. The uterine wall is thinning these last weeks, making light more able to penetrate to baby. Baby will turn towards the light now.
Pregnancy Symptoms You May Feel During Week 36
Amniotic fluid is on the decrease, and Braxton Hicks contractions are on the increase. While baby is practicing for life outside the uterus, your body is focused on preparing for labor. One sign that you're nearing the end is when you lose the mucus plug, or have your bloody show. The mucus plug is just what it sounds like and has been present at the opening of your cervix throughout your pregnancy to prevent bacteria from entering. When the cervix begins to thin and dilate, you will eventually lose that mucus plug. It can be clear and stringy, or pink or blood-tinged and sticky. Some women may not even notice losing it, as the vaginal discharge has become so heavy towards the end of the pregnancy. While it is a sign labor is on the way, don't take that bag out to the car just yet. Labor might be mere hours away, or days or even (sorry!) weeks off. However, if the discharge is suddenly bright red and adds up to more than a couple tablespoons, call your physician immediately. That could signal a placenta problem and requires quick care.
Visit With the Obstetrician
You're probably seeing a great deal of your health care provider at this point, probably every week. The big focus now will be on looking for signs of labor. The doctor will be checking the baby's position in relation to your pelvis, termed "engagement." The doctor might tell you what station the baby's head is at. (If indeed the baby has cooperated and is now heads down. Approximately 25% of babies opt for breech presentation.) Don't be thrown off by unfamiliar terms, just ask for a clear explanation. Next, the doctor will see if your cervix seems to be ripening. The closer labor is the softer the cervix will be. Is it thinning out, and moving towards the front of your vagina? Has it started to open or dilate yet? For birth you will dilate to 10 centimeters. However, the mystery will remain no matter what station baby is at, or how dilated and effaced your cervix is. Some women progress slow and steady, like a slow cooker, while others will go from dilated to 1 to labor in an afternoon, like a microwave.
Preparing for Baby
Since baby can be born anytime now, this would be an excellent time to go through those bags you have packed and make sure everything is accounted for. Then you could take a trial run to the hospital to make sure you've got it down. The quickest route may not always be the best route depending on how intense and far along your labor is when you start the journey. If you can spare a few minutes, you might relish the smoother main roads as opposed to the rough back ones for instance. Nothing like potholes during the peak of a contraction! It's always a good idea to have an alternative route as a back up.
Sometimes Mother Nature gives you a bump in energy the last couple weeks of pregnancy, and you might be lulled into thinking life will be simpler with baby than reality will reveal. For that reason, do everything ahead of time that you can. Have that nursery stocked and ready to go. Get those baby clothes washed up, folded and put away. Have everything you need put together, set up and ready to go. Make some meals ahead of time and freeze them. Buy some simple convenience meals, and have take out numbers and pizza coupons handy. Don't waste any of your stored up meals when you have help with you. Wait til Grandma goes home to break out the frozen chili. You'll be glad you did!
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