Congratulations! You are now officially the carrier of a ‘full-term baby’, even though your due date is still three weeks away. If I arrive a little early, typically speaking my lungs will be functioning well enough by this point. I’m about the size of a bundle of Swiss chard, and I’m still gaining about half a pound a week. While that means I’ve nearly run out of room in your very expanded belly, it doesn’t mean I’m not going to be wiggling around a little bit. Also, my hair should be fully sprouted at this point, although not always; some babies are born with just a downy bit of peach fuzz, others come out with a full head of locks.
I have some good news for you this week (sort of). Over the course of your pregnancy, you’ve probably gained between 25 and 35 pounds. With the finish line in sight, you shouldn’t be packing on extra baby cushioning during these final weeks. While your weight should level off, other parts of your body are probably gearing up for labor: don’t be surprised if those ‘faux’ Braxton Hicks contractions appear a little more frequently, but do keep in mind the signs of a real contraction. You might see some spotting this week as well. It’s normal, but if there seems to be a fair bit of blood, visit your doctor or the hospital. Also, your doctor will keep tabs on whether I’ve dropped down toward your pelvis, and if your cervix has started to has started to thin (called ‘effacement’) and dilate – both signs you’re getting closer and closer to delivery.
Has that nesting instinct kicked in yet? Although you may be feeling sluggish and cumbersome (to put it lightly) in these final weeks, many moms report an extra urge to tidy, clean, and organize, all in anticipation of their new baby’s arrival. You might be putting the finishing touches on my nursery or reorganizing your cupboards – whatever the case, there’s nothing wrong with putting a little extra effort into your ‘nest’ before I’m born, as long as you take it easy. After all, once you have a little one to take care of, all those household chores might take a back burner to the day in and day out work of being a parent.
Finally, some encouraging words for you from your full-term baby. “You are pregnant and you are powerful. You are bold and you are beautiful. Go forward in your boldness, in your beauty and in your connectedness. Trust your body to birth and know that the collective power of women worldwide will be with you.” – Unknown