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WOO HOO! Your baby has officially reached full term. At each of your now weekly visits, your doctor will be doing an abdominal exam to check your baby’s position and growth. They might also check to see the status of your cervix – they want to determine whether your cervix has started ripening. They’ll also test this to see if it’s softening, thinning out and dilating. But the actual due date is still anyone’s guess, as there is no way of telling exactly when your little one will decide to make a grand entrance. It could be any day now.
Your little watermelon has not gotten much taller, measuring 50cm and is weighing a healthy 3.2kg. Their head is now also the same circumference as their abdomen. The fine hair called lanugo and the waxy vernix covering their skin should almost be completely gone by now and they’ll be as beautiful as ever.
Your breasts have finally reached their full size and are ready for their new role in life. The big day can happen at any moment so how do you know if it’s the real deal and not just Braxton Hicks? You’re probably more in tune with your body than ever before, and should spot labour signs as they progress. But here are some telltale signs to look out for: the first is that you may be feeling a regular tightening of the uterus that’s gradually progressing. Secondly if you’re up and mobile, then you should feel the contractions increase. And lastly, if you move around, and the contractions don’t stop and become more frequent throughout the day – then that’s another giveaway. Other signs of labour may also include increased back pain that moves to your lower abdomen. And the most obvious sign that most women look out for: your waters breaking. Contrary to popular belief (thanks to Hollywood), this is one of the final stages of labour so it’s unlikely you will be having a romantic dinner somewhere when your waters suddenly gush all over the restaurant floor – you’ll probably know labour is starting way before your waters break.
- Dad … don’t panic! The early stages of labour could still take some time to progress. So now would be a good time to start practicing everything you learnt at antenatal classes … starting with those firm back rubs.
- Start monitoring the contractions by using the app you downloaded a few weeks ago so that you can assess when would be a good time to go to the hospital.
- Pack the bags in the car, and don’t forget to grab your camera, cell phone and charger, and a few tissues … it’s an incredibly emotional experience.