Your 38th Week
The baby is nearly
ready, you are more than ready, so when is the birth going to happen?
Probably not yet—especially if this is your first pregnancy. For another
week or so, the uterus is still the best place for your baby while the
finishing touches to her development take place. If you have other
children, you can tell them that their new brother or sister won’t keep
everyone waiting much longer.
Even if you have enjoyed your pregnancy, you may be longing for it to be over
You are 37 Weeks and 1 Day 20 days to go…
Start preparing for the birth now: by being practical and positive, you can make it memorable for all the right reasons.
Full term has been reached and your baby’s features are now very
clearly formed. To a certain extent from now on your baby is simply
growing and putting on weight—factors necessary to provide energy after
birth and help with temperature control.
Your baby today
Probably the most effective way
to remember as much as you can about your labor and the birth of your
baby is to try to remain as healthy and rested as possible prior to the
start of your labor; this will give you the best chance of staying
strong and clear-headed throughout.
Feeling strong and
having plenty of energy may also help you remain upright and active
during the course of your labor, reducing the need for pain relief such
which can sometimes cause memory loss that makes it more difficult to
remember the finer details of the birth. It’s also helpful to have your
birth partner with you throughout your labor so that he or she can help
to fill in any blanks later. Photographs and videos are also good
After the birth, if you
find that there are parts you can’t remember, you can ask your doctor
to let you see your birth notes. You might want to write up your
experience in a journal.
Ensure you get plenty of rest in the next few weeks to get you in the best frame of mind for labor and birth.
Being hypnotized during pregnancy can make you more confident in the lead-in to labor.
A study found that
first-time pregnant women also experienced a shorter labor. The average
amount of time they pushed in the second stage was one hour, compared
with the usual two hours for a first baby.
Health professionals and you
When you get closer to the birth, and especially during labor,
you will find that there is inevitably more contact with health
professionals. These individuals are a source of reassurance and a font
of knowledge, but as a male you may sometimes feel that you’re being
sidelined or that your opinion doesn’t count. This can be very
frustrating if you want to be highly involved in the pregnancy and
Bear in mind that the
health professionals are trying to provide care for the person who needs
it the most—namely your partner. If you want to be heard, it’s a good
idea to write down any questions that you may have before you meet with
health professionals. Labor nurses will make every effort to help you to
feel involved, and support you in supporting your partner.
Try to keep in mind
that the most important relationship your partner has is with you, and
that a positive attitude on your part can make a substantial difference
to your partner’s pregnancy and birth. So be patient and persistent but
You are 37 Weeks and 2 Days 19 days to go…
Your baby will benefit from extra time in the uterus, but her development is almost complete and she’s now “full term.”
A 3D close-up of the hand shows the skin folds. Just as
fingerprints are unique, so are the deeper skin folds seen on the hands
and feet. The grasp reflex is strong and your baby will start to grasp
anything that touches the palm of her hand.
Your baby today
There is now less space for your baby to move
and she will soon, if she hasn’t already, settle down into a
comfortable head-down position. The shape of the uterus encourages this
head-down position and, once in it, turning would be a major effort for
your baby. Plenty of amniotic fluid remains to cushion and protect your
baby, who will still be attempting to be very active in this more
Your baby’s behavior
is now exactly the same as a newborn: she’ll turn toward light and yawn
just as much as a newborn, and she’ll continue to practice breathing the
amniotic fluid in and out with regular rhythmical movements.
Your baby will be very cramped
in the uterus. It won’t be long, however, until she’s positioned head
down and begins to engage in the pelvis as she prepares to make her
entry into the world.
Hair down there
One dilemma that’s rarely discussed—but much pondered—among moms-to-be is whether they should shave or trim their pubic hair before giving birth.
It’s really a personal
choice and depends how much it bothers you: just because your best
friend had her pubic hair waxed, you shouldn’t feel pressure to do the
same—aside from anything else, itchy regrowth will not be welcome in the
days following the birth of your baby.
You might want to trim
your pubic hair or use tweezers or shave any stragglers, though, in the
interests of postpartum hygiene. Postpartum blood loss will cling to
If you’ve arranged to have
a cesarean, the top inch (at least) of your pubic hair will be shaved
in hospital, so you may prefer to do this at home yourself.