CHANGES TO MUM
At week 37 of pregnancy you are now considered full term and if you haven’t already, now is time to discuss your birthing plan with your support person.
Knowing how you want to approach labour is very important and by talking it through with your support person they will be about to encourage you and help you stick to your plan!
When you are having contractions and are having pain from labour, you may not be thinking clearly, therefore it is very easy for you to sway from what you really want. Your support person should encourage you and be there for you to help you achieve the birth that you want.
Do remember though, there is no reason that your birthing plan can not change and adapt to the circumstances. Anything can happen in labour, it is all unknown and your plan should just be a guide.
Inform yourself about emergency interventions that may have to occur so you are not taken by surprise if you obstetrician suggests they are necessary to have a safe delivery of your baby.
Listen to the advice of your obstetrician as they are the best person to guide you through what needs to happen. Their priority is you and your baby and will do whatever is best for the two of you.
From 37 weeks onwards you may notice that any vaginal discharge will have more cervial mucus as your body begins to prepare for labour.
Also if you haven’t experienced the “bloody show” (as discussed in week 35 of pregnancy in this guide) this small, blood-tinged mucus plug could pass when you go to the bathroom. It can be an indication that labour is in the not too distant future.
At this stage of pregnancy your obstetrician or midwife may have you take a Group B strep test. A form of bacteria, Group B lives inside the vagina or surrounding area and typically causes no health risks unless you are pregnant.
About 35% of women can have Group B in their vagina at one stage, however during pregnancy there is a chance that the bacteria can infect your baby during labour.
Infections can be quite serious to newborn babies therefore having this test performed will help to determine if you need antibiotics to minimise the risk of it spreading to your baby during labour.
Babies affected by Group B will show symptoms in the first few days or weeks following delivery.
In newborns it can result in sepsis which is an infection of the bloodstream or sometimes meningitis.
Hopefully in the future there will be a vaccine for this bacteria to prevent the spread from mother to baby, until then testing is the best form of prevention.
CHANGES TO BUB
At week 37 of pregnancy your full term baby will now have the best chance of arriving perfectly healthy and will most likely not require any medical assistance that a premature baby would. This is certainly something to celebrate and a wonderful milestone to reach!
Your baby will of course continue to grow and at 37 weeks most babies are 2.8kgs or 6 1/2 pounds in the old measurements, but some can be smaller or larger.
Generally boys will weigh more than girls at birth, although again this is not always the case. There have been plenty of very large girls born and small boys.
How your baby is developing is 100% unique and every baby is different. At 37 weeks of pregnancy your baby may be approximately 50cms from head to toe, growing larger everyday.
Your baby behaves more and more like a newborn as they react and turn toward light and sound. They even look like newborn babies with most having a full head of hair!
Don’t be shocked when they are born if your baby has a completely different hair colour to you and the father.
It is not uncommon for your baby to be very unique in appearance, but remember your baby might not have hair at all!
Still discussing hair, now to a different form: that which was once covering their skin (the lanugo) is now gone. Your baby will actually swallow this lanugo along with other secretions, storing them in the bowels until they are born.
This waste called meconium is a blackish colour and will actually be your newborns first bowel movement!