Pregnancy Weeks 37, 38, 39 and 40
The end is nigh! As you officially enter Week 37, your final countdown to labour begins. Your doctor will see you every week until you go into labour.
Ready to Pop
At this stage, even if you give birth now, your baby will not be considered preterm. On average your baby will be around 3 to 4 kilograms by now, and if you’re gaining more than your target weight, your doctor will give you recommendations on how to slow down the weight gain so as to make labour easier for you.
If you have a complication in your pregnancy such as gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia, your doctor may advise you to give birth sooner. You may be induced to start labour or have the baby via caesarean section (C-section).
Your Baby is Getting Ready Too
Your third trimester scan will show your baby’s position. Your baby may rotate and their head may slowly move down into your pelvis. If this hasn’t happened yet, your doctor may offer to try and alter the baby’s position through applying pressure on your abdomen (known as an external cephalic version). If that’s unsuccessful, you might need a C-section.
Your baby will shed their lanugo hair if they haven’t already, and their lungs are close to maturity, preparing for baby’s first breath. The guts now contain meconium — baby’s first poop. If your baby passes waste in your womb, he or she could inhale some through the amniotic fluid, which can cause distress. You’ll be monitored closely and if necessary be induced.
Look Out for the Signs
Because you’ll likely go into labour in these few weeks, watch out for the signs — contraction pains, breaking of your waters, the pink mucus plug — and be ready to call your obstetrician when you feel labour is close to starting.
Even if you don’t see those signs, you’ll likely feel increased pressure in your abdomen and pelvis. Be patient, your baby might just be getting a little too comfortable in your womb! If you’ve passed 40 weeks and there is still no sign of labour, you may be offered an induction of labour.
It’s a good idea to have your bag ready to go with all the essentials, in case you need to rush to the hospital.
Be ready to meet your baby — the next step in your journey to motherhood is close!