Baby officially becomes ready to rock and roll, even though they may still be weeks away and for you they probably can’t come soon enough.
Your Baby in Week 37 of Pregnancy
At 37 weeks, a baby is officially considered to be a full term baby, although ideally a few more weeks developing their lungs inside the womb is the ideal. However, if they were to decide to come tomorrow, they should be ready to make their big entrance without too many problems.
If they do decide to stick around a while longer they will put on a little more weight – about 0.2 kg – but they will do far less moving around, mainly because their living space really has become something of a tight squeeze at this point. They are also doing lots of breathing practice, inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid as well as ‘exercising’ their eyes, blinking, and and swiveling their eyeballs from side to side.
Your Body in Week 37 of Pregnancy
Obviously your own body is going into overdrive on the preparation front and from now on your OB GYN and medical team will be checking for those tell tale signs of labour.
Just when your labour might begin is a big mystery, whatever your official due date actually is. Really the forces in charge of that are Mother Nature and Baby themselves and they are not in a position to answer any questions. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that your OB GYN will not want to take a shot at predicting it.
Unless you specifically request otherwise, most OB GYNS will begin performing internal checks of your cervix to try to determine just how ready for the big day you really are.
In doing these checks they will be looking at several different things. First of all , they will be checking for dilation, or how far your cervix has opened. You will need it to open ten centimeters for Baby to safely pass through. They will also be accessing cervical ripeness which is the consistency of the cervix. The softer it is, the closer you are to being properly prepared.
Effacement, how thin your cervix is and Baby’s position will be checked too. However, just because you are dilated to 3cm or 50% effaced (obviously you need to reach 100%) does not mean Baby’s big debut is imminent, it could still be weeks before they decide that they are ready to leave their nice cosy home. And things can change very quickly as well, your cervix may well be high and closed during such an exam one morning, only to become open and ready for business — and labor — by noon.
Tips for the Thirty Seventh Week of Pregnancy – A New Kind of Massage
If you have been treating yourself to a regular massage while pregnant that is a great thing and you probably can quite safely continue to visit your masseuse if you like. There is another kind of massage that can be a help right now though that is a lot more personal and one that you should learn to perform yourself – perineal massage.
Although the idea of perineal massage (the perineum is the area of skin between your vagina and rectum) kind of grosses some women out a little, it really can help on labour day. Such a massage can very gently stretch your perineum a little, which will help minimize the nasty “stinging” that will occur when Baby’s head crowns during childbirth. It may also help you avoid tearing and the need for an episiotomy.
To do this, ensure that sure your hands are nice and clean and that your nails are trimmed neatly. Lubricate your thumbs, K-Y jelly can come in handy — and place them inside your vagina. Press down gently toward your rectum and slide your thumbs across the bottom and sides of your perineum, pulling very gently outward and forwards on the lower part of the vagina with your thumbs still hooked inside. This will help stretch the skin in just the same way as Baby’s head will do.
Monitoring Baby’s Movements
Baby will not be moving very much right now, so the movement every hour guideline has changed. As they are now a ‘regular’ baby they are sleeping like one too, so may not make a move at all for several hours. You should still be feeling a movement at least once or twice a day though, although it is more likely to be wriggling and squirming rather than kicking, as there really is no room for that anymore. If this does not happen, call your OB GYN so that you can go and see them to make sure that everything is OK and that Baby is just having a lazy day, which is usually the case.
For Dad – Stay in Touch
Right now, Dads to be need to be easy to find. That means keeping the cellphone on as much as possible but it also means, if at all possible, not straying too far away from home. Of course you still have to go to work and there is no need for you – or your partner – to become prisoners in your home, which may drive you nuts anyway, but it really is not the right time for a road trip.