You're in the home stretch!
Baby: Baby is gaining about ½ pound per week, and may have occasional hiccups that you feel.
Mom: You may be continuing to feel forgetful and have mood swings. Some normal changes in your mood cause symptoms similar to those of depression. Talk to your health care provider to discuss symptoms of depression. For more information on depression, visit our online health library.
Baby: Your baby is now strong enough to grasp your finger, and kicks and jabs are more forceful.
Mom: You may be increasingly more uncomfortable, but continue your normal daily activities unless your health care provider advises not to.
If you are sexually active, you can get STD’s while pregnant. Protect yourself and your baby by using a condom or other barrier method. If concerned, get tested.
Baby: Your baby’s senses are all developed, and it can sense changes in light since its eyes can open now.
Mom: You may be experiencing practice contractions, called, Braxton Hicks contractions, in preparation for labor. You are still too early (less than 37 weeks is considered preterm) to have baby at this time, so if you are experiencing any of the following signs, lie down on your left side for 1 hour and drink 2-3 glasses of water. If these signs do not go away, call your health care provider.
Preterm labor signs include
- contractions of the uterus (6 or more in one hour)
- stomach cramps (with or without diarrhea) that come and go, or don’t go away
- fluid leaking from the vagina
- spotting or bleeding
- pressure that feels like the baby is pushing down
- low, dull backache
Baby: Baby’s bones are fully formed, but still soft, and its body begins to store vital minerals, such as iron and calcium. Baby is about 15-17 inches long and weighs about 4 to 4 ½ pounds.
Mom: Continue to eat well, making sure to include vegetables and cereals rich in iron and calcium, since baby is storing these now. Your breasts may be leaking “colostrum”, which is a thin yellowish liquid, and is the first milk you make for breastfeeding when baby is born. Your health care provider will instruct you how to start doing “kick counts.”
Baby: Baby’s bones are getting stronger, and the brain continues to grow.
Mom: You may be feeling warmer than usual due to your increased metabolism. Kegel (kay-gul) exercises strengthen your pelvic muscles and help you prepare for delivery. Ask your health care provider when and how to do them.
Baby: Vernix that has been protecting baby’s skin for weeks now gets thicker. Baby’s body fat increases and baby has less wiggle room.
Mom: You are continuing to go to your prenatal visits often, and need to keep your safety a priority, like always wearing your seat belt when riding in a vehicle. For proper positioning of your seat belt during pregnancy, visit: https://www.safercar.gov/parents/SeatBelts/Pregnancy-Seat-Belt-Safety.htm
Baby: Your baby is growing, and probably putting more pressure on your bladder, sending you to the bathroom more often.
Mom: Between 35-37 weeks, your health care provider will perform a screening test for group B strep (also called GBS). This test is not painful, and uses a cotton tipped like swab to obtain samples from the vagina and rectum. Your provider will probably let you know the results of the test at your next prenatal visit. If your result of the GBS test is positive, then antibiotics will be given to you intravenously during labor to help prevent the bacteria from causing infection in your baby.
Baby: Baby is now 16-19 inches long, and weighs 6 to 6 ½ pounds, and may have even descended more in your pelvis, so that you can breathe more easily.
Mom: You may begin having weekly prenatal visits by end of this week. Time to pack your bags for the hospital.
If you don’t have one already, now’s the time to purchase your infant (rear-facing) car seat. Visit: https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats for more information about child safety seats.
Baby: By the end of 37 weeks, your baby is considered full term. Baby’s brain and organs continue to mature and grow until birth, so it is important for baby to come as close to the due date as possible.
Mom: Continue to eat healthy, be as active as your provider recommends, and avoid being around secondhand smoke as much as possible. Secondhand smoke can harm you and your unborn baby. Your baby could be born too early or too small to be healthy, have breathing problems, or be at risk for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Ask people not to smoke around you.
Baby: Baby is gaining about an ounce per day and is most likely in a head-down position, ready for birth.
Mom: Talk to your health care provider about the signs of labor:
- crampy contractions that are long, strong, close together and do not go away
- water breakage or leakage
- vaginal bleeding (bloody show)
- and any other instructions that you need to know along with when to come in to the hospital.
Baby: Baby’s brain continues to grow and its organs are ready to function on their own.
Mom: You will continue weekly visits to your health care provider, and may even experience signs of labor.
When you come to the hospital, the following will be evaluated, just like at your prenatal visits:
- blood pressure check
- urine specimen (to check for protein)
- weight check.
If you think you may be having contractions, start timing them. You may need to stop what you’re doing so you can focus on the contractions. Keep up with your contraction frequency by the amount of time from the start of one contraction to the start of the next. The length of a contraction is the number of seconds it lasts. Ask your health care provider about frequency of contractions and when to come to the hospital.
Baby: Baby is fully developed and ready for birth! Healthy babies come in many different sizes, but the average baby weighs between 6 pounds 2 ounces and 9 pounds 2 ounces, and is 19 to 21 inches long.
Mom: Most women give birth within two weeks before or after their due dates. About 10% of pregnancies go postterm (past 41 weeks).
- keep your prenatal appointments
- keep track of baby’s movements
- evaluate contractions
- and rest as much as possible
You’ve got a big event coming up!