Your Pregnancy: Week 37
Your baby is officially baked this week! That means you could literally give birth at any given moment. A terrifying, exciting and overwhelming concept, all rolled into one. Your partner is undoubtedly having the same emotional roller-coaster ride, so be sure to share your feelings and enjoy these last weeks (days?! hours?!) together.
Wondering what's up with your body, your baby and your life this week? Read on ...
What You're Thinking:
"I can't eat, I can't sleep, but I can do a great imitation of a beached whale. Seriously, are we almost done with this?"
You made it! Your baby is considered full term at the end of this week. So kick your swollen feet up and swig back a glass of lemonade. All that hard work has finally paid off!
At your checkup this week, your doctor or midwife may do an internal exam to see how things are progressing. We're not gonna lie to you, an "internal" can hurt like hooey. But hey, it ain't labor! While she's in there, your practitioner will check three things: dilation (how open your cervix is), ripeness (how soft your cervix is) and effacement (how thin your cervix is). For baby to come on out, the cervix must be open to 10 centimeters, as soft as the skin on the inside of your mouth and 100 percent effaced.
It's normal to have some brownish spotting after an internal exam or a little wham-bam, but if you notice any bright red discharge or consistent spotting, call your doc or midwife immediately. Also, as your mucus plug preps to dislodge itself, you may also find an increase in gooey discharge "down there" these last few weeks. Just what you wanted to hear, right?
Huge news this week: You're carrying a full-term baby! If you were to go into labor today, all systems would be a go. Woohoo! Even though you can't wait for the little bambino to quite literally rear his head, keep in mind that your bun benefits from every day in the oven. Other ticker-tape-worthy developments:
Baby's growth slows down dramatically this week, which is great news for your birth canal. His bones are still soft and pliable and will solidify after he's born. More great news for your birth canal.
So if he's all cooked and ready to go, what the heck is he still doing in there?! He's busy practicing for "life on the outside," working on his breathing, sucking, sleeping, gazing and peeing abilities. The only thing he can't practice yet is his ability to scream at the top of his lungs when he's hungry—but he'll do plenty of that in a few weeks.
At this point babies vary in size, but the average length is between 19 and 20 inches and most babies weigh approximately 6 pounds. About the size of an average largemouth bass caught in Minnesota by your cousin Earl.
If you can't stop Windexing everything in sight or you have a sudden desire to rearrange your linen closet again,
then you're officially nesting. Nesting is the phenomena where exhausted and very pregnant women suddenly find the energy and the drive to clean like their life depends on it.
Though many women think "nesting" is a wives' tale, it's actually not
the stuff of urban legend, and many women get the powerful urge to ready their home for the impending arrival in the final weeks of pregnancy. (Kind of makes you wish nature had the forethought to send that urge to your partner every now and then, doesn't it?)
Now's a good time to make sure your nursery is clean and ready for baby to spit and poop all over it. Spend some of that extra nesting energy stocking up on baby needs like diapers and wipes. You really don't need to be polishing the silver right now.
Even if you're feeling super-energetic, make sure to get enough rest. You'll need your strength for labor and beyond.
10 hilarious new-mom tips you won't learn in parenting class.
"I had a HORRIBLE pregnancy, labor and delivery."
What you need to know about pushing.