Pregnancy Week 37
Wow, you are so close to your baby! You have almost passed all the hurdles, pains, aches and emotional upheavals with success and finally reached the week which is safe in every sense for your baby (until and unless, you face any last minute complications). If born in this week, your baby will survive without any issues of prematurity.
However, you still have 2-3 weeks to go so better try to occupy your mind in some interesting and motivating things otherwise only waiting can be unbearable.
Growth and Development of Baby
With only three more weeks to go, you are quite close to your due date. Though, doctors still not consider any baby at 37 weeks to be full term, you are on a safer side. The babies born at this stage are likely to thrive very well without any external support. However, their growth is still not complete as they are packing on ½ ounce every day.
At 37 weeks, your baby weighs around 6 1/3 pounds and measures about 19 inches in length. Doctors generally consider baby as full term in 39 weeks as in these two weeks, the baby’s lungs and brain will be fully mature. If you are thinking of C-section, your doctor will give you some date after 39 weeks.
When your baby was 30 weeks, he carried only 30 grams of fat but now, at 37 weeks, it has multiplied several times, making it 16% of total weights of the body. This means that fat has increased quite manifold in its proportion in these last few weeks. If a baby is born on time, he or she will have a small pad of breast tissue under his nipples and their fingernails must have reached to the tips.
By now, many babies have full head of hair which are around 1 ½ inches in length. However, you must not expect that color of his hair shall be as yours. The baby’s tummy is filled with green sticky waste products known as meconium which will be baby’s first potty.
The baby’s immune system is developing and after birth, your breast feed will provide him with necessary antibodies.
The vernix layer and lanugo hair have disappeared to much extent but if babies are born in this week, they tend to have these on their body. The baby is busy in practicing his easy exit through inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid, sucking his thumb, blinking and other activities.
Generally, boys carry more weight than girls and this is the reason women carrying boys feel lesser kicking, stretching, rolling or wiggling than the women carrying girls.
At birth, all babies have their head equal to their hips, abdomen and shoulders. However, a few weeks after birth, the head grows in size faster as compared to other parts.
The testes of the boys must have descended from the groin to their scrotum. The placenta is also big enough to cover 1/3 of the inner surface of uterus. It can now process around 12 liters of blood per hour.
Changes in Mother’s Body
- At 37 weeks, you are almost prepared for delivery. By anytime, you can go into labor. However, when you will go into labor, your doctor will verify the same through different ways. First of all he/she will notice the dilation of cervix. For the vaginal birth of the baby, it must open to around ten centimeters with cervical ripeness. Next, your doctor will take notice of the effacement of cervix as it should be 100% effaced before the baby comes out. Last but not the least, your baby’s position in respect to your pelvis is assessed. However, you must know that they are just clues to tell that you are progressing in your labor. These processes can gradually occur over a period of weeks or in a month or even overnight. So, be prepared for the labor soon.
- The vaginal discharge will be more to cause you wear panty liners for extra absorbency. It may be profuse, itchy, smells unusual, don’t be concerned. This is a normal outcome of the pelvic engorgement and hormonal activity.
- As your baby is quite big as compared to the room he lives in, you may feel sharp, electrified feeling in your bladder. You may feel as if you are going to be wet but don’t be concerned too much. This is just your baby engaging in your pelvis as the baby’s head is very near the bladder. Change your positions to be comfortable.
- In 37th week, you start feeling quite close to your baby. You get excited and imagine your baby face, visualize holding him. You may even get worried or frightened with some negative thoughts that include some kind of harm to your baby.
- Along with your expanding waistline, your breasts are equally expanding. They are sensitive and painful. There is leakage which signals that they are full of milk and ready for the baby to breastfeed.
- Although, your pregnancy weeks had been quite tiring, exhausting and uncomfortable, most women feel unhappy with the thought of meeting the end of pregnancy. They have become so close to their baby, feel the movements that they have set a relationship with it. Some of you may even fear that you may not love your baby while others fear that they will be not so good parents. Well, it is common to have all these nagging thoughts, but just remember that babies can themselves make you fall in love with them.
You must be anxiously waiting for the big day. Apart from being eager in these days, you can try perineal massage which would help you in gently stretching the perineum. This will help you prevent stinging that occurs when baby’s head crowns during childbirth. Moreover, you will prevent yourself from episiotomy and tearing.
How to do Perineal Massage
First of all clean your hands and trim your nails. Now, lubricate your thumbs and put them inside your vagina. Press down towards the rectum and slide thumbs across the bottom and sides of perineum. Pull gently outward and forward with your thumb still in vagina. This will help in stretching the skin as the baby’s head does during labor. It would be nice if you continue the good work until the delivery day.
Some Important Tips to Consider
- You will soon return to your normal self although with some drastic changes. So, why not save these movements forever. Click your pictures with the almost full term baby bump. Write down your measurements. Looking back at these memories will be wonderful.
- Amidst the anxiety and excitement, you must be feeling tired and worn out of lugging your baby bump around. We can very well understand this but just be happy by thinking that there is not long left to go. Try to take rest and relax and chill as much as possible. Be watchful for your early signs of labor like waters breaking, contractions, seeing “show”, and bloody mucus discharge. In case of any signs, call your doctor for the necessary advice.
- Try to get more and more information about childbirth. Make your knowledge equipped about labor and delivery. If you will be informed, you will be a participant in your child’s birth, rather than being an observer. Make a list of all emergency contacts and always place them by your side to be sent in case of emergency.
- Get ready for the hospital and pack your bags. Put in toiletries, clothing for you and your baby, nappies, medications, health insurance details, contact list of family and friends, pillow, etc. Also, keep your partner informed of all your essentials as he can always bring them to you.
- Make sure that you have results of Group B tests in your hands as it will be required in last few minutes of labor.
- Sleeping well is quite tough. If possible, try to be comfortable throughout the day as this may be your last chance to sit quite for a while. Though, the baby has turned quite lazy due to less space, he or she should still have an active time, so keep monitoring his movements.
- If you haven’t written a birth plan yet, either do it or you can also tell the caregivers and nurses about your choices and preferences when you reach hospital for delivery.
We have talked a lot about the anxiety and excitement of the mums-to-be but what about their male counterparts. All dads-to-be are equally bewildered and shell shocked with the imminent arrival of the baby. First of all, they are noticing many changes in their home. All the preparations done for the nursery and baby arrival will make you believe that life is going to change soon.
Though, it’s the mothers who will be living sleepless nights due to breastfeeds and all but dads equally have disturbed day and night after baby. So, you also take as much rest as possible. Hang around with your friends and have a good time as you may not get the opportunity later.
Keep your worries and anxiety aside and just focus on the thought of holding the baby. Everything will fall into place on its own.
One Interesting Fact
Women, who have relatively shorter menstrual cycle, go early into labor while they will overdue if they have relatively longer cycle. With women having 28 days cycle, babies generally arrive on or near due date.
Labor can occur anytime now, so be prepared to make the mad dash to the hospital. Before you go, remember that supreme power GOD to help you in the tough time and give you the necessary strength. After all, whatever the science says, it’s the GOD’s creation.