Pregnancy week 37 – 40: Is Baby Ready to Be Delivered?
Oh wow, you’ve made it to Week 37! This means you’re in the last leg of your pregnancy and baby will be arriving shortly!
With a newborn on its way, have you gotten most of your baby essentials yet?
Week 37: Durian
Your baby is now about the size of a durian! He is between 45 and 53cm long and weighs around 2.7kg to 3.2kg.
From week 37 onwards, your baby is considered “full term” and has a high chance of viability as compared to the earlier weeks.
This week, your baby already has hair of up to 3.5cm and will start shedding languo, the fine hair that he is covered in. He will roll, stretch and wriggle more often, and likes to suck on his thumb. Baby will also stimulate breathing by inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid.
During this period of your pregnancy, it is time to be aware of the changes within your body. If your baby has his head turned towards your pelvic bones, you may experience increasing discomfort due to his weight. Vaginal discharge, which comes in the form of thin, white fluid, is not uncommon and is thought to help suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria. However, if the discharge looks or smells unusual, give your gynaecologist a call. Any vaginal bleeding should also be assessed early by your doctor.
Pregnant mums should stay hydrated to ease your fluid retention, contrary to myths. There are massages you can learn to do for yourself to stretch your perineum to try and avoid an episiotomy or tearing. This is also a good time to pre-register at the hospital to have an easy check-in experience and also to communicate often with your partner about your feelings towards this life-transforming chapter if you haven’t.
With the last pregnancy trimester, that means your baby will be with your little family very soon!
Week 38: Jackfruit
Your baby is now the size of a jackfruit! He may also weigh between 2.9kg to 3.4kg and measures 50 to 58cm long.
Your baby’s gut (digestive system) now contains meconium – the sticky green substance that will form your baby’s first poo after birth, which might include bits of lanugo (fine hair) and vernix, which he was shedding last week. His brain and nervous system are being fine-tuned and his lungs are producing surfactant, a substance that prevents the lung’s air sacs from sticking together when he takes her first breaths.
At 38 weeks pregnant, the pressure of baby’s bead on your bladder is more than ever and you will likely be visiting the bathroom more often. Some mums may also experience diarrhea. This is the period to watch out for the discharge of your mucus plug, also known as a “bloody show”. You may experience Braxton Hicks (which are often mistaken as contractions) more frequently and intensely, which indicates that labour is not far off – stay calm and practice your breathing techniques.
It is common that many mums give birth to their little ones from week 38 onwards, so be prepared with your hospital bag and make any arrangements required for the care of any older children. This is also a good time to discuss with your partner on how he can support your breastfeeding journey. New parents, how prepared are you for your baby’s arrival?
From 37 weeks, your baby is considered to be full term during this pregnancy.
Week 39: Pumpkin
Your baby is now the size of a pumpkin and may be ready to meet the world any time now! He may weigh between 3.1kg and 3.6kg and can measure between 53 to 61cm.
Your baby is full term by now but, especially true for firstborns, your baby is fashionably late although he is all ready to be born. By this week baby has a layer of fat coating to help regulate his body temperature after birth.
By week 39, mummies and daddies are playing the waiting game. Your body prepares for labour and you can look out for indications such as dilation, the “bloody show”, water breaking, strong as well as regular contractions, which are often accompanied by backache and diarrhea.
Week 40: Medium Watermelon
By week 40, your baby is fully grown and is about the size of a medium watermelon. He may weigh between 3.3kg and 3.8kg by now and can measure 55cm to 69cm long.
Your baby might not have realized that he is ready to be born. Having had more time to grow, he might be larger than other newborns but he will send hormones to the placenta to trigger labour once he is ready to be born.
By this week, if you’re not scheduled for a cesarean, there is nothing much mothers can do except to take slow walks or do some light exercise suitable for pregnancy at this stage to help prepare your body for labour. The pressure of baby’s weight on your cervix will help to thin and open it up for your baby’s birth. Due to the weight of the baby, some mothers might experience intermittent shooting pains that start from the lower back or hip and down your legs. These pains usually go away, but if it gets worse, consult your doctor to make sure that nothing else is going on.
How are you feeling during this last leg of your pregnancy? Are you ready to welcome baby? Let us know in the comments!