The major development in the baby is complete by this week now. The baby continues to grow in size and around 28 grams of fat is laid down every day. After the baby’s birth in the first few months the cells in his brain will continue to multiply. The baby’s head descends in the pelvis. The movements are not very vigorous after the baby descends in the pelvis. By pregnancy week 37 the weight of the baby is six to seven pounds and is about 21 inches long. The baby is now in the final stages of growth and the mother also enters the final stage of her pregnancy. Now is the time when the baby is ready to deliver. The baby continues to gain weight during pregnancy week 37. The baby’s skin becomes pink day by day and less wrinkles. The baby also practices the breathing patterns this time and his grasp becomes firm too. The baby’s reflexes are completely functional. The baby also produces a hormone called cortisone. This hormone helps the lungs to mature so that the baby handles breathing on its own. Babies born after pregnancy week 37 are full term babies.
Most mothers have gained about 35 pounds by pregnancy week 37. Women should continue eating healthy and nutritious diet and drink plenty of fluids. Mothers can start talking about their plan of action for delivery with their doctors. At about this week now a mucus plug which is yellowish, thick and may be tinged with blood that seals off the uterus from infection and bacteria will start to discharge form the body. The doctor should be consulted immediately if any kind of discharge is seen. The breasts also increase in size and become full. Some women also begin to leak colostrum which is the first milk that is produced by the breasts for the baby during pregnancy week 37.
If it is the first baby some symptoms before labor are: increase in vaginal discharge, jelly like plug of mucus that seals the cervix appears, feeling emotional, a mild dose of diarrhea, Braxton Hicks contractions that are like pains in periods, don’t want to be far from once home. When women get into labor they feel pain n lower back, regular contractions which are similar to period pain and the gushing of water which is amniotic fluid.
Regular prenatal check ups are important at this time of pregnancy. If the labor does not start at pregnancy week 37 then very few pregnant women deliver on the due date. Mothers should keep a track of the fetal movements.
Sometimes in few cases induced labor might also be decided by the doctor. A pitocin drip is used in this case which stimulates the contractions and makes them steady. Pitocin drips might lead to stronger contractions than normal and more vaginal discharge.
Women who expect to give birth outside home should pack necessary things which should include: clothing required for the mother and the baby, medications prescribed by the doctor, snacks, toiletries, massage oil and camera.