Pregnancy - 37-40 weeks
By Adela Stockton. About the author
What is happening to mother
You may start to experience an urge to prepare your home for your new baby (nesting) and begin a flurry of cleaning, washing even decorating. Your baby is at term from 37 weeks of gestation and is ready to be born at any time from then until 42 weeks. Imagining what your baby will look like can occupy your thoughts and you may find yourself laying out the clothes, nappies and other items that you have bought or been given for your baby in preparation.
Now is a good time to spend some quiet time focussing in on your baby and encouraging her to prepare for the journey of labour and birth that you are soon to share.
What is happening to baby
Your baby loses her lanugo once she is at term, although she may be born with a creamy moisturising substance (vernix) on parts of her body that will dissolve naturally soon after birth. Her eye colour will not establish until around one month after she is born. At 40 weeks of gestation she will measure around 36.5cms and weigh around 3.25kg, although at this stage her size can vary a great deal.
Things to think about
Ideally your baby will be lying with her head down and her back towards your front side by 36 weeks. If she is in a breech position (bottom down), you may be offered the option of external cephalic version where your consultant will try to turn her and failing that advise you to have a caesarean birth. AIMS provide comprehensive literature about your options for Breech birth and if you are keen to have your baby vaginally, it is worth exploring the alternatives now.
If you have had a caesarean birth last time around and are planning a Vaginal Birth (VBAC) this time, again AIMS provide a useful booklet on this subject.
One aspect that often gets overlooked in preparation for birth is your choice for your 3rd stage of labour (delivery of placenta). AIMS's literature on this can also be useful in helping you to make an informed decision.
It is worth really preparing for how you would like your labour to go by writing a birth plan in advance and this is something that your doula can help you and your partner with. Your birth plan outlines all your wishes as well as the things you would like to avoid, so that your midwife may inform herself clearly and be prepared to support your intentions.