You are 38 Weeks and 2 Days 12 days to go…

Although your baby will be born with beautifully big eyes, it will be some time before he will see clearly at a distance.

Your baby today

Although your baby’s head is deep within your pelvis, it will remain rounded in shape. It is not until labor starts that the bones of the skull move closer to each other, elongating the shape of the head, and allowing your baby to pass more easily along the birth canal.

Your baby’s eyes are almost their adult size at birth. Although the eyes continue to grow very slightly until adolescence, and the lens within the eye grows throughout life, the eye is three-quarters of its adult size at birth. Both color (cones) and black and white visual cells (rods) are present in the retina but vision is still rather poor—equivalent to being able to just see the top letter of the optician’s chart. This is referred to as 20/400 vision. This means than if the baby could read, then he could read a letter at 20 ft (6 m) that a person with perfect vision could read when 400 ft (122 m) away. Because of this, your newborn may not seem to pay much attention at first; he’ll have some difficulty focusing and his eye muscles will be quite weak. He will, however, be able to see objects 12 in (30 cm) away; since this is roughly the distance between your breast and face, it means your baby can see your face as he nurses.

He’ll be six to eight weeks old before fixing onto and following an object, four months before he can judge distances, and two years of age before his vision has perfected to 20/20.

Your baby will have gained weight steadily during these final weeks, with fat being laid down under the skin. If born now, he would have a plump, rounded appearance.

… Doctor
Q: I don’t often swear but is it true that I’m likely to subject my partner to verbal abuse during labor?
A: Possibly, but no one will blame you if you do! Giving birth can be incredibly painful, and you may feel emotional, irritable, shaky, and even nauseous. Don’t worry too much about what you say and do: try to stay focused on the birth and ask for pain relief if you need it. Most birth partners will be forgiving and are unlikely to take the abuse personally. They will realize that you might not quite be yourself during childbirth—and if they’ve been by your side throughout labor will be fully understanding of what you’re going through. You may also be irritable with your caregivers, but they will be used to this!

95 percent of babies don’t arrive on their due date—of these 25 percent come early and 70 percent late.

There’s a four-week window between 38 and 42 weeks of pregnancy that’s regarded as normal and safe in medical circles.

A month is a long time to wait, so put a message on your voicemail along the lines of “We’ll be in touch as soon as the baby’s arrived.” Keep yourself busy: have your hair done (much easier without a newborn in tow), catch up with friends, and, most importantly, get some sleep!

You are 38 Weeks and 3 Days 11 days to go…

If you’re having a home birth, you can make the midwife’s task as easy as possible by being well organized.

Your baby today

This image demonstrates how your baby has laid down fat reserves, nicely rounding out the cheeks. The exact weight of your baby will depend now on which day you deliver since your baby will continue to grow in the uterus, although at a slower rate than previously.

If you’re having your baby at home, spend this week ensuring that everything is in order and that the room in which you plan to give birth is clean, comfortable, and adequately heated.

Your midwife may bring around a pack about now, which contains all the items she will need. To make her task easier, make sure the bed on which you’re going to deliver (if you plan to use a bed) is easily accessible from all sides. You might also want to ensure you have plenty of extra pillows on hand as well as several changes of bed sheets.

Even if you plan to labor in dim lighting, there needs to be a good source of light for the midwife, especially after the birth when you may need stitches.

On pushing

Is pushing the baby out natural and instinctive? All women will feel an urge to push during labor, but because it’s painful they might resist doing so. Medications, such as an epidural , will interfere with the sensation of needing to push. Your midwife will help you throughout and guide you as to when it’s safe and most effective to push.

… Doctor
Q: I’m so tired already. How will I ever get through labor?
A: First of all, take every opportunity you can to rest—even if this means napping several times during the day. Every bit of sleep you get will make a difference to your energy levels, especially if you’re having broken sleep at night.

When you are feeling active, try to do some gentle exercise since this can encourage healthy, restful sleep. Swimming can be a great way to expend energy, and take your mind off things and it puts little or no pressure on your belly or your aching muscles and joints.

Try eating food containing tryptophan  before you go to bed, which can encourage sleep, and make sure that you get plenty of high-energy carbohydrates  during the day, to keep your blood-sugar levels stable and prevent energy slumps.

Learn to catnap for 10–20 minutes. This will help you rest and revive you, and it’s a good technique to use once the baby is born.

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