Don't be surprised if a sudden need to organise takes hold of you and you find yourself sorting and decluttering. The nesting impulse takes over around now and can lead to a bit of a cleaning frenzy. Make the most of it and tick off those last jobs on your to-do list, like finishing off the nursery, to help you feel prepared for your new arrival.
Baby is at full-term at 40 weeks, but from 37 weeks has reached a point where they could make a safe arrival, and often babies can make an appearance earlier than this. It's good to have a plan should you go into labour, with a note of the numbers for the hospital handy, bags packed, the car seat locked and loaded, and your route to the hospital all worked out. You'll also want to make sure you have a childcare plan in place if this isn't your first, or have any pet-sitting requirements worked out. That way, you can cut down on unnecessary stress ahead of meeting your new little bundle.
Around this time, if you are employed you'll probably be finishing up at work, When to finish work is an individual decision, and depends on the advice of your doctor, but if you can, give yourself some time to unwind and prepare. You'll also have weekly appointments with your doctor to check how things are progressing from now on.
During the last few weeks of pregnancy, it's a good idea to take as much time for yourself as you can, doing the things that relax you. If the weather suits, head to the pool or out for some walks. A little cooking is also a great way to prepare, and lets you stock the freezer with healthy meals, which will definitely come in handy once you're busy with your new baby.
It's also really important to pay attention to your baby; start counting kicks and taking a note of the times they are most active and any patterns. That way, if things start to change and you notice a decrease in activity, you can pop along to the doctor to make sure everything is okay.
Your due date is here and by now you're probably feeling pretty uncomfortable, so make sure you get plenty of rest. One decision to be aware of is whether an induction is necessary should you go past your due date.
Dr Aisha advises: "Recent medical evidence suggests that induction of labour after 39 weeks gestation does not increase the caesarean delivery rates.
"Induction may be recommended at an earlier gestation for many reasons. This may be because your doctor is concerned about the baby's movements, growth or amniotic fluid."
Different doctors have different policies regarding inductions, but some may let you go up to 42 weeks if all is well and you want to go into labour naturally.
One of the biggest concerns around this time is how you'll know you are in labour, so familiarising yourself with the classic signs can help
Dr Arva says: "You may feel contractions or tightening; this is your bump getting hard and then soft again and is associated with discomfort. You might pass a mucus discharge mixed with blood, known as a 'show'. You may also experience backache, or your waters may break.
"Go to the hospital to confirm whether you are in labour or not. The doctor will often do an internal examination to check if your cervix is dilated or not. They will also monitor or listen to baby's heartbeat.
"If you are in labour you will be admitted to the labour ward. If you're in early labour you may be asked to go home and return when the contractions are more frequent. You can take paracetamol or soak in the bath to help you with the pain.
"When in labour it is important to stay hydrated. The doctor/ midwife will assess your progress by examining your cervix to see how dilated it is. Once you are fully dilated you will be asked to push to help deliver your baby."
Once baby arrives, skin-to-skin contact is really important, and is a great way to stimulate breastfeeding if this is what you plan to do. Once mum and baby have been checked and given the all-clear, within 1-2 days, you could all be heading home - and then the fun really begins!
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