A thin layer of fat continues to develop under your baby’s skin – it’s what will help control your baby’s body temp after being all warm and cozy inside your womb for so long. Now that your baby’s nearing birth weight, there’s also very little room left to move about. Everything is pretty much in perfect working order by this time. Even if your little one suddenly decided to be born now, your bundle of joy would come out intact and just fine.
If you’re a first-time mother, you’re probably worrying about whether you’ll be able to recognize labor once it starts. We’re here to tell you that you will definitely know! And
And very few babies are born so quickly that their mothers can’t get to the hospital in time. The opposite is actually much more common – many parents-to-be arrive at the hospital much too early and are sent back home by their doctors just to wait a little more.
So what are the signs to watch out for? Just before the birth, you might feel a bit nauseous, have a headache, or feel a heavy tiredness. Some blood or mucus often appears, which signals that your cervix – i.e. the lower end of your uterus – has opened and is ready for your baby to go through it. If the contractions have started, then your labor has officially begun!
How do you know that the contractions are real and aren’t just Braxton-Hicks (i.e. practice) contractions? Braxton-Hicks are irregular and feel like your belly tightening for a short bit, and then relaxing. They’ll stop if you lie down or take a hot bath. “Genuine” contractions, on the other hand, only get stronger if you bathe or rest. They come at regular intervals that get shorter and shorter. If they are less than ten minutes apart, then it’s time to head for the hospital!
You may have heard that eating spicy food can induce labor, but there’s no scientific evidence to back this theory up. In fact, spicy food can instead trigger heartburn, which many moms-to-be report to feeling at around this time. To help manage this, it’s best to avoid fatty or spicy food. Also try to eat more slowly and drink less water during meals - you can drink before and after eating instead. It’s also a good time to prep some nutrition for after you give birth. You’re going to be extremely busy once you bring your baby home, so cook and freeze meals ahead of time and stock your kitchen cabinets with quick and healthy snacks.
Wondering what the normal weight for healthy newborn is? There’s really no one number that fits all. It varies widely from one baby to the next, but the average weight falls somewhere between 2.5 to 4.5 kg, while the average length or height is at 48 to 51 cm. If you’re having a particularly large or tall baby, your doctor would have seen that in your last ultrasound and let you know. Boys are often heavier than girls. And if this is your first child, chances are that he or she will be born smaller than the rest of your future children.
Just one more exciting week left! Read all about Week 40 right here.