The 37th-38th week of pregnancy is considered early term. Pregnant women who make it to the 37th week no longer have to worry about having the baby early. The fetus weighs around 6½ pounds and practices breathing during every waking moment. An ultrasound will actually show fetal breathing movements which often confuses parents. The baby is not really breathing, as there is no air in the uterus.
Vaginal discharge is thicker and more abundant now. This discharge helps to lubricate the birthing canal for when the time comes. During the last weeks before labor, the body may start to get ready for birth by cleansing the intestinal system. Pushing out a baby is quite similar to pushing out a bowel movement. It seems the body understands how embarrassing the birthing process can be so a bout of diarrhea is its way of helping out.
At the prenatal visit
Fetal positioning will be checked at the next office visit. Typically, the position baby is in during the 37-week check-up is the same position s/he will be in during active labor. If the fetus is not in a head-down position, the doctor may choose to turn the baby as needed. External repositioning is only effective in 60-70% of the cases.
Dad has been waiting for weeks to play an active part in the pregnancy and now that wait has come to an end. During these last few weeks, Dad can help with hospital registration, planning the best possible route to the hospital, and setting up an alternate means of transportation if labor starts and Dad is unable to make it home immediately. Keep the hospital bag in a visible place.
Tips for this week
Breastfeeding is a healthy choice for babies, but many moms feel they need to bottle feed if they are going to return to work. Looking into alternative options before the baby is born may change your mind. Pumping breast milk provides many health benefits to the baby. Breast milk should be pumped and marked with the time and date. Baby should be fed breast milk with milk pumped at the same time of day. For instance, breast milk pumped in the morning should be bottle-fed to the baby in the morning. The female body produces different breast milk at given times of the day.