Week 37

Your baby this week

6.3

POUNDS IN WEIGHT

The circumference of her head is equal to that of her chest.

Your baby is really making use of those facial muscles.

Her digestive system is continuing to mature.

How big is your baby?

Remember that iconic line from the film ‘Dirty Dancing’ where Baby says “I carried a watermelon”? Well that’s you right now! Your baby is measuring almost 49cm (19.1in) and weighing 2.9kg (6.3lb), which makes her about the size of a watermelon. The only difference here of course is that you can’t put yours down.

How big is your baby?

Remember that iconic line from the film ‘Dirty Dancing’ where Baby says “I carried a watermelon”? Well that’s you right now! Your baby is measuring almost 49cm (19.1in) and weighing 2.9kg (6.3lb), which makes her about the size of a watermelon. The only difference here of course is that you can’t put yours down.

What does your baby look like?

She looks like a very slightly smaller version of her newborn self, albeit pulling faces with her newly discovered facial muscle control. Interestingly, the circumference of her head is equal to that of her chest and will stay that way until after birth.

Changes in your body this week

There are no real changes per se in your body this week. You’re now in your 37th week of pregnancy and your body is working hard to support your almost-ready-to-be-born-baby. If you’re suffering late pregnancy symptoms such as heartburn and piles, the chances are that these might intensify over the final weeks. But if you’re sick of pregnancy, the good news is that you’re nearly at the end. Your baby is now classed as full term which means she could be born any day now. Tips for your last days of pregnancy are pretty straightforward ones; eat well, get plenty of rest and try to have everything sorted for the baby in advance of the birth.

How your baby is developing

By week 37 of pregnancy, your baby is really making use of those facial muscles. She’s using them to practise her frowns, grimaces and pouts – which you’ll probably see plenty of in the years ahead. She may even come out smiling.

Her digestive system is also continuing to mature, but it will carry on doing this right through your baby’s early years. Her small intestine will grow more than 100cm in the first twelve months after birth.

How your baby is developing

By week 37 of pregnancy, your baby is really making use of those facial muscles. She’s using them to practise her frowns, grimaces and pouts – which you’ll probably see plenty of in the years ahead. She may even come out smiling.

Her digestive system is also continuing to mature, but it will carry on doing this right through your baby’s early years. Her small intestine will grow more than 100cm in the first twelve months after birth.

Health concerns

Having your baby in the right position for labour at the start can make a potentially long, drawn-out process a lot more bearable. This optimal fetal positioning can be encouraged by:

  • Tilting your pelvis forward, rather than back, as you sit – try turning your chair around and leaning forward onto the back
  • Keeping your knees lower than your hips while you sit
  • Scrubbing the kitchen floor! Just ten minutes a day on your hands and knees is enough to push a pesky baby into the right position

Are there any symptoms you should be looking out for?

Yes. A change in your baby’s movements. This concern is highlighted again and again throughout pregnancy, but it’s done so for a reason. Studies have shown that ten babies a day in the UK are stillborn. Whilst there will always be outside factors which increase the risk of stillbirth, such as not attending antenatal appointments, smoking, and drinking alcohol – knowing your baby’s movements can potentially alert you to something going wrong.

By week 37 your baby will probably have settled into some sort of sleep-wake cycle and you might know what stimulates her to wriggle. If you notice a change in her movements, and your usual tricks (drinking ice cold water for example) that usually encourage her to kick aren’t working, it’s essential you phone your labour ward immediately. Even if this is the fifth time it’s happened this week. Medical staff will always prefer to monitor a healthy baby than deliver a stillborn one.

Safety first

Are you having trouble sleeping? Lots of pregnant women do in the last few weeks. However, don’t rely on either prescription, or over the counter, tablets (unless expressly prescribed for this problem by your doctor) as lots of these remedies can be unsuitable for pregnant women. Instead, try a warm drink before bed and a proper, relaxing bedtime routine.

Important issues this week

Now is a good time to decide on your birth companion plans. Your chosen person is usually your partner, but also, very commonly, women opt for their mother, sister or best friend to be with them instead/as well. The role of the birth partner is to give you practical and emotional support during labour. Whether this is your fourth birth, or your first, firming up your ideals and expectations can help everything go ahead as planned.

Having continuous one to one support is very important to labouring women. Studies suggest that having this support can mean that your labour is shorter and you are less likely to need medical intervention. Your birth partner can also help with breathing techniques, physical support and be in charge of keeping a calm atmosphere.

With the best will in the world, your midwife probably won’t be able to ensure your continuous care will be carried out by one single medical professional. If your labour is long then there are likely to be shift changes and if the labour ward is busy your midwife is likely to have other patients to look after at the same time. Having a continuous presence by your side, such as your partner, will help you feel more grounded as the day or night moves on around you.

Keeping fit, staying healthy

Pregnancy insomnia; it’s really a ‘thing’. It’s caused by hormones (of course), disturbed nights as you trot to and from the bathroom, and anxiety about impending labour/having a newborn – or all three. To help you get a good night’s sleep before the baby arrives (because you can almost guarantee that it won’t happen once she’s here) try these tips:

  • Make sure that any stresses or worries are dealt with. Leaning on your partner or family for emotional support is very important.
  • Eat dinner earlier and more slowly, to minimise heartburn issues.
  • Steer clear of all caffeinated drinks before bed.
  • Try to get fresh air and exercise every day, even if it’s just walking the dog around the block or standing outside for 15 minutes.
  • Create a bedtime routine that sees you wind down gradually and easily for bed.
  • Pillows! Invest in pillows. They’re a great support for your back, your bump and between your knees. The more cushioned you are, the more secure you will feel and subconsciously the better you will sleep.

Looking forward; planning ahead

Having a homebirth? Your midwife will be bringing you a home birth pack any day now. Around 2.3% of women give birth at home, and the midwife will bring everything that she needs to assist you in labour, but you will also need to augment this with a few bits yourself:

  • Plastic sheeting (or binbags) to protect carpets, etc.
  • Newspaper or old blankets to cover the bathroom floor and your route to it
  • Old sheets to go over the plastic
  • Plenty of clean towels
  • A warm blanket for the baby
  • Large bowls in case you vomit during labour
  • Extra bin liners for rubbish/dirty linen

Giving birth in the comfort of your home can be a rewarding experience, but the necessary preparations must be made beforehand.

Important – If you or your child are unwell you should seek medical advice from a professional – contact your GP or visit an A&E department in an emergency. While My BabyManual strives to provide dependable and trusted information on pregnancy and childcare 24/7 via our website pages, we cannot provide individual answers to specific healthcare questions.
Please sign in to comment on this article.
Be the first to write a comment on this article.