This amazing journey called pregnancy is coming to an end and if you do consider yourself to have a ‘bun in the oven’ then the timer is about to go off as you near the due date.
Although we think about it being 9 months it is actually measured in weeks, 40 weeks to be exact or 266 days from conception, which is why we often refer to your 9(10) month pregnancy!
Each month you and your little one have grown together and through all the pain and excitement, tears and laughter you have both come this far for that one magical moment when it all makes sense.
You and your midwife will probably be seeing each other every week now until the birth and as well as monitoring the baby’s heartbeat and position she will be checking for other signs such as whether you have dilated.
As the month progresses it becomes a real waiting game and expectant parents should keep an eye out for impending labour signs such as the waters breaking. Although many women will tell you that when the waters go it is like a flash flood, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes they break gradually and you may only feel a light trickle so if you are in any doubt ring the pregnancy guru straight away.
As the due date approaches don’t expect little one to show up on that day, a vast majority end up arriving before or clinging on well after this estimate so don’t worry if that ends up being the case – your due date is merely a close estimate.
When you do go into labour make your way to the hospital, though a lot of mums arrive at hospital only to get sent home again. Some wards will ask that you call ahead as soon as you know you are in labour. My colleague stayed at home in labour for 12 hours before going in, she was lucky – because she had called that morning, there was a room waiting in an otherwise very busy maternity ward. Her other option would have been to be turned away, to drive to a completely different hospital and believe me, driving any further than you have to is not nice when you’re in labour.
Sleeping at this time is very hard due to the discomfort in your pelvic and back area but it will be so worth it soon. Braxton Hicks contractions should be quite regular now and although they are a lot milder than the real thing it gives you a good opportunity to practice your breathing techniques from your antenatal or yoga class.
With the baby lower now breathing may be easier but you will need to use the ladies more often as Junior’s head presses into your bladder. Keep checking your hospital bag as you will be surprised how many other items may need to be added over time. A well stocked example may include clothes for you, baby clothes and blankets, breast and maternity pads, nappies and wipes, nursing bras, snacks whilst you are in labour ( isotonic sports drinks are very good) and Arnica tablets as they help with bruising after the birth.
Your not so little bundle of joy now weighs approximately 7.5 pounds and has a head diameter of about 4 inches. It has now settled into the classic fetal position with legs tucked against its body and its knees against its nose. The bone plates of the baby’s head are soft and flexible to enable smooth movement through the pelvis and blood flows rapidly through the umbilical cord to prevent it from getting tangled.
At the time of birth the placenta weighs about 1 ½ pounds and will detach itself from the side of the uterus and the umbilical cord, all two feet of it, will cease activity as the child takes its first breaths of fresh air.
Blood will be forced by the heart to travel to the lungs as the baby starts breathing. You and Junior are now poised and ready to meet each other. You both made it and you should be very proud of yourselves. Don’t let a second go without savoring this time together, and enjoy the moment you finally become a mum.