After the pains of Week 39, you must be more than ready to see your baby! This is the official end of your pregnancy.
What’s happening to your body right now:
Your due date is marked on your calendar but the little one seems to have missed the memo. This is common, as about half of pregnancies last longer than 40 weeks.
Weight gain also slows in this last month, and you may have even lost 0.9 kg to 1.4 kg.
If you’re worried about when (and if) your water will break, remember that only 15% of women experience a rupture of the membranes before labour begins. Even if it does break, it is less like a tsunami and more like a slow leak, trickle, or a small gush. If your water breaks before your contractions have started, labour will likely begin within 24 hours.
How your foetus is developing during pregnancy week by week:
At full term, most babies weigh anywhere from 2.7 kg to 4 kg and measure between 48 and 56 inches. Of course, perfectly healthy babies can also fall outside of those ranges.
The antibodies that your baby gets from the placenta will help to prevent infections for the first 6 months of his life. Breastfeeding, especially with colostrum, will give your baby even more antibodies to boost his immune system. This precursor to breast milk is super-rich in antibodies and will feed your baby for the first few days postpartum.
What you can do right now:
Try not to lose sleep over when and where your water will break. Sleep is rare enough as it is. Investing in a pregnancy body pillow can really make a difference in the quality of your sleep.
Learn to recognise when your amniotic sac has ruptured. Amniotic fluid is usually colourless and odourless. If you notice fluid that looks yellowish and smells of ammonia, you are probably leaking urine.
Another way to test this is to try and stem the flow of the fluid by squeezing your pelvic muscles (Kegel exercises). If the flow stops, it’s urine. If it doesn’t, it’s amniotic fluid. If your water breaks and the fluid is green or brown, call your doctor right away. It could mean that your baby has had a bowel movement (meconium) in utero.
Talk to your physician about when, why, and how she might induce labour. Unless your baby is at risk, induced labour is not typically considered until two weeks past due.
Walking, sex, acupuncture, and acupressure may also induce labour naturally. Do speak to your physician first!
When baby comes:
Be sure to say hello to your little one. Even though you might look blurry to them (at birth, babies can only focus about an inch away), your baby will surely recognise the sound of your voice and your partner’s.
Swaddle your bundle of joy. After 9 months of cramped quarters, it takes a while for your baby to realise that he or she has room to spread out. Foetal position is all your baby has known and is a comforting position to be in, so being swaddled will remind them of your uterus.
If baby hasn’t arrived yet, learn about what signs to watch for in Week 41.
Otherwise, kudos for making it all the way through your third trimester!