Get prepared to be surprised; this is pregnancy week 37, which is considered to be the starting point of a full term pregnancy. By the time you've reached this monumental occasion, your baby should be fully developed and ready to enter our world at any time. Your body is more than ready to deliver at this point. However, Mother Nature will determine the right moment for your baby to arrive.
It's very typical for many women to begin to feel an urge to 'get this baby out of me' when it comes to pregnancy week 37. You and your body have gone through an unbelievable metamorphosis over the past 37 weeks and your baby has grown from a microscopic combination of cells to a beautiful and fully developed baby capable of sustaining life outside the womb. It's quite possible that your baby weighs around at least 6.5 pounds (usually more) and measures more than 19 inches long at this point. They have strong bones in all the right places and a soft skull which will help them (and you) during delivery.
As week 37 comes to pass, your baby could literally be born anytime now. However, it's typical that most mothers deliver their babies between weeks 37 and 41 – so don't feel stressed or nervous if your water hasn't broken yet. During the upcoming weeks, your baby will be polishing their appearance to look as pretty as possible for when they meet you for the first time. They will add a good half-pound per week and their lungs will continue the practice of breathing – which is a very good thing for their future lung development.
Once your baby is born, their head will be the same size as their abdomen, hips and shoulders but will change its shape shortly after they are born. This is known by many people as having a 'cone head'. Don't worry mom – this is completely normal. The baby's immune system is also continuing to develop – and with the assistance of your milk; will continue to improve shortly after they are born.
It is very common for many women to become uneasy as week 37 approaches. They've most likely been told by their doctors that this is the magic week where their baby can be born with very limited complications. The reality as discussed above is that most deliveries will occur in the next four weeks. However, if you go past 41 weeks, your doctor will typically talk to you about inducing delivery.
It's very common for mothers in the 37th week to be very tired – and it's no wonder since you're carrying a tiny person inside you. It's also possible for you to start seeing early signs of labor. This includes water breaking, having real contractions (different and definitely NOT those Braxton Hicks type), or if you notice the appearance of a mucus-or-bloody plug that covers your cervix suddenly appears. If any of these occur; contact the doctor immediately.
Since you've now reached full term in pregnancy week 37, it is very possible that you will be welcoming your new baby into the world in the upcoming few weeks. Once you and baby have been given the clear to head home – another common problem will occur; the onslaught of well-wishers can be overwhelming. As much as you might want to share your baby with friends, family and others; a reality exists that for the first few weeks, the fewer interactions outside of direct family is best. You and baby need to rest and your body needs time to recuperate. As difficult as it might be; try to set some guidelines for baby visits.