Your baby has officially reached what is considered full gestation. Don’t be alarmed if baby wants to stick around a bit longer though. If you need to induce or require a Cesarean section, your doctor may schedule it starting this week. Your little one measures in at the size of a jackfruit! If born this week, your baby would weigh around 8-9.2 pounds and measure around 20 inches long. Babies fluctuate in birth weight and length; so don’t be surprised if your child is a little more or less.
If baby is still snuggly located in your womb, your placenta is providing your little one with plenty of antibodies to help fight off infections during the first six months of life. If your little one is born, they’ll get a super dose of antibodies in your colostrum. That’s the thin, yellowish material that develops in your breasts before milk (and also what may have been leaking in your bras recently). If you breastfeed, your body will continue to produce antibodies, which will be passed along to keep your baby healthy and strong.
Baby has been enjoying the fetal position quite a bit lately so you can expect to see your little one maintaining this posture for a while after birth. While your child will enjoy the occasional stretch, you’ll find they enjoy curling tightly in a ball the greater portion of time. Your child may find comfort in swaddling, since it replicates the cramped quarters.
After delivery you may notice your baby has a bit of a cone-shaped head. Don’t be alarmed – it’s because the bone plates in your child’s head have shifted slightly to accommodate the journey down the birth canal. You can expect that to go away within a few days.
At this point in your pregnancy, you’re probably happy to see it reach its end. Pregnancy is beautiful and incredible, but your body has gone through a world of changes in the last several months and you’re probably ready to see your toes again!
But try as you might, baby might just not be ready yet. Don’t worry, because you won’t be considered “post-term” for a few more weeks. In fact, if your estimated due date was based off of the date of your last period, it may be a bit inaccurate anyway. Not all women ovulate on the same schedule so you may find yours just occurs a bit later in the cycle.
You can expect a visit to your practitioner to check on baby’s health to make sure all is still well. A biophysical profile (BPP) will evaluate your tiny child’s muscle movement, muscle tone, breathing, and amniotic fluid levels via ultrasound. You can also expect a fetal heart rate test (sometimes called a non-stress test or NST) as well. Lastly, your doctor will evaluate the condition of your cervix to see if you’re “ripening” for delivery.
As ready as you are for baby to make the big debut, there’s no need to try those old wives’ tales to get the ball rolling. That means that intercourse, nipple stimulation, castor oil laxatives, extra walking, and herbal remedies likely won’t have any impact on your baby’s arrival. When baby is ready you’ll feel the contractions and know it’s time.
Instead, use the time to get a little extra sleep while you can! You’re in the home stretch and your body will appreciate the extra relaxation. Use this time to get some reading in or wrap up your favorite television series while you still have some time of your own.
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