You are now 37 weeks pregnant (or in your 38th week if that’s how you prefer to count it).
How your baby’s growing
This week, most of the downy coating of lanugo is shed and the vernix caseosa — the cheese-like coating that covers your baby in the womb and protects her developing skin — starts to disappear, though some may remain at birth. The baby swallows both, along with other secretions, and all will stay in her bowels until birth. This blackish mixture, called meconium, will become her first bowel movement. Read more information on your baby’s development this week.
How your life’s changing
The next couple of weeks are a waiting game. Try to enjoy this time before the baby arrives — eat well and get plenty of rest. If you need help to conquer the late pregnancy blues, you can always look ahead and find out what your newborn will be like.
If you’re having your baby at home, your midwife will give you a home birth pack about now. Are you sure you’ve packed everything you need if you’re having a hospital birth? Take a look at the hospital packing checklist. It’s a good idea to sort out the clothes you want your baby to wear after birth and for the ride home. Don’t forget your own ‘going home clothes’ — you’ll need something loose fitting such as drawstring pants or a stretchy skirt as you’ll still have a tummy after the birth.
This is also your labour partner’s last chance to brush up on how to help you. There’s plenty of advice in our top tips for labour coaches and a Dad’s birth story to read. While you still have time, why not buy a few books for your baby’s first year or some toys specially designed for newborns? Finally, make sure your baby’s car seat is fitted and ready.
Pregnancy Tip: Helping in labour
“My husband rubbed my lower back and held me for hours while I was in labour. What really helped was when he rocked my hips. He was fantastic — he must have worked as hard as I did.” — Paige M